Quebec January 2022-

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Projet de loi 96 sur la langue française
Les services publics essentiels doivent être exemptés
Les auteures s’adressent au ministre de la Justice
Monsieur le Ministre de la Justice, nous affirmons – chercheurs, professionnels et intervenants impliqués auprès des personnes immigrantes et réfugiées – que le projet de loi 96, la Loi sur la langue officielle et commune du Québec, le français, portera atteinte à l’accessibilité et à la qualité de services publics essentiels pour les résidants du Québec qui ne maîtrisent pas le français, surtout les immigrants et réfugiés. (27 November 2021)

A question of belonging: What place does Bill 96 leave for anglos?
Quebec’s overhaul of the French language charter fills leaders in the English community with “anxiety and worry about where this is all going.”
Marian Scott
“My sense is that there is a lot of concern, a lot of anxiety,” said Celine Cooper, a political analyst and former Montreal Gazette columnist who is currently director-general of the Consortium of English-language CEGEPs, Colleges and Universities of Quebec.
“There is real concern and anxiety and worry about where this is all going,” said Cooper, who has two children, of whom one is nearing CEGEP age.
“This is the first time, really, where we are in deep reflection around what these changes in Bill 96 could mean for our family, for our kids’ sense of belonging to Quebec,” she said.
The last time language tensions reached this pitch, she noted, was nearly a decade ago, when former premier Pauline Marois introduced but later withdrew Bill 14, a previous update of Bill 101.
L’insolence d’être un Anglo
Yves Boisvert
Le français au Québec sera toujours menacé par l’anglais. C’est mathématique, géographique, économique, médiatique, démographique.
Mais selon les auteurs du projet de loi 96, on dirait qu’il est menacé par « les Anglais », personnellement.
Comme si, par un jeu de vases communicants, chaque fois qu’on limite un droit des anglophones, n’importe lequel, on améliore la protection du français.

‘Anxiety and frustration’: Demonstrators protest Quebec language law
(Global) Bill 96, which is expected to pass this month, would impose tougher language requirements on workplaces and municipalities.
Several thousand marchers drove home the bilingual element of Quebec society Saturday morning, shouting chants of “Mon CEGEP, mon choix,” and touting signs reading, “I’m not a second class citizen.”
Marlene Jennings, a former Liberal MP in Montreal, said Bill 96 “breaks the social contract” with Quebecers, while Robert Leckey, dean of McGill University’s Faculty of Law, said it will “ride roughshod” over constitutional constraints.
It also seeks to limit the use of English in the courts and public services, grant powers of search and seizure without a warrant to Quebec’s language regulator and cap enrolment at English junior colleges, called CEGEPs, where students would have to take more courses in French.
Bill 96 also pre-emptively invokes the notwithstanding clause, setting aside fundamental equality rights enshrined in both the Canadian and Quebec charters of rights and freedoms.
Demonstrators flowed mostly along Sainte-Catherine Street, where many retail outlets concerned about the impact of stricter workplace language rules are located.
The changes would subject companies with 25 employees or more to “francization” — government certification that use of French is generalized in the workplace — down from 50 currently.
Meanwhile the cost of the bill for a roughly 50-employee company would range between $9.5 million and $23.5 million, according to estimates from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. Expenses range from fees for translation and legal services to administrative burdens, such as creating a workplace assessment to ensure French permeates all corners of the company.
Thousands of Montrealers march in opposition to Bill 96
Many protesters said while they are in favour of protecting the French language and culture in Quebec, Bill 96 would have disastrous consequences in education, language and health-care sectors.
Large protest held in downtown Montreal against Quebec’s controversial French-language bill
English speakers say law will hurt them, restrict access to services in their language
(CBC) Organized by groups that represent the province’s English-speaking community, the protest sought to send a strong message to the majority government that the legislation as it stands is unacceptable.

13 May
Breaking down the key points of Bill 96
The law updates the Charter of the French language, Bill 101, which was adopted in 1977.
The notwithstanding clause
Among the most contentious points of the bill is that it sets aside basic rights of equality guaranteed in the charters of rights and freedoms of both Canada and Quebec, which means that those who feel their rights are infringed will not be able to use the overridden articles of the charter to challenge it.

Health-care and English-language rights advocates stress danger of Bill 96
Eric Maldoff, chair of the organization Quality Care and Social Services:
“Very simply, if there is not effective communication there is a much higher risk of injury and even death of patients and clients”

(Global) Doctors and other health-care advocates in Quebec say they are worried about the implications for health and social services under Bill 96.
They say not only will it put care for some people at risk, they fear the bill will create divisions and cause the quality of health care to decline.
“Whether it’s services provided by doctors and nurses or social workers, which are the main professionals which see large volumes of people,” explained Dr. Juan Carlos Chirgwin, a family physician at the CLSC Parc-Extension.
Eric Maldoff, chair of the organization Quality Care and Social Services, agrees.
“Very simply, if there is not effective communication there is a much higher risk of injury and even death of patients and clients,” he told Global News.

