Anglophones protest PQ's plan to boost Bill 101
Party leader promises 'more coherent and more ambitious' bill
Members of Montreal's anglophone community are preparing a protest in front of Quebec's National Assembly to oppose the Parti Québécois intentions to reinforce the language law, Bill 101.
According to an event page on Facebook, a similar protest is also planned for 2 p.m. in downtown Montreal, at the corner of Sherbrooke and Strathcona streets in the anglophone enclave of Westmount.
PQ leader Pauline Marois promised to strengthen the province's language laws within the first 100 days of her mandate, if her party is elected to power on Sept. 4.
The bill was originally adopted in 1977 to reaffirm that Quebec's common language is French.
At the campaign's beginning, Marois said a PQ government would adopt a newer version of Bill 101 that would be "stronger, more coherent and more ambitious." She added this bill would become a crucial part of Quebec's cultural identity.
The charter would require all businesses that employ 11 or more employees to use French in all staff communications. The current law applies to businesses with more than 50 workers.
The PQ said it would "definitely" close bridging schools — private institutions to which anglophone students can go before transitioning to English public schools. Marois said the situation is "intolerable."
The party also wants to stretch the language bill to CEGEPs, trade schools and adult education centres.
Quebec's French language authority would also be given more power to apply the existing rules to signs.
Marois tries to reassure anglos
Marois, though, is still trying to placate the province's anglophone community, which is on edge about the possibility of a PQ government rising to power on Tuesday.
The PQ leader was faced with an unhappy anglophone resident during a campaign stop outside Montreal Saturday.
An English school board member confronted Marois about the PQ plan to put limits on who can attend English junior college.
Marois, who is leading in the polls ahead of Tuesday's election, told the man they would find a way to work out the problem.
She later told reporters she wouldn't abandon Quebec anglophones but didn't divulge any specifics.