Quebec January 2022-

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Projet de loi 96 sur la langue française
338Canada Quebec

Bill 21: Quebec religious minorities feel less safe, less hopeful — survey
“The waning of hope for the next generation is especially striking in all three communities.”
(Canadian Press/Gazette) Muslim women reported some of the greatest impacts, with over 70 per cent of respondents saying they felt less safe.
The results published Wednesday by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies reveal that Quebecers who identify as Jewish, Muslim or Sikh report “broad-ranging, disruptive and profound negative impacts” stemming from the 2019 law, which bans public sector workers deemed to be in positions of authority from wearing religious symbols on the job.
4 August
New research shows Bill 21 having ‘devastating’ impact on religious minorities in Quebec
(CBC) “Religious minority communities are encountering — at levels that are disturbing — a reflection of disdain, hate, mistrust and aggression,” Miriam Taylor, lead researcher and the director of publications and partnerships at the Association for Canadian Studies, told CBC in an interview.
Taylor believes Bill 21 alone isn’t responsible for the feelings of alienation and insecurity Quebec Muslims and other religious minorities feel.
She said prejudicial attitudes have been gestating in Quebec for nearly 20 years, when the debate over so-called “reasonable accommodations” for religious minorities first took hold.
“By their own admission, Quebecers in general have very little contact with members of religious minorities,” Taylor said. “All of these negative opinions are based on lack of knowledge.”
Taylor said Bill 21 has enabled those prejudices — rooted in ignorance — to become the norm.

26 July

André Pratte: Quebec’s radical rejection of Catholicism behind support for Bill 21
For the vast majority of French-speaking Quebecers, religion is something that was imposed on them
Quebec’s quick and radical push away from the Church is probably a unique phenomenon in the Catholic world. As late as the end of the 1950’s, Quebec was deservedly known as a “priest ridden society.” Wealthy and powerful, the Church controlled the province’s schools and hospitals. It also controlled people’s lives, including demanding that women stay at home and give birth to as many children as possible.
All this changed in the following 20 years. The Quiet Revolution may have been quiet, but a revolution it was nonetheless. The provincial government took over the education and the healthcare systems. And Quebecers abruptly rejected all of the priests’ teachings, especially regarding sexual morals.
In the space of a couple of decades, Quebec became the region on the continent where religious practice was the weakest and where the largest proportion of couples lived out of wedlock. … The Catholic church lost all influence, to the point where in the early days of the pandemic, the province’s bishops could not even get the premier’s office to return their calls.
This rapid and revolutionary shift, with huge effects from high in the political sphere down to Quebecers’ intimate lives, is in large part behind the province’s support for Bill 21.
… In our radically secular Quebec, nothing has replaced Midnight Mass nor any other of the catholic ceremonies and practices. Some do feel and bemoan the spiritual emptiness. But they will certainly not let religion — any religion! — even attempt to fill it. (December 25, 2021)

26 July
A look at international tuition fee exemptions in Quebec
Through various inter-governmental agreements and initiatives, the province of Quebec allows several groups of international students to benefit from an exemption from international tuition fees.

20 July
Accès à un médecin de famille Québec en voie de rater sa cible
Pas moins de 1 088 945 demandes étaient en attente au Guichet d’accès à un médecin de famille (GAMF) en date du 30 juin, un record depuis l’élection de la Coalition avenir Québec en 2018.
Le gouvernement Legault est en voie de rater son objectif de donner accès à un médecin de famille à 250 000 Québécois d’ici le 31 juillet prochain, au moment où la liste d’attente ne cesse de gonfler.

19 July
Quebec Invites 351 Canada Immigration Candidates In New Expression of Interest Draw
How Does Quebec Expression of Interest Work?
Candidates submit an online expression of interest profile via Arrima.
Profiles enter into an Expression of Interest pool, where they are ranked against each other using a points system and are valid for 12-months.
The highest-ranking candidates are invited to apply for a Quebec Certificate of Selection under the Quebec Skilled Worker Program via periodic draws.
Candidates receiving an invitation have 60 days to submit a full application.
Approved candidates who receive a nomination certificate (CSQ) may then apply to the federal government for Canadian permanent residence.

