Free French for all Quebecers, a positive gesture

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Greg Kelley, the MNA for Jacques-Cartier, says he thinks he has found a way to unite Quebecers of all stripes around a common cause, which is improving the French of people from all backgrounds, the Gazette reports.

Kelley wants the Quebec government to open up the Charter of the French Language to make free instruction in French a right for anyone who resides in Quebec.

This is a positive and enabling idea which is long overdue. For far too long the emphasis has been on punitive measures by policy-makers and language cops rather than empowering methods of teaching those who could benefit from additional help and contribute to the social and economic fabric of society.

After 40 years of the stick it’s time for the carrot!

Teach everyone who’s willing to learn to speak French. Presumably this will entice English-speakers and those who have arrived from countries where neither English nor French is an official language.

Let’s give the necessary tools for Quebecers to speak to one another, to learn from each other and to respect each other.

We are a richer society by speaking multiple languages. This enriching experience may even convince French-speaking Quebecers to call upon the government to offer free English courses. Et pourquoi pas?

Nashen touts Hydro Quebec’s new offering of English tweets

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Free Press | Sept. 27, 2016 | Click to enlarge

Quebec not budging on English for public safety signs

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By Joel Goldenberg

The Suburban, November 5th, 2014

This is the latest in a series of articles looking at stores and companies and their language policies in areas with majority and significant anglophone populations, as documented by Hampstead’s Harold Staviss and Côte St. Luc’s Ruth Kovac.

Quebec will not budge on the inclusion of English on road signs dealing with public safety, despite the allowance of its inclusion according to the province’s language laws, an e-mail from Quebec’s transport department indicates.

Staviss recently wrote to the complaints department of Transport Quebec about the lack of English on safety signs, pointing out the importance of those signs for all Quebecers.

Staviss also cited Article 22 in the Charter of the French Language, which states that “the civil administration shall use only French in signs and posters, except where reasons of health or public safety require the use of another language as well.”

“I’m wondering why Transport Quebec isn’t taking this rule into account so that all public safety displays are in French and English,” Staviss wrote.

Days later, Staviss received a reply from Catherine Boutin of the transport ministry, which further cited article 22 as stating that “in the case of traffic signs, the French inscription may be complemented or replaced by symbols or pictographs, and another language may be used where no symbol or pictograph exists that satisfies the requirements of health or public safety.”

“As we are aware of the linguistic diversity of those who use our roads, the department primarily uses symbols and pictograms, according to Quebec standards but also taking into account international norms,” Boutin wrote. “The road signs are thus understandable to everyone.

“The department also uses messages on electronic panels to disseminate real-time messages to help drivers decide on their routes and for general road safety recommendations,” her e-mail added. “These messages do not apply to public health or safety and are therefore only in French.”

Boutin also wrote that the ministry uses fixed signs, not the electronic type, during road safety awareness campaigns.

“Because of the nature of the messages conveyed, French signage is recommended. The ministry also broadcasts English messages in the media, if the language of the broadcaster is not French, ensuring that all road users are adequately informed.”

Kovac recommended that a copy of the transport ministry response be sent to the ministers of transport and public safety.
Staviss said a comment from Côte St. Luc Councillor Glenn Nashen, who has also been calling for English on highway safety signs, reflects his own view as well.

Nashen said in an e–mail to Staviss that he is “completely” dissatisfied with the answer from the ministry.

“Looking just at the electronic signage they’ve installed around the province, they say that this information is not linked to public safety or health and therefore is in French only,” Nashen wrote. “Nonsense. The best example is that signs say ‘cahouteuse’ (rough road) from time to time as a warning or message indicating danger. I would challenge the ministry to poll how many English-speakers would know what this word even means. It is clearly a message of public safety.

“Also, there are warnings concerning periods of ‘degel” or thaw, messages for staying alert and awake, for DUI and the like. These are all public safety messages and it is completely unacceptable for the ministry not to present these messages in English as well as French. Additionally, these panels flash information about accidents up ahead, about important alerts for construction on roads and bridges. It is illogical and nonsensical not to post these messages in both languages.”

Nashen recommended that Staviss send a copy of the ministry’s e-mail response to D’Arcy McGee MNA David Birnbaum.

•••

Staviss and Kovac’s e-mail address, bonjourhi2u@gmail.com — is “for anyone who is interested in getting involved to encourage merchants, retailers and the like to post English signage or more English signage.”

 

Montreal fire department website now has English content

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By Joel Goldenberg, The Suburban, October 29th, 2014

The Montreal fire department website (ville.montreal.qc.ca/sim/en) now has a significant amount of English content, The Suburban has discovered.

Earlier this year, Côte St. Luc Councillor Glenn Nashen complained that the new website lacked English.

“This is completely unacceptable and I’d even say goes contrary to their mission of providing public safety, thereby placing the residents of the Montreal agglomeration at risk,” Nashen said at the time.
Suzie Simard, spokesperson with the Montreal fire department, told us at the time that the English content was being worked on and would soon be on the site.