11 May
Beryl Wajsman: Make it a point to march on May 14
(The Suburban) Bill 96 is the gravest attack on what’s left of our constitutionally protected language rights since Pauline Marois’ Bill 14.
Bill 14 was defeated by targeted public outcries. We were proud to help lead that effort. Aside from representations in the National Assembly and meetings with Ministers, a high point in the opposition was a rally of thousands on a frigid February day outside Premier Marois’ Montreal office on McGill College Ave. That same type of rally is being organized by a variety of rights groups, health care workers, teachers and even demerged municipalities.
The May 14th March will start at 11 at Dawson College and proceed along Sherbrooke to Premier Legault’s Montreal office at that same address on McGill College where we rallied against Bill 14.
Vous avez six mois
La Presse columnist Rima Elkouri points out the unfairness of immigrants having only six months to learn French before becoming ineligible for public services in any other language. “Do you really think that after six months, even with all the good will in the world, you will master the language perfectly?” Elkouri asks her readers.
Aussi inquiétant soit-il, ce volet du projet de loi 96, qui pourrait mettre en péril l’accessibilité et la qualité des services offerts aux nouveaux arrivants, a suscité très peu d’attention médiatique. Peut-être parce que ceux qui risquent le plus d’en souffrir comptent parmi les plus vulnérables de la société. Le plus souvent sans voix, occupés à tenter de reconstruire leur vie, ils ne courent pas les manifestations.

8-9 May
Hanes: Last chance to speak out against Bill 96
The era of relative peace between the Two Solitudes came to an abrupt halt with Bill 96. But as English-speaking Quebecers rally to speak out against the law before its imminent adoption, this is about much more than the rights of one community.
Many feel we’ve been doing our part to help Quebec thrive as the last French-speaking redoubt in North America. Even if we have our own parallel identity — or identities given this diverse society we live in — we’re still proud Quebecers.
But the era of relative peace between the Two Solitudes has come to an abrupt halt with Bill 96, the Coalition Avenir Québec government’s legislation to reinforce French. …
All Quebecers of any linguistic background should be deeply concerned, francophones included. But it’s the Quebec Community Groups Network, the umbrella group that represents anglophone interests, that has been leading the charge. The QCGN is calling on English-speaking Quebecers — heck, all Quebecers — to turn up at a rally this Saturday in defiance of Premier François Legault’s brush-off that there hasn’t been any serious opposition to Bill 96.
(QCGN says May 14 mobilization will include anglo and franco Quebecers
English-speaking groups say opposition to Bill 96 extends beyond the minority community and includes groups representing businesses, patients’ rights advocates and others.)
Bill 96 will never apply in our community, Kahnawake leaders say
Traditional Mohawk government warns “this law will deteriorate any amity that exists between our two peoples and destroy any hope of reconciliation.”
New Liberal candidate in Mont-Royal—Outremont rips Legault government for Bills 21, 96
The bilingual business lawyer will replace veteran Liberal Pierre Arcand, who announced Sunday he will not seek another term.
“In my view, themes with a nationalist flavour or (focused) on identity, which divide us, should not occupy such a large space in the public debate,” Michelle Setlakwe said. … Questioned further, Setlakwe reached into her past. Noting she attended an English elementary school before switching to French for high school and CEGEP, Setlakwe said she does not think being bilingual imperils French, which she agreed, nevertheless, needs protection.
Businesses fear impact of Quebec language law, as some consider leaving province
(Globe & Mail) As Quebec’s contentious language law heads closer to adoption, the province’s business community is growing increasingly anxious about what it could mean for their bottom line, with some companies considering leaving entirely.
Known as Bill 96, the legislation would impose tougher language requirements on small businesses and companies in federally regulated industries, such as banking and telecommunications, as well as governments and schools. The bill is expected to pass before the legislature breaks for the summer.
On top of strengthening 1977′s Charter of the French Language – the province’s signature language law usually known as Bill 101 – the legislation would apply to tens of thousands of previously exempt businesses.
If it passes, companies with 25 employees or more would be subject to “francization” – government certification that use of French is generalized in the workplace – down from 50 currently. The bill also assigns new powers to the French-language watchdog and sets tighter language rules for professional orders.
The cost for a roughly 50-employee company would range between $9.5-million and $23.5-million, according to estimates from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. Expenses range from fees for translation and legal services to administrative burdens, such as creating a workplace assessment to ensure French permeates all corners of the company.
‘Making monsters of each other’: Businesses fear impact of Quebec language law
Bill 96 would impose tougher language requirements on small businesses
Business groups ranging from the Quebec Retail Council to the Quebec Manufacturers and Exporters and the Council of Canadian Innovators are asking the government to soften its rules — particularly around francization — to offer supports to businesses that undergo it and to extend compliance deadlines.