11 July
338Canada: Quebec Premier François Legault is en route to historic victory — with an assist from adversaries
While Parti Québécois and Liberals fight old battles the ruling Coalition Avenir Québec is cruising to another majority.

6 July
Quebec’s provincial Conservative Party surges as ‘protest vote’ against province’s heavy-handed government
(National Post) Eric Duhaime’s party’s staunchly populist messaging about personal freedoms after two years of COVID seems to be resonating now more than ever
… With most of Quebec’s COVID-19 restrictions now gone, Quebec Conservative Party leader Duhaime says he knew he needed to broaden his freedom message to stay relevant.
… an Angus Reid poll published Tuesday put support for the Conservative Party of Quebec (CPQ) at 19 per cent, good enough for second place ahead of the Quebec Liberal Party (18 per cent), Québec Solidaire (14 per cent) and foundering Parti Québécois (10 per cent).
It’s still a far stretch behind the reigning Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ), whose support oscillates between 35 per cent (Angus Reid) and 41 per cent (Leger) in polls and is looking likely to win a crushing majority in the upcoming election.

4 July
Workers in Quebec say employers need to ‘sweeten the deal’ to get them back
(CBC) The labour shortage was a long time coming, even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, according to Diane-Gabrielle Tremblay, a professor of human resources management and labour economics. This is mainly due to an aging population.
To restore balance to the workforce, Tremblay said, four demographics should be targeted: immigrants, older workers, women and youth.
She said solutions include improving integration programs for skilled workers, better government-funded child care, letting older employees work from home with shorter hours — and higher wages and benefits for all.

1 July
Maraîchers découragés
Le Québec veut accroître son indépendance alimentaire, mais les producteurs maraîchers qui le nourrissent font face à des coûts qui augmentent, à des revenus qui stagnent et à une réglementation qui devient impossible à gérer, au point que plusieurs baissent les bras.
On pourrait croire que la rareté de la main-d’œuvre est le principal problème des maraîchers. Ce n’est pas le cas, selon la présidente de leur association. Le fardeau principal, ce sont les couches successives de réglementation qui s’appliquent à la production maraîchère et qui forcent les producteurs à passer plus de temps à remplir des formulaires qu’à s’occuper de leurs champs.
L’accès aux travailleurs étrangers, par exemple, est devenu plus compliqué parce que tous les secteurs d’activité, et pas seulement les agriculteurs, peuvent y avoir accès. La réglementation a augmenté, explique-t-elle. « Il faut maintenant réserver nos travailleurs en novembre pour la saison suivante », illustre-t-elle.
Les normes qui concernent la salubrité des aliments, personne n’est contre ça, mais elles se multiplient et grugent toujours plus de temps aux producteurs. La gestion de l’eau, des pesticides et des résidus de pesticides, le recyclage des plastiques agricoles sont autant de nouvelles préoccupations sociales qui se retrouvent sur la planche des producteurs maraîchers qui n’ont pas les ressources nécessaires pour s’en occuper efficacement.

24 June
Quebec ‘thwarted’ by multiculturalism, minister says in France speech, and premier agrees
(CTV) In a rare speech before France’s Academie Française — the body charged with protecting the French language in its home country — one of Quebec’s top ministers said that Canadian multiculturalism is a thorn in Quebec’s side.
The province’s premier later said he supports this view and that “we oppose multiculturalism.”
What people are failing to see, argued Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette in a high-profile speech in Paris, is that Quebec’s controversial recent laws, whether language law Bill 96 or securalism law Bill 21, are themselves about protecting a fragile culture.
He heaped criticism on Canadian federal law that protects individual rights, calling this emphasis on the individual “nearly absolute,” to the detriment of Quebec’s collective rights.
“Although our project is thwarted by Canadian multiculturalism, which finds an equivalent in what you call communitarianism and which combats the claims of Quebec to constitute itself as a distinct nation,” Jolin-Barrette continued, “the French language must really become the language of use of all Quebecers.”
He also explicitly linked Bill 21 with the same struggle. Arguably the current government’s most controversial bill of their four years in power, it banned certain public servants, including teachers and police, from wearing religious symbols at work.
In practice, it affected female Muslim teachers most heavily, preventing school boards from hiring or promoting any hijab-wearing teachers.