A few weeks ago, we saw a limited amount of English content on the site, but now there is much more content, in relation to prevention tips, what to do after a fire, awareness campaigns, a children’s section, information on first responders, specialized teams, maps of fire stations, information on vehicles and equipment, how to obtain a fire report, tours and related bylaws.
Nashen was pleased.

“This is a very good start at communicating with the English-speaking community, since the new department was created in 2002,” he wrote us in an e-mail. “There is still much work to be done in ensuring that other French-only informational, educational and promotional material and content gets translated as well. All forms, hand-outs and videos should be accessible by all Montreal agglomeration residents in English alongside French.”

And Nashen added that if the an impact is to be made in fire safety and prevention in cultural and linguistic communities, “this agglo department, as well as the police and emergency measures divisions, will have to work hard to communicate in several languages as is the norm in other major North American centres.

“The Montreal Agglo Fire Department has finally started to do what is crucial in their mission to prevent fires and safeguard residents. It must show the same efforts in social media and all other publicity to be sure their important messages are being understood and followed.”

 

As an Anglo-Quebecois, are you showing enough goodwill?

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Former Pequiste Pierre Curzi, who is now with the separatist party Option Nationale, explained his views on language when he was a guest on the Tommy Schnurmacher Show on CJAD 800 Talk Radio along with Stéphane Dion, who once described Bill 101 as a great Canadian law.

Listen to the episode here:

As an Anglo-Quebecois, are you showing enough goodwill?.

Opinion: Changes proposed by Bill 14 risk serious rights violations

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By Pearl Eliadis, Special to The Gazette April 18, 2013

MONTREAL – Last Friday, the Quebec Bar Association testified at legislative hearings in Quebec City on Bill 14, which proposes to amend several laws, including the French Language Charter, and impose new restrictions on (mainly) anglophone rights.

When I first wrote about Bill 14 last fall (Opinion, Dec. 11, “Bill 14 chips away at English minority rights”), I highlighted the bill’s proposed change in definition of “ethnic minorities” to the nebulous “cultural communities.” Other writers have discussed this as well. The proposed new term, in my view, is worrisome because it serves as prologue to a litany of substantive rights violations in the bill.

The Bar found more than a dozen of these, in a number of areas. Among them:

Jobs: Let’s say your employer hired you because she needs well-educated employees who speak two or more languages. After all, you work in the Montreal area, so you probably serve clients of different linguistic backgrounds. Under Bill 14, your employer would be obliged to “subsequently review such needs periodically” to justify not only your job, but also the job of every other employee whose skills in a language other than French were seen as an asset when they were hired. It does not matter how big or small the company is. If requiring a language other than French cannot be justified to the satisfaction of the language bureaucrats, your job or your promotion would be jeopardized. This applies even if you are fluent in French.

Public services: Bill 14 proposes to require communication with the provincial government in French, in order to obtain a licence, authorization, assistance, indemnity or any other benefit. Applications, then, would have to be made in French. All supporting documents would have to be in French, too. Otherwise, the government would insist on translating it, at your expense. This provision would create a disadvantage mainly for English speakers. If Bill 14 is passed, forget about English versions of driver’s licence forms, income-tax forms and other tax-related information, not to mention English versions of government websites, which are already inadequate. Then there is Bill 14’s proposed new passive right for government officials to be addressed solely in French. The corollary is that public servants would be entitled to refuse to even acknowledge anything said to them in English.

Health and social services: Under Bill 14, workers in health and social services would be able to demand full translation of files into French. Translation costs would be borne by the English-language health-care system. But what if there were a real emergency, and your file had to be transferred from the English-speaking system to a specialist in the French-speaking system? The English version of Bill 14 says that the person authorized to receive your documents may require “a quick rundown of their content” in French — and this, in addition to the full translation of the file. The French version of the bill can be interpreted as saying only a “quick rundown” would be required. The translation contradictions are not helpful. To be sure, there are perfectly valid reasons for wanting unilingual workers to understand what they are reading. However, Bill 14’s proposals would impose financial burdens on an already-beleaguered health system. (I am betting there was no consultation with the English system on this point).

Your child’s schooling: Let’s say you move. Or you want to transfer your child to another English school, for whatever reason. Education officials under Bill 14 would, in these cases, be entitled to disregard your child’s years of schooling to date if this schooling in English were obtained through “trickery,” deception or a “temporary artificial situation.” These terms are all undefined, and interpretation would be left to the discretion of bureaucrats.

These are but a few examples of what awaits us if Bill 14 is passed. The bill promises years of litigation and legal instability.

Who will pay? For starters, the taxpayer.

The Quebec Bar Association’s brief, which highlights the legally problematic aspects of Bill 14, should be reassuring to anyone who believes that the rule of law should prevail regardless of one’s mother tongue or home language.

