Meet the West Island mom leading the fight against Bill 14
Published Friday, March 1, 2013 8:59PM EST
Last Updated Monday, March 4, 2013 8:04AM EST
MONTREAL—At a rate of almost 1,000 new signatures daily, an anti-Bill 14 petition on the Quebec National Assembly's website has quickly become the legislature’s most signed missive at the moment.
Started by a group of parents from the West Island, the backlash against the proposed language law is building. At a cupcake shop in the heart of the Pointe-Claire village, Bill 14 and Quebec's language laws have been the topic of conversation for weeks.
“It’s scary to know they can have such strong control over the way we run our businesses, that scares me quite a bit,” said Tanya Bouzaglo of Crazy About Cupcakes.
Laura Derry is a West Island mom, she's the head of the parents committee at the Lester B. Pearson School Board that just launched an anti-Bill 14 petition.
“It's been a week and we're at 9,000 signatures. We have the top petition on the National Assembly website right now, with the most signatures,” said Derry.
The parents are worried that the government may crack down on students at English school boards. Bill 14 has a clause about the importance of mastering French.
“What do they mean by mastering French? Do they mean their percentage to pass is going to be higher? Does it mean their exams are going to be tougher? We don't know,” said a worried Derry.
Derry says their next step will be to lobby MNAs from the second opposition Coalition Avenir Quebec. With the Liberals pledging to vote down the update to Bill 101, the parliamentarians of the CAQ will decide whether the bill becomes law.
Lester B. Pearson School Board chair Susanne Stein Day has fought this fight before.
“We want to be part of the solution. We’re not out there trying to defend Anglophones, we're trying to defend Quebec, a future Quebec needs to work in an economic world globally so people need bilingual students who are graduating,” said Stein Day.
Both the parents committee and the school board have applied to make presentations in front of politicians at the National Assembly.
Public consultations begin the week of March 12. If the Pearson board is chosen to present their case, they say they're planning to bring along students to make their case to legislators in French.