21 June
André Pratte: Under Legault, Quebec’s separatists are winning by stealth
If the government is re-elected, Quebecers won’t enjoy the same rights as the rest of Canadians
(National Post) If the provincial Justice Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette gets his way, Quebecers will soon cease to be protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Only the Quebec Charter of Human Rights will apply to provincial legislation, and a simple majority in the National Assembly will be able to punch holes even in that document. Never since the adoption of the Quebec Charter in 1975 have Quebecers’ fundamental rights been so gravely threatened.
In an interview with Le Journal de Quebec a week ago, Jolin-Barrette, asserted that in the future, Quebec legislation should not need to conform to the Canadian Charter. Wishing a “collective conversation” on this issue, Jolin-Barrette clearly stated his preference: “I believe that we should govern ourselves according to the Quebec Charter.”

17 June
Robert Libman: The CAQ’s time in office has been tumultuous, with 126 pieces of legislation adopted, several of which were controversial, such as Bills 96 and 21 on language and “secularism,” respectively. Disturbing shortcomings in many government departments were exposed by the COVID pandemic.
The CAQ government will not be able to count on the summer break for things to simmer down and issues to fade away. It is already being called upon to answer for some of its actions of the past four years, many of which could have severe and enduring consequences. Heat is not just coming from the opposition, but from many sources. Court challenges, coroners’ reports about seniors’ care and tough questions about education and health care will dog the government into the campaign and probably for years to come.

André Pratte: Under Legault, Quebec’s separatists are winning by stealth
If the government is re-elected, Quebecers won’t enjoy the same rights as the rest of Canadians
As many have noticed, for the last 50 years, despite two referendum defeats for the sovereignist side, the province of Quebec has been gradually, de facto, separating from the rest of the country. The government led by Premier François Legault is now planning the next, most significant step.
If the provincial Justice Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette gets his way, Quebecers will soon cease to be protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Only the Quebec Charter of Human Rights will apply to provincial legislation, and a simple majority in the National Assembly will be able to punch holes even in that document. Never since the adoption of the Quebec Charter in 1975 have Quebecers’ fundamental rights been so gravely threatened.

12 June
Quebec focuses on French-speaking immigrants as companies plead for workers
Quebec’s plans to attract more French-speaking newcomers are unnerving some business owners who say they need immigrants from varied backgrounds to address a tight labor market in the province.
(Reuters/Montreal Gazette) Unlike other provinces, Quebec gets to choose its economic immigrants. The government previously lowered the number of new permanent residents it brings in, relying more on temporary workers, and says it has increased the francophone share of economic immigrants.
Premier Francois Legault’s Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) is determined to protect French, which he says is vulnerable in mostly English-speaking North America, ahead of an Oct. 3 election.
His government announced a new minister for French and passed a sweeping law requiring, among other things, newcomers to receive most non-health services in French after six months in the province.
While Legault campaigns on attracting more francophones, some business owners warn the move could put off immigrants with critical skills. Quebec has Canada’s second-highest job vacancy rate among provinces.

11 June
André Pratte: Quebec separatists face reality, flee to CAQ
Independence will stay on the horizon, but only as an extreme possibility.
On Monday, former premier and Parti Québécois leader Lucien Bouchard stated the obvious, that the Parti Québécois is not doing well. Worse, he said, the party “does not deserve to do very well.” “If the vehicle is worn out and people want nothing to do with it, then we will choose another vehicle,” Bouchard commented, speaking of separation as “a dream” rather than a realistic project. The remarks were a crushing blow to the current PQ leader, Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, who has committed to holding a referendum on separation during his first mandate were the party called to form the government.
The timing of Bouchard’s pessimistic assertions was especially damaging: as honorary chairman, he was announcing the launch of the activities commemorating the one-hundredth anniversary of René Lévesque’s birth. Plamondon was not even invited…