Protecting French is a legitimate political objective. But Bill 14 goes too far, and risks becoming a launch pad for multiple legal challenges that will further damage Quebec’s reputation.

Pearl Eliadis is a Montreal human-rights lawyer. She was part of the legal advisory team for the African Canadian Legal Clinic of Toronto, an intervenor in the Whatcott case. She teaches civil liberties at McGill University.

© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette

CSL takes leadership role opposing Bill 14 language law

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With Côte Saint-Luc certainly taking the lead, municipalities with bilingual status are adopting resolutions affirming their desire to retain their bilingual status and opposing Bill 14, which would give the Quebec government the power to unilaterally remove this status against the will of the municipality or borough concerned.

“If the bill becomes law, more than half of the 84 municipalities and boroughs that have bilingual status might lose it,” said Mayor Anthony Housefather of Côte Saint-Luc. “It is unconscionable that the Parti Québécois government amended the legislation in 2000 to define who is an English-speaker in the narrowest possible way and now wants to use those misleading numbers to unilaterally remove bilingual status.”

Since 1977, it have been illegal for municipalities to, among other things, send a bilingual tax bill, erect bilingual signage, or send a bilingual memo to city workers. However, an exception was made under Section 29.1 of the Charter of the French Language, commonly referred to as bilingual status, for municipalities where a majority of residents spoke a language other than French. In 2000, another Parti Québécois government adopted Bill 171, which drastically changed the criteria to obtain bilingual status from a majority of residents of a municipality or borough who spoke a language other than French to a majority of residents whose mother tongue was English.

This revised criteria was imposed without consulting municipalities and boroughs, and adopted the narrowest and most inaccurate definition of the English-speaking communities.

Bill 14, tabled by the new Parti Québécois minority government, would allow for the potential removal of bilingual status from municipalities or boroughs by decree–and against the will of the municipality or borough concerned, its duly elected council and its residents—if less than 50 percent of residents are mother tongue English-speaking.

Of the 1,476 cities and towns and boroughs in Quebec, only 84—or 6 percent—have bilingual status.

I am urging readers to please go to www.bilingualstatus.com and from there write a letter to your Member of the National Assembly, requesting that they vote against this law.

An interview with Mayor Housefather on Bill 14 on CBC Radio One is available on Mike Cohen’s blog.

 

Global News:  Côte St-Luc Mayor launches website to rally Quebecers against Bill 14

Le Devoir opinion piece by Mayor Housefather: Un statut bilingue légitime et essentiel

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Libre opinion – Un statut bilingue légitime et essentiel

24 décembre 2012 | Anthony Housefather – Maire, Ville de Côte-Saint-Luc
À la suite de l’article publié dans Le Devoir intitulé « La moitié des villes bilingues ne remplissent plus les critères », précisons que la Charte de la langue française originale ne se basait pas sur le critère actuel pour déterminer si une municipalité obtenait le statut de ville bilingue. Depuis plus de 25 ans, le critère utilisé pour déterminer l’octroi de ce statut était si la majorité des résidants de la municipalité parlaient une autre langue que le français. Il n’était nullement précisé que ce statut était basé sur la langue maternelle.

Aujourd’hui, à Côte-Saint-Luc, plus de 82 % de nos résidants ont une autre langue maternelle que le français et seulement 15,1 % des résidants parlent uniquement français à la maison. Il n’y a aucun doute que nous remplissons largement les critères qui à l’origine conféraient le statut de ville bilingue.
Dans le contexte de la législation sur les fusions forcées en 2000, le gouvernement péquiste d’alors a adopté la loi 171 et changé la critère, soit 50 % des résidants de langue maternelle anglaise, ce qui est la définition la plus étroite possible de communauté de langue anglaise. Une statistique bien plus appropriée pour déterminer qui est anglophone est la première langue officielle parlée ou la langue parlée le plus souvent à la maison. Cependant, puisque le statut bilingue était un droit acquis et pouvait être révoqué uniquement à la demande de la municipalité elle-même, il n’y a pas eu de problème avant l’arrivée du projet de loi 14, qui permettrait au gouvernement provincial et à ses organismes de contester ou de révoquer notre statut.

 

