Tensions boil in National Assembly with Liberal filibuster on Bill 14
Published Thursday, May 2, 2013 9:49PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, May 2, 2013 9:51PM EDT
MONTREAL—Liberal MNAs continue to voice their opposition to Bill 14 in the National Assembly.
One by one, the opposition’s parliamentarians are rising in Quebec City and speaking out against the language bill, delaying its passage. Through the heated rhetoric, one comment by a member of the Parti Quebec was noticed and led to a rather unusual response…in English.
“In the words of Rene Levesque, a nation is judged by how it treats its minorities,” said Liberal MNA Filomena Rotiroti.
It's not often you hear English spoken in Quebec’s legislature, but Rotiroti argued Bill 14 was wrong in many ways and the Montreal-area MNA used English to make her point.
“The bill is threatening the rights granted under the Quebec Charter of Rights and Freedoms by changing visible minorities for cultural communities,” she said.
Her speech came a day after PQ MNA Daniel Breton said parliamentarians have the right to speak English, but, “it shows to what extent you’ve been colonized.”
The Liberals could barely contain their anger.
Jabbing her finger across the aisle at the former environment minister, relieved of his position last year, deputy Liberal house leader Lise Theriault demanded an apology.
“He just called us settlers!”
The assembly’s deputy speaker reminded Breton of the rules: MNAs have been able to speak both languages “for a very long time.”
Language Minister Diane de Courcy said the Liberal filibuster on Bill 14 is making things worse, describing the legislature as “acrimonious.”
Rotiroti responded that it depends on your perspective and who you're trying to reach.
“I represent an Italian constituency, I mean I could speak in Italian,” said Rotiroti.
The MNA didn't go that far, most of her speech in the chamber was in French, with only a section in English.
“We Liberals believe in uniting Quebecers and not in dividing them,” she continued.