9 May
1 in 4 women in Quebec’s National Assembly aren’t seeking re-election. What happened?
For women leaving Quebec politics, is quitting an act of self-preservation?
The 2018 provincial election…was one which a record number of Quebec women made their way to the National Assembly. They represented 52 of the province’s 125 seats. Since then, thanks to byelections, there are three more women occupying those seats, for a total of 55, about 44 per cent.
But already, 16 of them have announced they will not be running again in this year’s provincial elections. Five of the women leaving hold seats for the governing party, Coalition Avenir Québec, seven for the Official Opposition Quebec Liberal Party, two for the Parti Québécois, one for Québec Solidaire and one for the Conservative Party of Quebec.
Just Friday, Paule Robitaille, the Liberal MNA for Bourassa-Sauvé in Montreal, said she would be leaving, too, after just one term.

5 May
Bill 96 will harm Indigenous people in Québec. We need more equitable language laws
By Richard Budgell, Assistant Professor, Family Medicine; Ph.D. student, History and Classical Studies, McGill University
(The Conversation) Bill 96 will create greater impediments to accessible health care for Inuit and First Nations people. The bill will worsen health and health care, instead of improving it.
Ninety-eight per cent of Nunavik Inuit speak Inuktitut as their first language. This should be celebrated, not hindered during the Decade of Indigenous Languages, which Canada supports. Bill 96 will create greater impediments to accessible health care for Inuit and First Nations people. The bill will worsen health and health care, instead of improving it.
Bill 96 will also create new challenges in education for Inuit and First Nations people who use English.
Indigenous students will now have to complete an additional three French-language courses to receive a CÉGEP diploma….

29 April
CAQ compromises on French-language CEGEP courses for anglophones
Simon Jolin-Barrette says he heard the concerns of the English-speaking community and decided the Liberal Party’s amendment makes sense.
Anglophone students attending English CEGEPs will have the option of taking three of their courses in French or increasing the number of obligatory second-language French courses needed to graduate, the minister responsible for the French language announced Tuesday evening.
The final vote on Bill 96, which overhauls the Charter of the French Language, will take place later in the session that wraps up June 10. The Liberals have already announced plans to vote against the final version of the bill, but the government has sufficient MNAs to ensure it becomes law.
The three courses in French, however, will remain obligatory for allophones and francophones attending English CEGEPs. Anglophones will have the option. The new rules will apply to all categories of students starting in the 2024 academic year.
Not mentioned by anyone in the Coalition Avenir Québec government Tuesday was a looming protest rally against Bill 96 being organized for May 14.
Coincidentally, on Wednesday Legault will face a legislative committee for his once-a-year appearance to defend and explain government policy toward English-speaking Quebecers.
Opinion: Protect French with training opportunities, not coercion
Bill 96’s enforcement measures on French in the workplace should be delayed, and more support provided for English-speakers seeking to improve their French

26 April
New federalist Quebec party to focus on bilingualism, minority rights
The Canadian Party of Quebec aims to attract voters ‘betrayed’ by CAQ, Liberals
The group behind the Canadian Party of Quebec, led by spokesperson Colin Standish, made the announcement in a news release late Monday, stating it wants to offer a voice to Quebec voters who “feel betrayed and abandoned by the CAQ and the Quebec Liberal Party.”
“We need a progressive federalist option that is resolute in its defence of human rights and freedoms, of language rights and also constructing a narrative that can unite all Quebecers — English, French speaker, newcomer and Indigenous, in common cause,” Standish said in an interview Tuesday.
The party will officially launch in the next month, he said.