Unique au monde
Contrairement à ce qu’affirme dans votre article Jacques Beauchemin, sous-ministre à la Politique linguistique au ministère de l’Immigration et des Communautés culturelles, soit que le statut de ville bilingue est une « anomalie », ce qui est anormal, c’est que les municipalités ne peuvent pas décider d’elles-mêmes la langue dans laquelle elles veulent servir leurs résidants. À ma connaissance, le Québec est le seul État dans le monde occidental qui interdit aux municipalités de fonctionner dans les langues de leur choix. Certains pays, États et provinces exigent des municipalités qu’elles servent les minorités linguistiques dans leur langue lorsque cette tranche de la population atteint un certain seuil (bien inférieur à 50 %). Cependant, le Québec est le seul endroit où le gouvernement interdit aux municipalités d’utiliser la langue de la minorité, à moins que la minorité ne forme la majorité définie selon le critère le plus étroit possible.
En plus d’alléguer de façon incorrecte que les municipalités ne satisfaisaient pas au critère d’origine, l’article donne des chiffres incorrects pour la langue maternelle des municipalités et qui sont largement plus bas que ceux publiés par le recensement 2011 de Statistique Canada. En ce qui concerne Côte-Saint-Luc, l’article indique que seulement 40 % de nos résidants sont de langue anglaise, ce qui est faux. En effet, selon le recensement de 2011, 45,4 % de nos résidants indiquent l’anglais comme langue maternelle (soit comme choix unique, soit comme réponse multiple). De plus, ce chiffre n’inclut pas les personnes vivant dans les huit maisons de retraite ou les deux hôpitaux sur le territoire de notre ville (si tel était le cas, ce pourcentage serait bien plus haut). Par ailleurs, environ 63 % de la population a déclaré qu’elle parle anglais à la maison (4 fois plus que le français) et plus de 70 % a déclaré que l’anglais était la première langue officielle parlée.
C’est pourquoi il est faux de dire que la communauté d’expression anglaise est une minorité dans notre municipalité. Avoir une situation qui permet au gouvernement actuel d’exiger que notre municipalité cesse de communiquer avec ses résidants, d’adopter des règlements et d’afficher en anglais et en français est complètement absurde. Par tous les moyens possibles, nous continuerons de nous opposer à cette législation et tout Québécois épris de justice et du principe d’équité devrait faire de même.

 

Cinq premières municipalités adoptent des résolutions manifestant leur opposition aux dispositions du projet de loi 14 sur le statut bilingue

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Les cinq premières municipalités ont adopté, hier, une résolution affirmant leur désir de conserver leur statut bilingue et de s’opposer au projet de loi 14, qui autoriserait le gouvernement du Québec à révoquer unilatéralement ce statut contre la volonté de la municipalité ou de l’arrondissement en question.

Les municipalités qui ont adopté la résolution hier sont la Ville de Côte Saint-Luc, la Ville de Hampstead, la Ville de Montréal-Ouest, la Ville de Mont-Royal et le Village de Senneville. On s’attend à ce que d’autres villes, cités et arrondissements de la province ayant un statut bilingue adoptent aussi une résolution semblable avant la tenue des débats sur le projet de loi 14.

« Si le projet de loi devient loi, plus de la moitié des 84 municipalités et arrondissements qui possèdent un statut bilingue risquent de le perdre, a précisé le maire de Côte Saint-Luc, Anthony Housefather. Il est inadmissible que le gouvernement du Parti québécois ait modifié la loi en 2000 pour imposer la définition la plus étroite possible d’une personne d’expression anglaise, et qu’il veuille maintenant utiliser ces chiffres trompeurs pour retirer unilatéralement les statuts bilingues. »

Depuis 1977, il est illégal pour une municipalité, entre autres choses, d’envoyer un avis d’imposition bilingue, d’ériger une signalisation bilingue, ou d’envoyer un message bilingue aux employés municipaux. Une exception a toutefois été établie en vertu de l’article 29.1 de la Charte de la langue française, communément appelée le statut bilingue, pour les municipalités dont la majorité des résidants parlent une langue autre que le français. En 2000, un autre gouvernement du Parti québécois a adopté le projet de loi 171, qui a modifié considérablement le critère d’obtention du statut bilingue : d’une majorité de résidants d’une municipalité ou d’un arrondissement parlant une langue autre que le français, à une majorité de résidants dont la langue maternelle est l’anglais.

Le critère révisé a été imposé sans consultation auprès des municipalités et des arrondissements, et l’on a adopté la définition de la communauté de langue anglaise la plus étroite et la plus inexacte.

« Le critère servant à déterminer qui est de langue anglaise est extrêmement restrictif, a soutenu le maire de la Ville de Hampstead, William Steinberg. Peu importe si vous vivez en anglais, si vous parlez à vos enfants en anglais, et si vous vous considérez comme anglophone, si votre mère vous a parlé en italien, ou encore en yiddish ou en grec il y a 50 ans quand vous n’étiez qu’un enfant, le gouvernement affirme que vous n’êtes pas anglophone dès qu’il est question de la reconnaissance du statut bilingue à une municipalité ou un arrondissement. »

Le projet de loi 14, déposé par le nouveau gouvernement minoritaire du Parti québécois, permettrait le retrait potentiel du statut bilingue aux municipalités ou aux arrondissements, par décret et contre la volonté de la municipalité ou de l’arrondissement, de son conseil dûment élu et de ses résidants – si moins de 50 pour cent de ses résidants sont de langue maternelle anglaise.

« Nous croyons que la loi proposée est une attaque aux droits fondamentaux et au caractère intrinsèque des municipalités et des arrondissements qui possèdent présentement un statut bilingue », a affirmé pour sa part le maire de la Ville de Mont-Royal, Philippe Roy.

