Quebec Votes

Bill 14 would be priority for re-elected PQ government

The Parti Québécois says it will make its French-language bill a priority if it is re-elected.

Parti Québécois bill would strengthen the French-language charter, give language inspectors more power

PQ leader Pauline Marois arrives with candidate Simon Prevost during a campaign stop Monday in Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville, Que. (Paul Chiasson/CP)

The Parti Québécois says it will make its French-language bill a priority if it is re-elected.

The PQ minority government opted to scrap Bill 14 in the fall and focus on the secular charter after months of debate and criticism from opposition parties.

On Monday, Leader Pauline Marois said the bill would be a priority for a re-elected PQ government.

"There is a major problem about French language in Quebec. We have problem with access to services in English. In some business organization they are not speaking French. We have to work on this issue," Marois said.

Marois addressed the French-language bill as she introduced Montarville candidate Simon Prévost.

Prévost, who is the former president of Quebec's association of manufactures and exporters, spoke out against Bill 14 during the public hearings held last year.

At the time, he called for a less antagonistic approach towards the English language.

On Monday, Prévost said that when he spoke out against the language bill, he was speaking on behalf of his employer. He would not say whether he personally backs Bill 14 in its current form. 

If passed, the bill would amend Quebec's language charter by tightening restrictions around the use of English. It would give inspectors the authority to seize anything that they have reasonable grounds to believe is proof the language law was violated. 

The proposed changes would also allow the government to remove the bilingual status of some municipalities.

Marois said she doesn't expect the PQ would make many changes to the bill, except to cut red tape for businesses.