22-24 April
With sovereignty off the table, Quebec Liberals struggling to connect with voters
Among francophone voters, a recent poll indicated the Liberals were tied for fourth at 11 per cent.
Robert Libman: The pushback against Bill 96 was overdue
Recent events seem to have lit a fire in the community. As final adoption nears, the minority finally seems ready to stand up.
Since Bill 96’s introduction by the Legault government, and until very recently, the Liberal Opposition’s focus was not on opposing the bill, but on trying to amend it. Their explanation to anglophones was that their legislative responsibility was to clarify and “improve” the bill through their work in committee. We know how that turned out. Virtually none of their amendments were approved, except of course for the now infamous proposal requiring “all” students in English CEGEPs pass three core courses in French. The other parties delightedly accepted the amendment, which the Liberals had made without any consultation or apparent consideration of consequences. The anglophone community reacted with great concern, but could only watch from the sidelines as a group of politicians sat around a table playing roulette with the future of the community and its institutions.
Bill 96 “will not deliver on its promises but threatens to deliver on its shortcomings,” Quebec Liberal Leader Dominique Anglade writes.
Dominique Anglade: Why Quebec Liberals will vote against Bill 96
We will always stand up for the rights of every Quebecer, as we did by voting against Bill 40 and against Bill 21.
In Quebec, we live in a democracy where we share both the privilege and responsibility of living in the largest French-speaking society in North America. We all want to see the French language thrive throughout our province and beyond our borders. We have always been committed to protecting and promoting our common language, while respecting the rights of the English-speaking community. The presence of this English-speaking community, rooted in and attached to Quebec, is an integral part of our strength and diversity, and this recognition is key to Quebecers living together harmoniously. We, the Quebec Liberal Party, insist that this diversity is a strength and never a weakness.

14 April
Liberals’ compromise on French CEGEP courses goes down in flames
The vote crushes the Liberals’ attempt to patch up a mistake they now admit they made two months ago.
CAQ MNAs on the committee examining Bill 96 voted against the plan, which pitched an increase in second-language French courses instead of making core courses in French mandatory for anglophones.
The Parti Québécois and Québec solidaire MNAs on the committee abstained, with QS language critic Ruba Ghazal calling on Jolin-Barrette before the vote to say whether he was for or against the Liberal plan.
Jolin-Barrette refused, even though members of his own staff helped the Liberals draft the compromise amendment.
Liberals’ new pitch is on ‘opportunity, not the obligation’ to study in French
Stung by criticism from all sides, Quebec’s Liberals Wednesday tried to patch up their gaffe that could require all students in anglophone CEGEPs to take three core courses in French.
The party tabled a new Bill 96 amendment that would drop the requirement for anglophones to take three core CEGEP courses in French, replacing it with more second-language French courses.

9 April
André Pratte: In Quebec, Anglo anger boils, as even the Liberals take a nationalist turn
Retired Senator and former journalist Joan Fraser has for decades been one of the most insightful observers of Quebec politics. So, when Fraser says that Quebec’s English-speaking population is angry like never before, one must take the situation seriously. “We feel abandoned,” she told me this week. “For 50 years, we have been told that we have to adapt to the changes in Quebec society. But we get the feeling that it’s never enough, that each time we adapt, the goal posts are moved.” This perception is correct.
Quebec Anglos have several reasons to be angry: the attempt by the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) government to abolish English school boards; bill 21 banning the wearing of religious signs; bill 96 which, amongst other things, freezes the growth of English colleges; and the withdrawal of a promised subsidy for a new Dawson College pavilion. Directly or indirectly, each one of those measures is an attack against their fundamental rights. Yet, Anglo representatives were not consulted and since then, have been screaming in the desert. No one is listening. In fact, no one seems to care.
Even the provincial Liberal Party, once the stalwart defender of minority rights in Quebec, appears indifferent. When bill 96 was tabled in May 2021, the Liberals expressed a “constructive, positive attitude” even though the bill included the wide-ranging use of the notwithstanding clause, meaning that Quebecers intent on challenging the law could not do so based on the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms or Quebec’s Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms.

7 April
Andrew Caddell: Why a new Quebec anglo-rights party is being contemplated
In the spring of 2021, a group of concerned anglophones and allophones founded the Task Force on Linguistic Policy. Now, an offshoot, the Exploratory Committee on Political Options, is planning a new political party that will be moderate, federalist and defend the rights of anglophones. It is a substantive project, undertaken by serious citizens from various backgrounds.
In the wake of the fiasco at the Bill 96 committee hearings, the Quebec Liberal Party’s credibility is waning every day. The party is begging the government to rescind the amendment requiring students in English CEGEPs to take three regular courses in French. And its foibles are creating an opportunity for a new party to represent non-francophones.
The Liberals are now desperate to save the furniture, but they appear to lack both conviction and bench strength. Each day, the news is filled with Liberal MNAs who will not run again. And while Liberal Leader Dominique Anglade is brilliant, it appears that she is being advised by people who don’t seem to have a clue.
Prominent anglos unite to fight changes to language laws
The group says it decided to proceed with a task force because members feel they have been abandoned by the major political parties in Quebec’s legislature and federal parliament. (21 June 2021)

6 April
Quebec tables bill on academic freedom, says no words off limits in classrooms
A new bill tabled Wednesday in Quebec would allow “any word” to be uttered in university classrooms as long as it’s used in an academic context, the province’s higher education minister said.
Bill 32 is great news for Quebec students, including racialized students, because it preserves a high-quality learning environment in the province’s universities, Danielle McCann told reporters.
“Classrooms are not safe spaces; they are spaces for debate,” McCann said, rejecting a common notion championed on university campuses across North America that students should not have to be exposed to certain kinds of hateful speech.
Jonathan Desroches, interim president of the Quebec Student Union, which represents 91,000 university students across the province, says the bill is not necessary and reflects a deeper problem: a generational gap between students and teachers.
“There must be training for not only staff, but also the student community to ensure that everyone understands the elements of diversity, equity and inclusion,” Desroches said.
“A law will not ensure that discussions will take place in a respectful manner.”