Pour près des 1 500 cités et villes et arrondissements au Québec, seulement 84 – ou 6 pour cent – possèdent un statut bilingue.

Les villes qui ont adopté des résolutions ont affirmé qu’elles considéraient le statut bilingue comme essentiel au caractère de la municipalité et comme un témoignage de la présence historique des communautés anglophones et francophones dans leur municipalité.

Le texte de la résolution est accessible à CoteSaintLuc.org.

First five bilingual municipalities adopt resolutions opposing Bill 14’s provisions on removing bilingual status

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Côte Saint-Luc, December 18, 2012 – The first five municipalities with bilingual status adopted resolutions yesterday affirming their desire to retain their bilingual status and opposing Bill 14, which would give the Quebec government the power to unilaterally remove this status against the will of the municipality or borough concerned.

The municipalities that adopted the resolution yesterday include the City of Côte Saint-Luc, the Town of Hampstead, the Town of Montreal West, the Town of Mount Royal and the Town of Senneville. It is anticipated that cities, towns and boroughs with bilingual status across the province will adopt the resolution prior to the legislative hearings on Bill 14.

“If the bill becomes law, more than half of the 84 municipalities and boroughs that have bilingual status might lose it,” said Mayor Anthony Housefather of Côte Saint-Luc. “It is unconscionable that the Parti Québécois government amended the legislation in 2000 to define who is an English-speaker in the narrowest possible way and now wants to use those misleading numbers to unilaterally remove bilingual status.”

Since 1977, it have been illegal for municipalities to, among other things, send a bilingual tax bill, erect bilingual signage, or send a bilingual memo to city workers. However, an exception was made under Section 29.1 of the Charter of the French Language, commonly referred to as bilingual status, for municipalities where a majority of residents spoke a language other than French. In 2000, another Parti Québécois government adopted Bill 171, which drastically changed the criteria to obtain bilingual status from a majority of residents of a municipality or borough who spoke a language other than French to a majority of residents whose mother tongue was English.

This revised criteria was imposed without consulting municipalities and boroughs, and adopted the narrowest and most inaccurate definition of the English-speaking communities.

“The criteria for who is English-speaking is ridiculously restrictive,” said Mayor William Steinberg of the Town of Hampstead. “You could live in English, speak to your kids in English, consider yourself to be English-speaking. But if 50 years ago your mom spoke to you in Italian, or Yiddish, or Greek, when you were a toddler, then the government says you are not English speaking when it comes to a municipality or borough being eligible for bilingual status.”

Bill 14, tabled by the new Parti Québécois minority government, would allow for the potential removal of bilingual status from municipalities or boroughs by decree–and against the will of the municipality or borough concerned, its duly elected council and its residents—if less than 50 percent of residents are mother tongue English speaking.

“We believe the proposed law is an attack on the fundamental rights and intrinsic character of all municipalities and boroughs that currently possess bilingual status,” said Mayor Philippe Roy of the Town of Mount Royal.

Of the 1,476 cities and towns and boroughs in Quebec, only 84—or 6 percent—have bilingual status.

The cities that passed resolutions affirmed that they view bilingual status as fundamental to the character of the municipality and as a testament of the historical presence of both the English- and French-speaking communities in the municipality.

Copies of the resolution are available here or at CoteSaintLuc.org.

 

Cinq premières municipalités adoptent des résolutions manifestant leur opposition aux dispositions du projet de loi 14 sur le statut bilingue

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18 déc 2012

Côte Saint-Luc, le 18 décembre 2012 – Les cinq premières municipalités ont adopté, hier, une résolution affirmant leur désir de conserver leur statut bilingue et de s’opposer au projet de loi 14, qui autoriserait le gouvernement du Québec à révoquer unilatéralement ce statut contre la volonté de la municipalité ou de l’arrondissement en question.

Les municipalités qui ont adopté la résolution hier sont la Ville de Côte Saint-Luc, la Ville de Hampstead, la Ville de Montréal-Ouest, la Ville de Mont-Royal et le Village de Senneville. On s’attend à ce que d’autres villes, cités et arrondissements de la province ayant un statut bilingue adoptent aussi une résolution semblable avant la tenue des débats sur le projet de loi 14.

« Si le projet de loi devient loi, plus de la moitié des 84 municipalités et arrondissements qui possèdent un statut bilingue risquent de le perdre, a précisé le maire de Côte Saint-Luc, Anthony Housefather. Il est inadmissible que le gouvernement du Parti québécois ait modifié la loi en 2000 pour imposer la définition la plus étroite possible d’une personne d’expression anglaise, et qu’il veuille maintenant utiliser ces chiffres trompeurs pour retirer unilatéralement les statuts bilingues. »

Depuis 1977, il est illégal pour une municipalité, entre autres choses, d’envoyer un avis d’imposition bilingue, d’ériger une signalisation bilingue, ou d’envoyer un message bilingue aux employés municipaux. Une exception a toutefois été établie en vertu de l’article 29.1 de la Charte de la langue française, communément appelée le statut bilingue, pour les municipalités dont la majorité des résidants parlent une langue autre que le français. En 2000, un autre gouvernement du Parti québécois a adopté le projet de loi 171, qui a modifié considérablement le critère d’obtention du statut bilingue : d’une majorité de résidants d’une municipalité ou d’un arrondissement parlant une langue autre que le français, à une majorité de résidants dont la langue maternelle est l’anglais.

