MONTREAL -- The Quebec organization with a mission to promote and defend the French language is calling the Legault government's plan to cap English CEGEP spots a "false good idea."

The Mouvement Quebec francais opposes Francois Legault's plan to establish quotas at English CEGEPs to resolve the language problem at the college level.

"More broadly, the MQF has had enough of the endless wanderings and procrastination of the CAQists on the linguistic file and especially on the crying issue of the anglicization of higher education in Quebec," the MQF said in a news release.

The MQF added that French will likely be in the minority for college students in Montreal come fall, and that the idea of capping spots at English-speaking CEGEPs is "a thousand miles from being 'sturdy,'" and "turns out to be, on the contrary, dangerously puny, wobbly and ill-advised."

The MQF said the measure would cause more problems than it would solve.

Premier Francois Legault said in mid-February that his government is considering putting a quota on spaces at English CEGEPs, as his government works to modernize Bill 101.

Legault noted that French is "fragile" in the province, and that "there are many places for the anglophones in the anglophone CEGEPs."

The MQF calls this a false good idea.

“In principle, the vocation of English-language CEGEPs is essentially to serve English-speaking students from Anglophone secondary schools," said MQF president Maxime Laporte. "However, since the beginning of the 2000s, these institutions have mostly welcomed non-English speaking students."

The MQF adds that thousands of English CEGEP applications are rejected, and, thus, a "very significant form of a quota for access to the English-speaking public network" already exists.

The organization adds that to register for Dawson College's natural sciences program, a prospective student needs a GPA of more than 85 per cent.

"Obviously, there emerges an inordinate elitism, with all the symbolic violence and other socioeconomic inequities that this implies; totally at odds with the principles of universal accessibility which should nevertheless be at the heart of our Quebec public college system," said Laporte.

The MQF says the high standards means most spots will be filled by allophone and French-speaking private school students and privileged families wanting an English immersion experience in college, "which, they believe not without reason, will serve them as an access ramp to the privileges of the Anglo-Montreal class."

The existing quota, the MQF argues, reinforces socio-economic issues and increases the prestige of English-speaking institutions.

"Prestige already eminently high due to the hegemony of Anglo-Saxon culture," said Laporte. "This preeminent status of English, as it is deployed within our public higher education network with the financial over-blessing of the state, has the consequence of relegating the status of French to the background."

A new Legault quota would only make the situation worse, the MQF says.

“Duty calls Mr. Legault, but, Mr. Legault pretends to answer," said Laporte. "Even if the fire is caught, he lets it burn, again and again, invoking all the pretexts of the day to better spare himself the courage to finally pick up the handset and act consequently, and when, by a miracle, we manage to get some semblance of an answer from him, it is only to be told that 'it's going to be fine,' that a water gun should be enough to defeat the fire."

The MQF recommends extending Bill 101 to the college level.