The CAQ government is accused of dividing the population with its 96th project, but some English-speaking leaders are doing an excellent job.
Posted yesterday at 6:00 am
In February, the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) accused François Legault of finding the “perfect formula” to “eliminate” the English-speaking community. Committee chair Marilyn Jennings linked the protection of the French to Russian aggression in Ukraine – finding it ironic that the prime minister criticized Vladimir Putin while promising to strengthen Law 101.
The new Parti canadien du Québec, founded by frustrated liberals, wants to undo Bill 101 by restoring freedom of choice in education. He wants to abolish the eligibility clause and make Quebec a bilingual province like New Brunswick.
Finally, Balarama Holness, an upstart and marginal politician with astonishing media coverage, promised in the last municipal elections to revoke Montreal’s French status. He is now establishing a regional party. In a promotional video, we see a banner from Saturday’s rally where the Bell 96 is described as “fascist.”
The escalation was fast…
About a year ago, the debate was different. The importance of protecting the French brought together unexpected allies.
In Ottawa, the Trudeau government introduced a bill that recognized the French as weak and require special protection.
In Quebec, the Liberals (PLQ) presented a plan of 27 measures that touched on justice, labour, higher education, the French of immigrants and the state’s duty to lead by example when communicating with citizens.
All of Quebec’s former neighborhood prime ministers have demanded that Bill 101 apply to businesses and foundations under federal jurisdiction.
When Minister Simon Jolin Barrett introduced his bill in May 2021, he seized on that momentum. This movement continued during the study. At the end of February, PLQ proposed to impose three mandatory French-language courses in English-speaking CEGEPs.
The indignation came late, but it was lively. In early spring, the Liberals requested that their own amendment be withdrawn. A compromise was found: English-speaking students would take three courses in “French as a Second Language”, while English- and Francophone-speaking students would take three courses in French – eg, Psychology in Verland.
This is one of the proposals that angered protesters on Saturday.
It is not without sarcasm.
In 2019, Liberal Greg Kelley introduced a special bill to offer free French lessons. The West Island deputy said he had to take French courses at the university. An admission that the English-speaking network was doing this job poorly.
Admittedly, the liberal CAQ procedure seems improvised. This would make five French lessons in four sessions. And CEGEP is not necessarily the best place to work. Perhaps it would be better to improve secondary education instead.
But is it so humiliating to offer a Cegep student to learn how to live in the official language of Quebec? By offering a Level 1 course for beginners if needed?
We don’t see many English-speaking parents fighting for their children to receive more French lessons. However, the opposite is happening: Francophones and Alophones insist on studying at CEGEP in English.
English is the language of commerce, technology and entertainment. Its attractive power is enormous.
Dawson is now the busiest and most well-known CEGEP. The majority of Francophones and Alophones are there and will then tend to attend university in English.
McGill and Concordia Benefits. Since 2018, these institutions have also been enriched with a new funding formula that allows them to maintain the income of their foreign students. Francophone universities suffer from this competition. For example, they do not have much money to attract star researchers.
English speakers thus have stronger institutions than justified by their demographic weight, and their language will never be threatened. There is an unknown Anglo franchise.
Caquistes did not restore parity between universities or extend Bill 101 to CEGEPs. They chose a compromise: capping the number of French-speaking and Clofone students. It annoys almost everyone at the same time.
It is difficult to assess the effect of this measure on the French. But at the level of principles, the debate is simpler. Quebec pays to teach part of the elite in English. It turns an individual preference for the English language into a collective commitment. Meanwhile, French-speaking CEGEPs are losing students and teachers are under-employed. This is not normal.
Having said that, the attackers deserve some of the protestors’ wrath.
No action taken in isolation from the French language will have much effect. Therefore, the reform of Law 101 is based on the addition of small signs. It throws a wide net. He wrote, ignoring the warnings of many experts.
The result: inhumanity and administrative selection. Asylum seekers are forced to learn French in just six months. We interfere in the administration of the courts. It threatens to create a cumbersome bureaucracy and red tape for small businesses. We do not understand the First Nations for whom French is a third language.
The Alliance Avenir Québec (CAQ) is happy to be criticized by both Partie Québec and the Liberal Party. She seems to have found her balance. But above all, this betrays his sometimes chaotic work.
Despite its flaws, the bill fulfills a need: to protect the French.
In the fall of 2020, the National Assembly unanimously adopted a motion recognizing that “the cohesion of the State of Quebec depends above all on the vitality of our common language.” She was even supported by Jean Charest and Philip Couillard.
The legitimacy of this historical issue is now in question. In the eyes of some English-speaking leaders, this would be a form of intolerance. Undemocratic “ethno-nationalism,” says QCGN’s Director of Public Affairs.
Note the double standards. If the allophone is combined in English, then this is a variant. Whereas if he has to do it in French, that’s fanaticism. And the radio silence about the fact that CAQ will pay newcomers better to encourage them to take courses in the field of franks.
Despite its criticism, Quebec Solidere plans to vote in favor of the law. Will he become ethnic too?
Yvonne Deschamps joked that Quebecers want “a strong Quebec in a united Canada”. A new trend is emerging now: those who say they want French Quebec, but in a bilingual province.
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