Le critère révisé a été imposé sans consultation auprès des municipalités et des arrondissements, et l’on a adopté la définition de la communauté de langue anglaise la plus étroite et la plus inexacte.

« Le critère servant à déterminer qui est de langue anglaise est extrêmement restrictif, a soutenu le maire de la Ville de Hampstead, William Steinberg. Peu importe si vous vivez en anglais, si vous parlez à vos enfants en anglais, et si vous vous considérez comme anglophone, si votre mère vous a parlé en italien, ou encore en yiddish ou en grec il y a 50 ans quand vous n’étiez qu’un enfant, le gouvernement affirme que vous n’êtes pas anglophone dès qu’il est question de la reconnaissance du statut bilingue à une municipalité ou un arrondissement. »

Le projet de loi 14, déposé par le nouveau gouvernement minoritaire du Parti québécois, permettrait le retrait potentiel du statut bilingue aux municipalités ou aux arrondissements, par décret et contre la volonté de la municipalité ou de l’arrondissement, de son conseil dûment élu et de ses résidants – si moins de 50 pour cent de ses résidants sont de langue maternelle anglaise.

« Nous croyons que la loi proposée est une attaque aux droits fondamentaux et au caractère intrinsèque des municipalités et des arrondissements qui possèdent présentement un statut bilingue », a affirmé pour sa part le maire de la Ville de Mont-Royal, Philippe Roy.

Pour près des 1 500 cités et villes et arrondissements au Québec, seulement 84 – ou 6 pour cent – possèdent un statut bilingue.

Les villes qui ont adopté des résolutions ont affirmé qu’elles considéraient le statut bilingue comme essentiel au caractère de la municipalité et comme un témoignage de la présence historique des communautés anglophones et francophones dans leur municipalité.

Le texte de la résolution est accessible ici ou à CoteSaintLuc.org.

Council speaks out against Bill 14, supports bilingual status quo

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Cote Saint-Luc City Council lead the charge last night against Quebec’s draft Bill 14 which would severely punish more than 65 remaining bilingual cities and towns.  The much criticized draft legislation threatens much of Quebec’s anglophone communities with losing its bilingual status permitting communication with residents in their preferred  “official” language.

Mayor Anthony Housefather, a former president of the once powerful and influential English-language rights lobby group, Alliance Quebec, took a leadership role in drafting the following resolution.  The Council felt so strongly about supporting the resolution that they took the unprecedented procedure of all seconding the motion simultaneously.

 

RESOLUTION ON SECTION 29.1 “BILINGUAL” STATUS

 

Whereas the Charter of the French Language (“Charter”) was adopted by the Quebec National Assembly in 1977, and over 80 municipalities throughout the Province of Quebec were recognized as having “bilingual status” pursuant to the provisions of Section 29.1 of the Charter; and

Whereas the original provisions of the Charter allowed those municipalities that had a majority of residents who spoke a language other than French to be officially recognized under Section 29.1; and

Whereas the City of Côte Saint-Luc has been recognized as having bilingual status under Section 29.1 of the Charter since 1977 and wishes to retain such “bilingual status”; and

Whereas currently the Charter does not allow the recognition of “bilingual status” under Section 29.1 to be removed from a municipality or borough except at the request of such municipality or borough; and

Whereas the Quebec National Assembly adopted Bill 170 imposing forced municipal mergers on municipalities in 2000 and simultaneously adopted companion legislation Bill 171 which drastically changed the criteria to obtain recognition under Section 29.1 of the Charter, from a majority of residents of a municipality or borough who spoke a language other than French to a majority of residents whose mother tongue was English; and

Whereas the revised criteria, under Bill 171, was imposed without consultation with municipalities recognized under Section 29.1 and adopted the narrowest and most inaccurate definition of the English-speaking communities within said municipalities or boroughs; and

Whereas the current Quebec Government has now proposed Bill 14, which would allow for the removal of Section 29.1 recognition from municipalities or boroughs by decree and against the will of the municipality or borough concerned, its duly elected council and its residents; and

Whereas the City of Côte Saint-Luc is firmly opposed to the proposed amendments to Section 29 of the Charter as set out in Bill 14

 

It was moved by Mayor Anthony Housefather, second by the entire city council and resolved:

 

THAT The City of Côte Saint-Luc hereby declares that it wishes to retain its “bilingual status” recognition under Section 29.1 of the Charter now and in the future and wishes to do so irrespective of any fluctuations in its population shown in census numbers now or in the future.

