CAQ language commissioner could strengthen Bill 101
Published Tuesday, August 13, 2019 5:46PM EDT Last Updated Wednesday, August 14, 2019 6:33AM EDT
The Quebec government is considering revisiting Bill 101 and creating a French language commissioner responsible for taking complaints from the public, and it's causing alarm for some.
Francois Legault's CAQ government campaigned on the issue, and the party voted unanimously to create the position in April.
Anglophone rights group, the Quebec Community Groups Network, feels the issue is worrisome and sends the wrong message.
"This is a gesture or a reaction or a move that tries to solve a problem that doesn't exist," said network president Geoffrey Chambers.
Chambers said there are many ways the government could promote French without creating a heavy-handed position to enforce laws for small businesses and cultural institutions.
The Parti Quebecois and Quebec Solidaire support the project and are calling on the Legault government to give more teeth to Bill 101.
Tuesday, PQ MNA Joel Arseneau put pressure on the government to present a real action plan to protect and promote French including more legislative action.
The PQ reaffirmed its position to extend the mandatory francization programs to businesses with 25 to 49 employees and restarting the debate on mandatory attendance at CEGEPs in French.
Arseneau added that a French commissioner is not enough as bilingualism is rampant and French is fading.
"There are other measures we will propose," he added.
Chambers is worried the CAQ government will follow through with its plan and open divisive unhealthy national debates.
"They have shown that when they start talking about something, they might carry it through, and this would be terrible for the national dialogue," said Chambers. "Jason Kenny out in Alberta is already looking to pick a fight with the federal government about transfer payments. We just do not need to go back to the late '70s early '80s and have language a big fight in Canada."