4 April
Liberals offer mea culpa, ask CAQ to take back amendment requiring CEGEP French courses
CEGEP administrators vehemently opposed to the amendment, which could result in thousands of students failing courses or getting low marks.
After hearing from angry parents, worried students and disgruntled English CEGEP administrators, the Quebec Liberal Party acknowledged it had made a serious mistake by proposing that anglophone students take three courses in French in order to graduate from CEGEP.
The stunning own goal has forced the Liberals to go cap in hand to Premier François Legault’s government and request that the controversial amendment be withdrawn from Bill 96, the proposed legislation that will overhaul Quebec’s language law.
[Liberal House leader André] Fortin offered a mea culpa to the English-speaking community, acknowledging that “the amendments proposed would have a disproportionate and significant impact on the success of about 25 per cent of English-speaking students or their R-Scores,” a measure universities use to rank CEGEP students.

29 March
Press Release: EPCA Rejects Three Academic French Course Proposal for Anglophone CÉGEPS
The English Parents’ Committee Association for Québec (EPCA) today called upon members of the National Assembly Committee reviewing Bill 96 to withdraw the amendment, requiring English-speaking CEGEP students to pass three academic courses taught in the French language in order to graduate.
Tom Mulcair: Cracks starting to show in François Legault’s armour
The premier’s reflex to complain bitterly about encroachment on provincial jurisdiction has come back to haunt him in recent days.
When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau makes a deal with NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh about an area of health care like dental insurance for kids, Legault heads straight for the barricades to defend his turf.
Of course health care is provincial jurisdiction but so is child care. That hasn’t stopped Trudeau from making a deal with every province, most recently with Ontario, to bring in something the NDP promised as a main plank in the 2015 election campaign.

28 March
Hanes: Tightening the screws on anglos, one clause at a time
If the original version of the bill to strengthen the French language wasn’t pitiless enough — conferring unfettered search and seizure powers to the Office québécois de langue française, turning English speakers and other minorities into second-class citizens and pre-empting court challenges by using the constitutional override — amendment after amendment is making it even more punitive.
It’s incredible, really, how a law Premier François Legault insisted was “nothing against anglophones” has instead been crafted almost entirely at the expense of the community, be it a person seeking medical care who doesn’t have an eligibility certificate to attend English school, a small business owner or a student striving to reach their full potential.

With every amendment to Bill 96, the law to bolster the French language, the fallout on English-speaking Quebecers gets worse.
Anglophone CEGEP students will now have to take three non-language courses in French to get their diplomas, a formidable challenge that many fear could undermine their marks or prevent some from even graduating.
The enrolment at English CEGEPs will be permanently frozen, ruling out future growth — and perhaps forcing them to exclude anglophone students, never mind cap registrations for the francophone and allophone students the Quebec government is trying to deter from going there.
Private colleges will now be included in the quota and French proficiency obligations along with public ones.
Small businesses of between 25 and 49 employees will be subject to workplace language rules. So will federally regulated enterprises like banks or Air Canada.

22 March
Highlights of the Quebec 2022-23 budget
Quebec continues to be in the red in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Overall increase of $22 billion in spending over five years, including $9 billion (11 per cent) in 2022-23, excluding COVID-19 measures
6.3 per cent increase in health care and social services
5.4 per cent increase in education
13 per cent increase in higher education
1.3 per cent increase in other portfolios
4.8 per cent increase in debt service payments

16 March
Québec s’attaque aux cégeps anglophones privés non subventionnés
(La Presse) Le gouvernement Legault donne un nouveau tour de vis à sa réforme de la loi 101. Dans une série d’amendements déposés mercredi, il prévoit de nouveaux mécanismes pour que les cégeps privés non subventionnés ne deviennent pas une voie de contournement au réseau collégial public anglophone, où l’effectif étudiant est gelé dans le projet de loi à 30 834 places.

