Bill 14 will go down to defeat unless it is modified, said CAQ leader Francois Legault.

Legault confirmed on Friday what had already been leaked during the week: that the Coalition Avenir Quebec was opposed to new language restrictions on military families, bilingual towns, and small businesses.

"We will not endorse the bill if we don't get these changes," said Legault.

The CAQ leader said he preferred to see a soft, evenhanded approach to dealing with language issues and did not think the harsh measures in Bill 14 were necessary or even useful.

Au contraire, Legault said the government should spend more time promoting the French language and attracting people to Quebecois culture, instead of punishing violations of the letter of the law.

"We don't want to add to the bureaucracy of small enterprises. We want to make sure we have some flexibility.

"But I think it's for the benefit of everyone, including the English community, that we settle this point, that BIll 101 has to be reviewed," said Legault.

Bill 14 stirred controversy

Bill 14 called for many changes to Quebec's Charter of the French Language, commonly known as Bill 101.

Those changes included giving the Minister of Language the unilateral right to strip municipalities of their bilingual status if the percentage of mother tongue English speakers dipped below 50 percent.

The PQ was also proposing that francophones in the military, who are often subject to transfers across Canada, would no longer be allowed to send their children to English schools.

Bill 14 also called for all companies with 26 to 50 employees to obtain Certificates of Francization, indicating that all their internal communications and workplaces were predominantly French.

The Parti Quebecois had also said it wanted to introduce new restrictions for the language of education at the CEGEP and university level, but decided not to make that part of this legislation.

The Liberal party announced long ago that it would not support Bill 14, leaving the balance of power in the hands of the CAQ.

--with a report from Max Harrold