3 June
Former PQ MNA Bernard Drainville to re-enter politics with the CAQ
CAQ MNAs and ministers downplayed the arrival of a hardline sovereignist in what Premier François Legault says is a nationalist coalition of politicians of all stripes.
News that Premier François Legault has recruited a second prominent sovereignist, Bernard Drainville, to run for the Coalition Avenir Québec in the fall election is proof he is secretly preparing to launch a fresh attempt at Quebec independence, the Liberals charged Friday.
As if by coincidence, the current CAQ MNA for Lévis, François Paradis, issued a statement shortly after the Drainville news emerged, announcing he will not seek another mandate in the fall election.
The announcement appeared to have been moved forward for political reasons, because Paradis, who is speaker of the National Assembly, still has another full week in his role as the arbitrator of debates in the legislature.
Quebec could act against schools offering Grade 12 option, Roberge warns
Some Montreal-area private schools have decided to add Grade 12 programs, which could allow students to skip CEGEP altogether, in light of Bill 96. Quebec says it’s keeping a close eye on them.

2 June
Opinion: An urgent need for renewed dialogue in Quebec
The worrisome divide between anglophones and francophones requires attention.
Benoît Pelletier, professor of law at the University of Ottawa, is a former Quebec cabinet minister. He participated in the drafting of Bill 96’s articles related to the Constitution.
Bills 21 and 96 provide a good illustration of the potential and, indeed, actual conflict between the protection of the individual — in his or her personal, linguistic, religious and cultural characteristics — and the preservation and promotion of Quebec’s own identity. While I support Bill 96, I must admit that it currently contributes to a certain extent, as does Bill 21, to the accentuation of a divide between francophones and anglophones in Quebec, that being said without wishing to impute motive to the current provincial government.
This divide worries me. I believe there is an urgent need for a renewed dialogue.
The onus is on francophones, as the majority, to take the first steps. For example, the Quebec government should appoint people from the political sphere and civil society from both linguistic groups to reopen the dialogue and define its terms, people known for their willingness to build bridges.

31 May
Legault calls for immigration powers to be transferred to Quebec
Premier François Legault is demanding that nearly all immigration powers be repatriated to Quebec, as opposed to its current status of being shared by the federal and provincial governments.
The exception would be refugees.

30 May
François Legault has crossed a symbolic line with his latest Trump-style, populist rhetoric
Alexander Hackett, freelance writer from Montreal
Quebec Premier François Legault’s greasy bid to deepen his lead by playing an ethnic nationalist card is phoney fear-mongering.
(TorStar) …as of 2017, more than 10 million Canadians, or over a quarter of us, can have a conversation in French, according to Statistics Canada. The number is on the rise every year. Great news.
So, by saying that Quebec would disappear if he doesn’t gain full control over its immigration powers, François Legault has officially crossed over to the dark side of political populism and dangerous Trump-style rhetoric.
This kind of alarmist talk will certainly give pantgasms to echo chamber nationalists like Jean-François Lisée and Mathieu Bock-Côté. But the down side is that it will also embolden and empower every prejudiced ignoramus and replacement theorist into thinking there is an enemy at the gates.
And who is that anyway? Anyone who might look a little different, wear things on their heads, have darker skin, or speak any language other than French.

27 May
Yves Boisvert: La dérive conservatrice du nationalisme québécois
L’idée même de « nation » québécoise a pris un virage conservateur et identitaire dans la dernière génération. Dans un documentaire [Bataille pour l’âme du Québec] qui sera diffusé samedi soir à Radio-Canada, Francine Pelletier refait le parcours de ce qui est clairement pour elle un lent dérapage ethnocentrique – ce l’est pour moi, du moins, comme pour plusieurs des gens qu’elle interviewe.
… On aura deviné que j’adhère au propos central du documentaire, qui déplore ce rapetissement, ce repli d’un certain nationalisme québécois. Mais quoi qu’on pense de la question, ce film me semble plus que pertinent. Il était nécessaire.