15 March
Quebec won’t allow Ukrainian refugee children to attend English schools
“There’s no question” of making an exception to language laws on humanitarian grounds, the Education Ministry says.
Ukrainian refugee children who come to Quebec will not be permitted to attend English public schools, the Legault government said Tuesday in response to a request from the Quebec English School Boards Association (QESBA).
QESBA’s request came after Quebec announced a series of measures aimed at helping the province receive more Ukrainians displaced by the Russian invasion.
Quebec, Montreal preparing to welcome Ukrainian refugees – “Montreal will inevitably be called upon to welcome refugees,” said Ensemble Montréal leader Aref Salem, stressing the need to prepare. (4 March)

5 March
Robert Libman: This is a time for collaboration in Quebec, not bickering
With the election looming, it seems likely that preoccupation with optics and partisan one-upmanship will ramp up at this most critical time.
We are entering a critical period when we need our government, collaboratively with all parties, to lead us toward a meaningful recovery as we finally seem to be emerging from the shadow of a pandemic that has paralyzed us for two years. The lessons we learned during COVID about the fragility of our health-care system and long-term-care CHSLD network should be a primary focus. The government should already be working on initiatives to address these major concerns. Quebecers are also struggling with fundamental economic challenges, including an inflation rate at its highest point in 30 years, soaring costs of goods, supply chain disruptions, labour shortages and the housing market.
Unfortunately though, it seems inevitable that most actions of the government and the opposition parties will be shaped by the Quebec election in October. We’ve already seen too often how Premier François Legault governs by polls and political optics. Having been one of the most ardent government leaders regarding COVID restrictions, Legault lately has been stripping away COVID measures faster than a Chippendale dancer. COVID numbers are trending in the right direction, but his hasty reversal on mask mandates, vaccination passports and other restrictions seems more likely related to polls showing COVID fatigue or the rise of Quebec Conservative Leader Éric Duhaime than other considerations.
Tom Mulcair: Anglade’s task now is to rally progressive voters
Anglade could have a real chance of defeating Legault, by rallying all of the progressive voters against his right-wing CAQ and the alt-right Conservatives. With political life returning to normal, she has eight months to pull it off.
She will be counting on her traditional base of support in the Greater Montreal area. Last week, she was given a chance to shine. When the dynamic duo of David and David (Hélène and Birnbaum) somehow decided to continue the demolition derby against the English CEGEP system, supporting an amendment to require three regular courses be taken in French, Anglade moved in quickly and decisively in support of English CEGEPs, in the process excoriating that plan.
Some opined that with that move, she’d abandoned any hope of appealing to nationalists. Nothing could have been further from the truth. She was displaying her core values, as she did when Marlene Jennings, in a tweet, oddly linked the criminal invasion of Ukraine and Quebec language legislation. Anglade showed strong reflexes in immediately dismissing that as nonsense.
It has been a double whammy for the English-speaking community, as Birnbaum is supposed to be its voice in the Liberal caucus and Jennings should be acting in the community’s best interests as head of the QCGN. Both completely dropped the ball, with Birnbaum unable to explain and Jennings embarrassing the organization she’s supposed to lead.
Legault won his majority with 37 per cent of the vote. That’s close to where he’s polling now, but there’s a new kid in town: Éric Duhaime, head of the newly invigorated Quebec Conservative Party. His numbers in the Quebec City region are giving the CAQ fits.
The Liberals are well ahead of the PQ, QS and the Conservatives.

26 February
International students in Quebec face uncertain future as colleges shut down
Collège de comptabilité et de secrétariat du Québec (CCSQ), is one of three private Quebec colleges that have shut down and sought creditor protection, citing financial strains caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
… 1,700 international students left living in limbo in Canada after the CCSQ, along with M College in Montreal and CDE College in Sherbrooke, were granted creditor protection under the Companies’ Creditor Arrangements Act (CCAA) in early January. Permits for international students stipulate they cannot stay in Canada for more than 150 days without attending class. Their ability to work is also on pause: On a student permit, pupils can work up to 20 hours a week when school is in session. But with the colleges shutting down mid-session, students will not be allowed to work legally.
The request for creditor protection comes after provincial officials announced an investigation just more than a year ago into questionable recruitment practices at several private colleges, including M College and CDE College.

25 February
Freeze on English CEGEP enrolment sparks squabbling at Bill 96 committee
Liberal Leader Dominique Anglade announced her party could not support the bill because it goes too far, while Parti Québécois committee member Pascal Bérubé said he cannot back the bill because it does not go far enough.

24 February
Anglade vows to restore funding to Dawson College expansion cancelled by CAQ government
(CTV) The leader of the Quebec Liberal Party toured Dawson College Thursday promising, if elected, she would restore funding for the school’s expansion plan.
Dominique Anglade is accusing the Legault government of trying to impose Bill 101 on CEGEPs. … She also spoke of a new threat to English CEGEPs — stricter language laws.
The government wants to require students in English CEGEPs to take three core classes in French.
It also plans to freeze spaces available in English CEGEPs while increasing spaces available for French CEGEPs, essentially making it harder for francophone students to get into the English schools.

