CAQ flatly refuses PQ motion to move $100 million in funding earmarked for Dawson College into French network
MONTREAL -- The PQ's attempt to block an expansion of Dawson College was halted Tuesday afternoon at the National Assembly.
The Quebec government refused to debate the Parti Quebecois motion asking that the $100 million earmarked for expanding the English-language Montreal CEGEP instead go to the French network.
The planned Dawson expansion is part of accelerated infrastructure projects tied to the province's COVID-19 economic stimulus plan.
CAQ House Leader Simon Jolin-Barrette flatly refused to debate the motion that said Quebec should direct money to the French network as enrolment at English institutions in Montreal will exceed those in French CEGEPs this year.
PQ leader Paul Saint Pierre Plamondon called the project "funding assimilation," and said Quebec should be balancing the number of places in CEGEPs to fall in line with Montreal's demographics.
“Who is under attack? Please, help me. Who is under attack in a debate where we're just saying: The funding, right now, is going towards more places in English in a situation where, on the island of Montreal, there is already more places in English than in French, which is absolutely not representative of the demographics?” he said.
Based on the latest census data, French is now the mother tongue of just under half of those living on the island.
Liberal Leader Dominique Anglade also weighed in, questioning the PQ's intentions with this motion.
“The PQ wants to, probably wants to, pick a fight with the English community. I don't think we need to do this. If the PQ wants to focus on French language and the fact that there is more work to be done, I completely understand that and we will work gladly on those issues, but this has nothing to do with the project that is at stake with Dawson,” said Anglade.
A statement from Dawson actually rejects calling the project an expansion, saying the $100-million project is to address what it calls a 'space deficit' and create a pavilion for its health-care programs.
The college, like other CEGEPs, is in discussions with the government to adjust how many students it can have and its overflow flexibility in anticipation of increased enrolment as the children of millennials -- Canada's most populous generation -- become college age.