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Curzi seeks to crack down on English in Montreal
QUEBEC CITY - Former Parti Quebecois MNA Pierre Curzi won't be running in the next election, but before leaving politics, he's taking a stand on one of the province's most politically sensitive issues: language.
Curzi, who now sits as an independent, said after years of constitutional challenges, Bill 101 is no longer strong enough.
He's now proposing Bill 593, a new Charter of the French Language.
"What we're trying to do here is to reestablish the equilibrium that existed for a couple of years after the adoption of Bill 101," he said in Quebec City Tuesday.
"We want all the people to have a common language, which is French, because it is a very important condition of the cohesion of a society."
With a few exceptions, Francophones and Allophones would be forced to attend school in French from daycare to CEGEP – private schools included.
Curzi, who insisted the bill would respect the rights of the English minority, said English is becoming too commonplace in Montreal.
"If we don't do anything, then we will be in a bilingual Montreal and I don't think that's a good thing for anybody in Quebec," he said.
Under the proposed bill, employers would be forced to provide an explanation for a job posting requiring knowledge of a language other than French.
As for commercial storefronts, a trade name in English would be tolerated, but a generic French term would be required to be added, for example Canadian Tire would become Les magazines generaux Canadian Tire.
Stopping short of supporting Curzi's proposal for a new Bill 101, Coalition Avenir Quebec leader Francois Legault agreed the level of English in Montreal is worrisome.
Legault said, however, that the Office québécois de la langue française, the province's language watchdog, has enough power to protect French.
"I think that the office should be more efficient and make sure that the current Bill 101 is correctly applied before adding to this law," said Legault.
Meanwhile, Premier Jean Charest insists the office is already doing its job.
"We are going to continue to be very vigilant on the issue of the implementation of the law and on the protection and promotion of our French language and culture," he said.