23 February
A flurry of amendments accepted and rejected as Quebec language bill takes shape
(CTV) A flurry of changes to Quebec’s proposed new language law were either accepted or rejected Wednesday, helping show what the final law could look like as it slowly takes shape.
All of the proposals called for French-strengthening measures, but the CAQ government liked some and threw out others.
Liberal MNA David Birnbaum said that one of the accepted amendments to Bill 96 would compel students at English-language CEGEPs to take three of their courses in French.
Another amendment that was accepted late Wednesday has been much more contentious: it would cap enrollment in English CEGEPs at the current level, even if there is an increase in demand every year for those CEGEPs.
On Wednesday, [PQ MNA Pascal] Bérubé moved an amendment in committee to make it mandatory for students from the French-speaking school network to attend French-speaking CEGEPs.
However, the proposal was rejected by the government and opposition parties. The Liberals and Québec Solidaire joined the CAQ to vote against the amendment to the government’s current language bill, Bill 96, which is under review.
The Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) has many issues with Bill 96, but Wednesday’s vote, it said, is a win for the English community and also for francophones.
“I have yet to meet a single francophone who, after studying in an English language institution, loses the ability to speak French and their identity as Quebecers,” said Matt Aronson, secretary of the executive committee of the QCGN, in an interview.

10 February
Dawson College board demands to meet Premier Legault after $100M expansion plan suspended
Dawson College has been bursting at the seams for years, and French-language CEGEPs support its fight to get its expansion project back on track.
The largest CEGEP in Quebec, English-language Dawson College, is accusing the CAQ government of discrimination on the basis of language after the government’s decision last week to suspend a long-planned, $100-million campus expansion project.
The college’s board of governors is demanding a face-to-face meeting with Premier François Legault, who said last week that with limited capacity to build new infrastructure, he wants to prioritize investment in French-language CEGEPs.

6 February
Abandon du projet Dawson
Une décision malavisée et à déplorer
Richard Filion Ex-directeur général, collège Dawson
(La Presse) Nous y voici. À la suite de l’intense croisade médiatique et politique à l’endroit du projet immobilier de l’agrandissement du collège Dawson, le gouvernement fait volte-face et cède sous la pression : le projet autrefois priorisé est mis au rancart. Alors que le besoin est largement documenté et établi selon les normes ministérielles en matière d’allocation d’espaces pour les cégeps du Québec, il appert qu’il y aura dorénavant deux catégories de collèges publics : ceux pour qui les normes s’appliquent, et ceux pour qui ces normes sont vaines. Autrement dit, les cégeps ayant le malheur de dispenser de l’enseignement en anglais seront traités différemment des autres, et de facto deviendront des établissements de second ordre. Une décision malavisée à maints égards.

4-6 February
Thousands take part in trucker convoy protest in Quebec City
By The Canadian Press and Alessia Simona Maratta Global News
Several thousand demonstrators taking part in the trucker convoy gathered outside Quebec’s National Assembly in protest of COVID-19 vaccine mandates and other public-health measures on Saturday as similar demonstrations took place across the country.
Dozens of trucks parked outside the legislature with some touting signs depicting Premier François Legault as North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, while others offered “free hugs from the unvaccinated.”
On Friday Legault said he was confident the trucker protest planned in Quebec City for the weekend wouldn’t be a repeat of what has unfolded in Ottawa.
Legault said demonstrators would not be permitted to park their cars or trucks around the legislature, causing traffic chaos, adding there would be zero tolerance for impeding citizens from moving about freely as the Quebec City Winter Carnival kicked off on Friday.
Amid heavy police presence, Quebec City protest doesn’t disturb Carnaval vibe
As the Carnival de Québec kicked off, roughly 100 protesters grouped near parliament Friday evening to call for an end to COVID restrictions
Quebec’s well-planned efforts and warnings of severe repercussions to ensure the trucker convoy protest didn’t jam the city and spoil the party appeared to be working. Honking protesters driving in circles were relegated to the outskirts of festivities by a heavy police presence and strategically placed municipal trucks blocking entrance to the core.

3 February
CAQ’s Dawson decision was ‘electoral and populist’: former college head
Richard Filion fears McGill’s planned expansion on the site of the former Royal Victoria Hospital could now be “in danger.”