THAT The residents and Council of the City of Côte Saint-Luc view the recognition of our municipality under Section 29.1 as fundamental to the character of the municipality and as a testament of the historical presence of both the English- and French-speaking communities in the municipality;

THAT The City of Côte Saint-Luc vigorously opposes the proposed modifications to Section 29 of the Charter set out in Bill 14 and demands that the Quebec National Assembly continue to recognize the acquired rights of all municipalities and boroughs that currently possess such status and refrain from adopting any legislation that allows Section 29.1 recognition of bilingual status to be removed from a municipality or borough except at the initiative of and express request of said municipality or borough.

 

 

THAT The City of Côte Saint-Luc calls upon all of the members of the Quebec National Assembly to remove the provisions of Bill 14 that propose to amend Section 29 of the Charter or to vote against and defeat such provisions since we view such provisions as an attack on the fundamental rights and intrinsic character of all municipalities and boroughs that currently possess Section 29.1 recognition.

 

 

THAT The City of Côte Saint-Luc directs its clerk to send copies of this resolution to

all of members of the Quebec National Assembly, to all other municipalities in Quebec officially recognized under Section 29.1 of the Charter and to the local federal member of Parliament and the Commissioner of Official Languages of Canada and the UMQ, FQM and FCM.

 

PQ minister softens hard line on bilingualism

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BY PHILIP AUTHIER, THE GAZETTE DECEMBER 11, 2012

It’s no longer 50 per cent, but 40 per cent — and even then, it’s not automatic.

Quebec’s minister responsible for the anglophone community, Jean-François Lisée, said he has convinced his cabinet colleagues of the need to soften the rules under which a municipality loses its official bilingual status under the Charter of the French Language.

“I argued with others that it should not be at 50 (per cent),” Lisée said following a speech to the Jeune chambré de commerce de Montréal on Monday.

“It should be at 40. I felt it was important to make it rather difficult to take away the status, which is worth a lot.”

Last week, the Parti Québécois government tabled a new Charter of the French Language in the National Assembly. Among many other points, Bill 14 gives the government the power to revoke a city or town’s bilingual status should it no longer have 50 per cent of its population speaking English as a mother tongue.

The clause, a long-standing demand of PQ hardline militants, has raised concern in the anglophone community.

Lisée, who is also the minister responsible for Montreal, raised the issue himself at the end of his speech.

He told the crowd he wanted take advantage of the forum to answer a question about the matter posed by Westmount Mayor Peter Trent, who was in the crowd.

“Some understood there would be an automatic reaction that if a city fell below 50 per cent it would lose this status,” Lisée said. “It is not the case.

“This was discussed at the inter-ministerial committee and it was decided there should be a threshold where it happens, but certainly not 50, certainly not 49, certainly not 47.

“So we decided if a city reached 40 per cent or less, there would not be an automatic reaction. At 40 per cent or less there would be a discussion. There would be a committee to determine is this a permanent tendency, is it temporary, is it fluctuating?

“It’s not because a bilingual city, in a particular year, has lost one per cent of its non-francophone population (that it would lose its status.)

“This is something much more pragmatic, more fluid, more open to discussion and to a heritage which is important in my mind.”

At a news conference later, Lisée said he’s sorry people did not understand the government’s intention off the top.

With Bill 14 up for consultations and committee hearings in the new year, Lisée urged mayors of municipalities facing such population fluctuations to come and speak their minds.

Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/Quebec+municipalities+would+lose+bilingual+status+automatically+anglo+population+falls+below/7677147/story.html#ixzz2EkuJufhq

 

In my opinion:

50%?  40%? A discussion?  Let’s call it like it is.  It is narrow-minded, ill-advised and mean-spirited.

The current law, set bilingualism at 1977 rates of non-Francophones in a given city.  And these numbers were grandfathered so that a city couldn’t lose its bilingual status unless the city council asked to have it revoked.

Changing the way we measure language within the population to mother-tongue is a deliberate political maneuver to find the lowest possible denominator in order to have an excuse to take away a city’s bilingual status.  That’s just plain mean.

Taking the decision mechanism away from where we live and from whom we’ve elected locally, and handing it over to the Anglo-dreaded language police is just plain cruel.

 

Quebec municipalities would not lose bilingual status automatically if anglo population falls below 50 per cent: Lisée

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BY PHILIP AUTHIER, THE GAZETTE, December 10, 2012

Quebec municipalities that see their anglophone populations drop below 50 per cent will not lose their bilingual status automatically, says the minister responsible for Montreal.

 

Moving to ease fears, Jean-François Lisée said even if a city’s anglophone population slipped, there would be “discussion” about what’s actually happening before any decision is taken.

 

“It’s not because a population slips by one per cent (below 50 per cent) that its (status) gone,” Lisée said, answering a question after a speech to the young chamber of commerce for Montreal.