26 May
Quebec’s intolerant government undermines Canadian claims of progressiveness
By J.J. McCullough
(WaPo) I often hear elite-level American intellectual types — pundits and academics and futurists and so on — express great optimism about Canada’s potential. The country is framed as a glimmer of hope in a bleak world, a dynamic, modern, urbane, democratic, multicultural, open-minded success story, free of the toxic nationalism and populist authoritarianism steering the rest of the planet into a ditch.
The great blind spot of such optimistic analysis has always been Quebec — a province housing 8.7 million of Canada’s 38.7 million citizens, and a place preoccupied with pursuing policies at odds with every flattering Canadian stereotype. On virtually any metric one might correlate with a promising, modern society — a hospitable business climate, an up-to-date education system, open and inviting communities, robust protection of individual liberties, a moderate and rational political class — Canada’s second-largest province marches unapologetically in the opposite direction.

25 May
Ottawa will join Supreme Court legal challenge of Bill 21, Lametti says
The federal justice minister also said there are concerns about Bill 96 and that Ottawa will be watching to see how Quebec implements it.
“When it arrives at the Supreme Court it is by definition a national issue and we will be there,” David Lametti said.
In Quebec City, Premier François Legault reacted with anger to the news.
Hanes: After divisive Bill 96 debate, what happens next for Quebec anglophones?
Poised to be passed into law this week, Bill 96 will usher in a new and uncertain period for the English-speaking minority, with fallout that is political, social and existential.
… Politically, a lot of bridges have been burned.
There has never been much love lost between Premier François Legault’s Coalition Avenir Québec government and the English-speaking community. But Bill 96 has deepened mistrust, especially as Legault’s reassuring words have so often been at odds with his actions.

20 May
Montreal up for grabs in fall Quebec election as voting patterns poised to shift
Philip Authier
“Usually on election night we can predict in advance which ridings will be Liberal and which not,” said veteran pollster Jean-Marc Léger. “This time there will really be fights.”
If last Saturday’s march against Bill 96 was any indication, many voters in Montreal — particularly minority voters — are in a foul and frustrated mood.

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 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.

18 May
Nicolas: A word of encouragement to Quebec’s English-speaking youth
Bill 96 and the CAQ’s overwhelming power in the National Assembly do not accurately reflect the complexity of views and attitudes in contemporary Quebec.
The one thing I’d like you to know is this: You are not alone. There are francophones who see what the Quebec government is about to do, and fail to see how some of their methods will actually help protect French. They are worried, with you, about some of the implications of the bill for those most vulnerable in society, and are not at all reassured by the answers coming from the government.
They are Quebecers just like you. No less, and no more. They call this place home, just like you. And they have just as much of a say as you or any other individual in the definition of what Quebec is about, and whom it includes.
The CAQ’s political domination is the result of an electoral system in dire need of reform. Their overwhelming power in the National Assembly does not accurately reflect the complexity of views and attitudes in contemporary Quebec. Regardless of what you do or where life leads you, I hope you do not lose sight of that.

11 May
The Quebec anglo: A new documentary portrays a reality far from the “pampered elite” myth
What We Choose to Remember interviews more than 60 English-speaking Quebecers, grouped by four waves of immigration with the oldest wave reaching back as far as the days of the Napoleonic Wars.
Rodgers sees his documentary as a way of “setting the record straight” for those who think English-speakers don’t care about Quebec or don’t feel connected to their home. He believes the documentary will reach many moderate francophones who will challenge the government’s policies.
Go to the What We Choose to Remember website for more details on upcoming screenings.

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.
La députée libérale Paule Robitaille ne sera pas candidate aux élections d’octobre
L’ancienne journaliste et correspondante pour Radio-Canada se retire donc de la vie politique après un seul mandat. Elle avait été facilement élue dans Bourassa-Sauvé, un château fort libéral depuis 2003.
Dans une vidéo publiée sur les réseaux sociaux vendredi, Mme Robitaille avoue que la longue lutte contre la pandémie et la récente invasion de l’Ukraine par la Russie ont pesé lourd dans la balance lors de sa réflexion.

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….
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
(CBC) 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.
Voters will have another option this fall: the Canadian Party of Quebec
The party will stand opposed to recent CAQ legislation, such as Bill 21 on state secularism and Bill 40 abolishing school boards.

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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