2 February
Marlene Jennings: CAQ’s message to English-speaking Quebecers seems loud and clear
The message that English-speaking Quebecers are receiving from recent moves by the Quebec government is that we are not welcome here.
Speaking in English in hushed tones, a nurse at a regional hospital tells her patient that providing care in that language is frowned upon. In fact, she explains, English-speaking health-care workers have been reprimanded for speaking English among themselves.
… An accountant who attended a Revenu Québec professional development program with some 300 colleagues reports that as the session wrapped up, the government representative announced that this would be the last time she would be allowed to provide instruction in English. Why? Because Bill 96 would restrict government communications in English.
Less than two months ago, the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) government gutted the provincial committee responsible for advising the government on the delivery of health and social services to English-speaking Quebecers. It now seeks to replace the ousted members, presumably with others who may be more compliant. This has left in limbo regional access programs that list which services are available in English in any given region.
Without consulting our community, the CAQ cabinet last week appointed a new assistant deputy minister responsible for the English-language educational network as well as intercultural and Indigenous relations, the most senior bureaucrat responsible for services to English-speaking Quebecers. The candidate selected is a career civil servant with no evident knowledge of or experience in our English-language education network.
These warning signs were simply the prelude as the National Assembly’s Committee on Culture and Education reconvened this week for its clause-by-clause study of Bill 96. In the name of protecting French, this legislation would make it more difficult to do business in Quebec and to attract talent to our province. It would also allow the Office québécois de la langue française to conduct warrantless searches based on anonymous tips and would drastically reduce access to health care, justice and government services in English. This bill pre-emptively sets aside protections in both the Canadian and Quebec charters, representing the most sweeping override of human rights and freedoms in modern Quebec and Canadian history.

31 January
Dawson College expansion abruptly axed to ‘prioritize francophone students’
In a letter to members of the Dawson community, the CEGEP’s director said the news was delivered during a “hastily called meeting” on Friday.
Marlene Jennings, president of the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN), called it “simply appalling” and “yet another example of the Legault government’s persistent and relentless attack on the vitality of Quebec’s English-speaking community.”
QCGN secretary Matt Aronson, a Dawson alumnus and former president of the student union, said, “If this is not a clear enunciation that the CAQ government considers us to be a second-class community, I don’t know what is.”
David Birnbaum  : Quebec Liberals defend access to English health care, and more
Doing right by Quebec’s English-speaking community is not only possible, but desirable for all Quebecers.
Robert Libman and I have been friends, colleagues and occasional adversaries for more than 30 years. We’ve each observed, participated in and, I trust, contributed meaningfully to addressing the numerous peaks and valleys of Quebec language politics over that time. We’ve had disagreements on language in the past. After reading Libman’s recent column, (“ Fate of Bill 96 looms large as MNAs return ,” Montreal Gazette, Jan. 29) I see that we now have another one.
… Detailed debate on Bill 96 resumes in the National Assembly this week. Hélène David, our language critic and a former minister responsible for the file, will continue to lead our team. I and Gaétan Barrette are the other members, and together, we are seeking major changes to the Coalition Avenir Québec government’s proposed new language law.

29 January
Marchand, en courant
Le nouveau maire de Québec porte bien mal son nom. Il s’appelle Bruno Marchand et, pourtant, il ne fait que courir depuis son élection. Le Devoir a mené une entrevue au pas de course avec cet élu hyperactif, qui impose déjà sa cadence à Québec.
Avant d’accéder à la mairie, Bruno Marchand présidait Centraide….
C’était il y a trois ans, et l’idée de conquérir la mairie de Québec commençait à germer dans son esprit. Pari réussi : habitué de partir de loin, voire de presque rien, Bruno Marchand, qui était surveillant d’élèves au collège Saint-Charles-Garnier il y a 30 ans, veille aujourd’hui sur la destinée de la capitale, après avoir converti 1 % d’appui en victoire.

28 January
Anglos deplore CAQ’s naming of education deputy without consultations
The Quebec English School Boards Association said it has serious concerns regarding the qualifications of Marie-Josée Blais. (Ministère de l’Éducation: Mme Marie-Josée Blais est nommée, à compter du 31 janvier 2022, sous-ministre adjointe au ministère de l’Éducation. Mme Blais est administratrice d’État.
The Quebec cabinet’s decision this week to name the assistant deputy minister for the anglophone education network without talking to anybody in that network shows a “blatant disregard for the English education community,” the Quebec English School Boards Association (QESBA) said Friday.
Marie-Josée Blais is to assume the job on Monday, replacing Steven Colpitts, who retired in July. Her full title is assistant deputy minister for the anglophone education network and intercultural and Indigenous relations.
In a statement, QESBA said it “deplores” how the appointment was handled and said it has serious concerns regarding the professional qualifications of Blais, who has never worked in the primary, secondary, adult technical or vocational system.

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