Federal Liberals come to the defense of Anglophones in Quebec

Quebec Liberal elected officials in Ottawa rejected demands for reform of Quebec’s federal Official Languages ​​Act during a parliamentary committee Tuesday, imploring their colleagues to protect the rights of English-speaking minorities.

“As federal MPs, it would be a big mistake to leave Quebec free to do whatever it can linguistically in Quebec on a federal committee that examines federal laws,” said MP and former minister Marc. Garneau.

An elected federal official from Notre-Dame-de-Grace — Westmount — spoke unusually before a parliamentary committee of which he was not a member. The Standing Committee on Official Languages ​​on Tuesday began examining proposed amendments to improve bill C-13 reform of the federal Official Languages ​​Act.

About fifteen of these changes were proposed by Quebec. The Legault government is asking not to harm the project to protect the French language in the territory of Quebec, even if this language is the majority there. “French is the only official minority language in all of Canada,” he wrote in a letter dated last June.

Although Bill C-13 officially seeks “fundamental equality between Canada’s official languages”, its critics argue that it conflicts with Quebec’s French Language Charter, specifically that it leaves federal jurisdiction to circumvent it.

The concern of Anglophones

Two more MPs on Tuesday attacked the law respecting Quebec’s official and common language, known as Bill 96, citing the concerns of Quebec’s English-speaking community. they say.

“I have never seen so much despair, dissatisfaction and fear in my community. Bill 96 makes English-speaking Quebecers wonder who is standing up for them,” said Mount Royal MP Anthony Evatasy.

Like his colleague Marc Garneau, who called the Quebec law “discriminatory against the English-speaking minority,” Mr. House attacked his father Quebec’s use of the “notwithstanding rights” clause. [la population puisse] go to court”.

“We should not choose which linguistic minority to protect and which not to,” the elected official added before the committee, of which he is not a member. His colleague in the Quebec caucus, Patricia Lattanzio, a member of the committee, agreed.

There will be no reform soon

The two-hour session, loaded with these various speeches, allowed only one amendment to be voted on Tuesday out of a list of more than 200 proposed changes. Despite the Trudeau government’s request that the committee finish its study of C-13 as soon as possible, it will continue indefinitely into 2023.

“Don’t accuse us of obstruction!” “Conservative MP Joel Godin presented the meeting to his Liberal colleagues, who opposed extending it longer than planned.

An amendment to the text of C-13 proposing to insert a section referring to the respect of ” [des] “Quebec’s option on linguistic planning” was just defeated by the committee’s five Liberal MNAs, as well as the elected New Democrat, who were unhappy with the way the important passage had been changed. A Bloc MP and two Quebec Conservatives voted in favor, while two English-speaking Conservatives abstained.

“What we want is to push the bill so that it has teeth, not baby teeth, to ensure that the decline of French is stopped, to promote and protect the two official languages ​​in Canada,” said Mr. Godin. Be forced while leaving the room.

Bloc Québécois lawmaker Mario Beaulieu, who has returned home from self-isolation for COVID-19, is criticizing the government’s desire to limit debate on the issue. “From the beginning, the liberals are constantly trying to close their mouths. First of all, in Quebec, they don’t want it to cause too much discussion. »

Three opposition parties have expressed their support for Quebec’s demands. Official Languages ​​Minister Ginette Petitpas-Taylor declined to explain some of the technical aspects of C-13 to the parliamentary press last week, saying she was relying on the committee’s work.

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