New French-language coalition demands Bill 101 boost
A new coalition of French-language groups is calling on the Quebec government to strengthen the province’s language law, Bill 101.
Partenaires pour un Québec Français (PQF) said it wants the province’s language watchdog, the Office Québécois de la Langue Française (OQLF),to have more power and resources to protect French.
Mario Beaulieu, spokesman for the coalition, said Bill 101 was weakened to respect the presence of the "historic anglophone community."
"Gradually, with the weakening of Bill 101, we came back to full bilingualism. This means someone can live in English in Montreal without having to use French," said Beaulieu.
He added that with weak language laws, the province would not be able to force people to learn French.
Louise Mercier, spokeswoman for the Quebec Labour Federation, said encouraging new Quebeckers to speak French at work is crucial in fighting assimilation.
"One day, we will lose our language," said Mercier.
Despite the concerns, Beaulieu said he is confident Montreal’s new Mayor Michael Applebaum understands the coalition’s mandate.
The PQF is a coalition comprised of some of the province’s largest unions, and traditional Quebec nationalist groups.
Main points from the PQF's platform
At its meeting on Monday, the PQF outlined some of its key objectives, which mostly focus on increasing the presence of French in workplaces around the province.
- To make French the only language used in administrative offices, such as Quebec's health centres and vehicle registration offices.
- Enforce the learning of French at the workplace.
- Force businesses with English names to add a French title or description to their brand.
- Close a loophole that allows children into English schools who would otherwise be ineligible.
- Give priority to French-speaking immigrants and foreign students.
- Offer French-learning services to immigrants and increase financial resources for schools in multiethnic neighborhoods.
- Give French training in the workplace to anyone who does not speak it.
- Negotiate with the federal government to allow Quebec to have a telecommunications and radio broadcast council.