 

Presenting a new Charter of the French Language last week, the government gave itself the power to revoke bilingual status.

 

Lisée said there is nothing automatic about it, and there would be negotiations and close examination of census data even if the number dropped to 40 per cent.

 

 

 

Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/Quebec+municipalities+would+lose+bilingual+status+automatically+anglo+population+falls+below/7677147/story.html#ixzz2EgLdP2Rg

 

In my opinion:  

Thanks Mr. Lisée for trying to reassure me and the rest of the Anglo population of Quebec but I’d still like to see this draft bill flushed away.

As Cote Saint-Luc Mayor Anthony Housefather pointed out in his opinion piece published in the Gazette last week the real issue is that the government takes a very narrow perspective on language by using “mother-tongue” rather than language used in the home or preferred language.  What’s the real reason for making political decisions based upon the language of one’s mother (and father) that often doesn’t reflect the reality of the language spoken in one’s home today?

The fact that 18% of Cote Saint-Lucers have listed French as their mother tongue, 44% English and 38% other languages is far less important as to what percentage prefer to use which language which is much closer to a 75% English / 25% French split.  

Most English-speaking Quebecers  would hardly trust the OQLF to decide at what critical mass a municipality or institution would lose its bilingual status.  Leave that decision to those affected.  A few bilingual towns communicating effectively with its constituents will have no important bearing on preserving the French language.

Enough with sugar coating the bitter pill of narrow-minded and mean-spirited policy.

 

New law imperils English in suburbs

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Henry Aubin: New law imperils English in suburbs

Loss of bilingual status is a devastating blow and a barrier to business

BY HENRY AUBIN, MONTREAL GAZETTE DECEMBER 7, 2012

The Marois government’s proposed law to tighten the Charter of the French Language would deal a truly devastating blow to most of the 65 municipalities in Quebec that possess official bilingual status. The bill would strip this designation from a town if fewer than 50 per cent of its residents have English as their mother tongue.

Six of the 12 suburbs on Montreal Island that now offer services in French and English would lose the legal ability to continue to do so in English. They are Côte-St-Luc, Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Dorval, Kirkland, Mont-Royal and Senneville. (See table.)

Four other suburbs, whose English mother-tongue residents are steadily declining and now represent less than 55 per cent of the population, are on course to falling under the threshold within a few years. They are Baie d’Urfé, Beaconsfield, Pointe-Claire and Westmount. Hampstead and Montreal West, both of which are near the 60-per-cent mark, are safer ground. (The island’s two remaining suburbs, Montréal-Est and Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, do not have bilingual status.)

Municipalities not on the island would tend to lose their status at a considerably higher rate. Many of these mostly rural towns or villages have aging anglo communities.

(The government would determine whether a city or town is above or below the 50 per cent bar on the basis of Statistic Canada’s census. However, it is unclear how the government would define people with English as their mother tongue. Most people have only one language as their mother tongue, but others list two or even more on the census form, depending the circumstances of their infancy. The table gives figures for both options.)

The proposed law, Bill 14, tabled this week by the minister responsible for language, Diane De Courcy, comes completely out of the blue. It’s been a long time since language has been a notable issue in the island’s suburbs or in the more distant places. You have to wonder what the problem is that De Courcy set out to fix.

To be sure, the presence of English has become a hot political issue, but that controversy has been confined do Montreal’s central core, especially the shopping areas. De Courcy’s measure gives the core a free pass — the bill can’t revoke Montreal’s bilingual status because the city doesn’t have one.

Removing the suburbs’ bilingual standing would also be curious because it would reduce the attractiveness of Montreal for knowledge workers from English-speaking countries. When they move here, these workers often choose to live in a bilingual suburb where — as is only normal — they feel more linguistically hospitable.

The Mercer 2012 Quality of Living Index of cities — an annual ranking to help multinational companies and organizations make decisions — came out the day before De Courcy tabled the bill. It rated Montreal well behind Vancouver, Ottawa and Toronto. If the minority government succeeds in making Bill 14 law, it’s not going to help the economy.

Peter Trent, the Westmount mayor and leader of the island’s suburban mayors, is a moderate on language issues. He calls the measure “completely unacceptable” to anglo communities. As well, he notes an additional curiosity about the bill: “It wouldn’t help the cause of preserving French one jot.”

Trent notes a final curiosity about the bill: Those suburbs whose majority of English mother-tongue residents are rapidly shrinking might have no interest in attracting those newcomers who would further dilute the English mother-tongue presence. The law might thus have the perverse effect of making francophones unwelcome.

This measure might make short-term political sense: Riling the anglos is often a surefire way to boost the PQ in anglophobes’ eyes.

But as a step to advance the interests of francophones, the bill shoots itself in the foot. In the end, it would harm everybody.

Read more:http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/Henry+Aubin+imperils+English+suburbs/7669480/story.html#ixzz2EUfHTkUV

 

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