Quebec language minister says he wants to improve his English, insists there will be no 'historic anglophone' list
Published Wednesday, November 20, 2019 10:33PM EST Last Updated Thursday, November 21, 2019 3:04PM EST
MONTREAL -- Quebec's minister in charge of the French language insists there will be no list of "historic anglophones" who would be allowed to receive government services in English.
“There is no list and there will be no list,” Simon Jolin-Barrette told reporters in English Thursday.
“I don’t change my mind. Maybe I not express myself well in English, so I want to improve my language, my English skills, but there will be no list. I’m very clear about that.”
The minister had been pressed Wednesday by Liberal MNA Greg Kelley on whether or not the government was considering creating a list.
Watch the exchange here:
"How would the government distinguish a historic anglophone from the rest of the Quebec population? What are the criteria to be on this list?" Kelley asked.
"There was never any question of lists," Jolin-Barrette responded. "The issue up for discussion was that new arrivals need to communicate with the state in French."
Jolin-Barrette's comments contradict remarks he made earlier this month, when he said there would be a list to identify so-called "historic anglophones," but didn't say how it would be compiled.
Community groups and anglophone politicians expressed outrage and confusion at the minister's statement with some wondered how these "historic anglophones" would be identified.
"Is there some sort of secret password, secret handshake?" asked Quebec Liberal MNA Carlos Leitao earlier this month.