Bill 14 would strip Anglos of rights: Quebec Bar
MONTREAL—There was harsh condemnation of Bill 14 on Friday when the Quebec Bar argued that the Parti Quebecois’ new language legislation could strip away the rights of Anglophones.
The Bar told a National Assembly committee that changing the status of English-speaking Quebecers to members of a cultural community could entail a loss of fundamental rights.
Meantime, a Quebec City company testified that Bill 14 is just one more barrier in the global economy.
Workers at G.E. Leblanc don't speak much English, the company makes precision metal parts for the pork industry, and all but a handful of the 150 on staff are completely Francophone
But the software to manage the inventory is mainly in English—an industry standard—Quebec’s language office has already instructed the company to translate it
“We tried to be conform with the law but unfortunately they didn't understand what we are doing,” said Marie-Pier Cloutier, speaking for G.E. Leblanc.
The company's English software links it with global partners, colleagues around the world will be able to get real-time updates—in English only
“With the Chinese and the Danish and everybody working for the company, we will have to work with the same words,” explained Cloutier.
Whether they need a bolt for a belly opener or a shaft adapter, employees at the company ask for the parts by name in English because that's the way they were taught in school.
Knowing the English names of parts is where most employees' English ends. However they want to learn more and the company is providing English lessons at lunchtime.
“If we cannot find any people speaking in English, then we may as well shut down,” said company executive Marcel Couture.
He worries because Bill 14 goes even further in obliging companies to use French software. As hearings continued on the bill, the government bumped heads again with the business community.
On Friday, they also faced off with the Quebec Federation of Chambers of Commerce
“I must be frank with you that what you are proposing disappoints us greatly,” said Francois-William Simard, the director of strategy for the federation.
He added that it's not true that you can't get served in French in Montreal. However, the language minister has her own studies and stats that show the opposite.
“The data show quite clearly that; there is a problem and it is an urgent problem,” said language minister Diane de Courcy.