Quebec’s proposed new language law is a challenge across the political realm
MONTREAL—At the hearings on Bill 14 on Thursday, some fundamental questions were raised, such as what defines Quebecers?
The Parti Quebecois’ proposed language law update has led to some soul searching by people on both sides of the political divide.
The question was simple: Why would an immigrant want to move to Quebec? Lawyer Michael Bergman provided an answer.
“It’s all of us together, in a common space even with all our differences,” said Bergman, speaking for the Quebec Community Groups Network.
Representing a coalition of more than 40 Anglophone groups across the province, Bergman said modern Quebec has become a mosaic.
“The bill's revisions of the Quebec Charter of Human Rights make living in French a primary right, that is dangerous and makes a mockery of basic human rights,” Bergman continued.
“Bill 14 wants to say to that in the family there's one minority, the Anglophones, English speakers. We don't want them in the house anymore.”
Language minister Diane de Courcy said she appreciated the group’s perspective, but, disagreed.
“You’ll understand that in many ways we are not in agreement,” said de Courcy.
Facing the strong possibility that Bill 14 will be defeated in the minority assembly, the QCGN talked about a post-Bill 14 Quebec. The group believes there are several areas where the Anglophone community and the PQ government can agree.
As a common front: opening up the Quebec civil service.
Only two per cent of civil servants are Anglo, young Anglophones don't often have sufficient French writing skills, the group believes
Calling for additional training internships and French language courses for Anglos, the group says Quebec government jobs might not seem so unattainable.
“We do this with immigrants coming to Quebec why can't we do this with English speaking people in Quebec,” wondered Sylvia Martin-Laforge from the QCGN.
The group hopes to find rare common ground in a Quebec where the divisions seem to be running deeper by the day.