Robert Poëti, MNA for Marguerite-Bourgeoys reaffirms the Québec Liberal Party’s position regarding Bill 14, which notably aims to amend the Charter of the French language and the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms.
For the official opposition, it is inconceivable to vote in favour of this Bill that proposes the following measures:
• Application of the Charter to SMEs who employ between 26 and 49 employees, without any evaluation of the impacts and costs for these businesses;
• Imposition of exit exams, testing English CÉGEP students’ knowledge of the French language, that will negatively affect some persons(anglophones, allophones and newly arrived immigrants);
• New immigrant selection policies which exclude individuals who do not demonstrate a sufficient knowledge of French, making them ineligible for immigration;
• Awarding of new powers to the Minister of Immigration and Cultural Communities, in particular, the power of inquiry, which would be equivalent to establishing a political language police.
“The official opposition will oppose these unjustified measures. We should not forget that for more than 60 years, the Québec Liberal Party has participated in enabling the French language to flourish and has deployed sustained efforts to promote its use. Our objective is twofold: to protect individual freedoms and to ensure the vitality of our language. Using supportive and accompanying measures, we have achieved this objective. There is no justification for the Parti québécois to now declare war on linguistic peace,” declared MNA Poëti.
The government is also proposing, with Bill 14, to withdraw the bilingual status of municipalities whose Anglophone population falls below 50%. Their status would be re-evaluated every 10 years, starting from the year their bilingual status was recognized, making the minister for the Charter of the French language responsible for deciding whether or not to withdraw their status. The official opposition considers this government measure unjustified.
“This is a direct attack by the PQ on the necessary linguistic balance. Municipalities’ bilingual status should not be left to the minister’s discretion. This infringes on the wishes of the targeted municipalities and their duly elected representatives. The 50% anglophone requirement does not take into account the municipalities’ history or the vitality of the communities affected. This issue belongs to the duly elected municipal representatives to determine themselves,” concluded the MNA, Robert Poëti.