Mayor supports Pierrefonds-Roxboro's fight for bilingual status
Published Monday, February 25, 2013 8:37PM EST
The debate over Bill 14 has reached city hall.
Mayor Michael Applebaum announced Monday the city of Montreal will support the borough of Pierrefonds-Roxboro in its fight to keep bilingual status in the event the controversial bill should become law.
Applebaum said he was standing up for the status quo as opposed to being against Bill 14, the proposed law to tighten up Quebec’s French-language charter.
“They have bilingual status. I think that they should be able to keep their bilingual status,” he said.
The proposed law would make it harder for municipalities to keep their bilingual status if their English-as-a-mother-tongue population drops below 50 per cent.
Monique Worth. Pierrefonds-Roxboro’s borough mayor, was among the first to start fighting against the bill.
“That's very important to the people. We live together and we get along so I can't see why we have to start another war,” she said.
Pierrefonds-Roxboro is Montreal's only borough with bilingual status after passing a resolution stating they wanted to stay bilingual.
For weeks, the borough has been hoping Montreal would back them up. City councillor Marvin Rotrand said he can’t figure out why the city didn’t do it sooner.
“It's puzzling. This was what I would call an issue the city should have jumped on on Day 1. Why it took a month of hemming and hawing before the city did the right thing (I don’t know),” he said.
Now the city is clearly supporting not only Pierrefonds-Roxboro, but all of Quebec's 89 bilingual communities, saying any change should only come after local referendums.
Montreal isn't the first city to take a stand on the controversial Bill 14. Earlier this month, the city of Longueuil passed a similar resolution supporting its borough of Greenfield Park.
Quebec's union of municipalities also recently adopted the same position.
“These are resolutions that are voted by everybody, and supported by everybody, so it shows the government our strength and the coalition that we have on many different issues,” said Applebaun.
Public consultations on Bill 14 are expected to begin in March.