Every day I open the local paper, open emails with a link to the petition regarding Bill 14, or hear it being discussed among the public. I am glad to know there are local officials who oppose the bill and are speaking out along with residents of Quebec. Mayor Anthony Housefather of Cote Saint Luc, the new leader of the Quebec Conservative Party, Adrien Pouliot and Beryl Wajsman, Editor of The Suburban (local English community newspaper) are just a few.
Here are a few updates: OQLF (language police) have taken their job to the extreme and are finding fault with a few local restaurants, one of which is Italian and serves pasta (the word cannot be translated into French) and another which offers traditional British food of Fish and Chips. The names of the restaurants are not French enough, the menu was not written all in French, gender designations on the restroom doors were in English as ‘Ladies’ and ‘Gents.’ Seriously? The more I read on the Bill and what others object to, I have to wonder why the current PQ minority government is continuing to push this? There are so many areas of improvement needed when it comes to healthcare, infrastructure and quality of education. Instead of spending millions on OQLF, why not spend the money elsewhere?
French is spoken everywhere I go and although not everyone in this province is bilingual or speaks only French, many attempt and speak what little French they know (me included) this is what gives the province a European flair! Why the continued push to outcast the English language, which is the international language especially of the business world? Why would you not want all of the residents to benefit from knowing it? Why the fear?
Everyone, line by line should read the bill to see what is included as it is not just about language. Part of the focus is what appears to be removing basic democratic rights. Here is an excerpt taken from The Suburban on February 27th:
The Bill will eliminate the term of law “ethnic minorities”, and Quebec will be the first western democracy to opt out of an international human rights regime. The Bill will give OQLF inspectors (discussed previously) the power to seize anything they find offensive in a business establishment and get a court judgement without any notice to the one who offended! Quebec becomes the first western democracy to allow persecution without notice.
The Quebec government will do away with the bilingual status of many municipalities whose residents ‘mother tongue’ has fallen below the 50% mark even though a resolution has already been passed to maintain that bilingual status. Where is the justice in this? Another area is CEGEP’S (here in Quebec students go to grade 11 and then 2 years of CEGEP which is basically grade 12 and the first year of university), it is a middle step between secondary school and university (additional 3 years). “Anglophone CEGEP’s would not be allowed to accept Francophone students until all the anglophone applications have been accepted.” Only those who can prove they are able to attend English public schools can attend English CEGEP’s.
This comes across as discriminatory to me. Discrimination based on religion, gender and color has been declared illegal, but not language? This must change and this Bill cannot be allowed to pass!
Written by Victoria Brewster, MSW
SJS Staff Writer in Canada