The law requiring French in Quebec is getting stricter

OTTAWA — Quebec’s Legislative Assembly on Tuesday passed legislation to reinforce the primacy of the French language, limit access to pu...


OTTAWA — Quebec’s Legislative Assembly on Tuesday passed legislation to reinforce the primacy of the French language, limit access to public services in English and bolster the government’s powers to enforce compliance, despite objections from some of the province’s English speakers, aboriginals and members of other linguistic communities. minorities.

The provincial government says the law is necessary to preserve Quebec’s status as the largest French-speaking enclave in the Americas, while critics call it an attempt to create a monoculture in a proudly multicultural country. The national government claims that approximately 85% of the more than 8 million inhabitants of Quebec speak French as their main language.

Develop existing language legislation, The legislation provides that immigrants to Canada who settle in Quebec will not be able to deal with the government in English or other languages ​​for more than six months after their arrival.

Most small and medium-sized businesses will require government certification that they operate in French, as large corporations have done for years. And the new law will raise the bar that a company must meet to justify requiring new workers to speak or read languages ​​other than French.

Government language inspectors will have expanded powers to raid offices and search private computers and smartphones while investigating compliance with the law.

Enrollment in English-language junior colleges will be capped, while new French course requirements will be introduced at these schools. At these colleges, students whose primary language is not English will also need to pass a French proficiency test to graduate.

While Anglophones will still have the right to hearings in their language, the new law changes the way bilingual judges will be appointed, raising fears that their numbers will decline over time.

There are also concerns, strongly dismissed by the provincial government, that the law limits the ability of doctors and other healthcare professionals to speak with certain patients in a language other than French.

“This law is the most important reform of the status of the French language since the adoption of Law 101 in 1977”, the law establishing French as the official language of the province, François Legault, Premier of Quebec, said in a statement posted on Facebook. “It is my responsibility, as Prime Minister of the only government in North America representing a French-speaking majority, to ensure that French remains our only official language, our common language.

To defend the law against possible legal challenges, the Government of Quebec invoked a clause of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms which exempts the law from complying with the Constitution of Canada.

In recent weeks, thousands of Quebecers from English-speaking, immigrant and Indigenous communities across the province have protested the law.

Shortly before the province’s National Assembly in Quebec passed the bill, Julius Grey, a prominent human rights lawyer in the province, called it “the most gratuitous use of power that I have ever seen”.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters in Vancouver, British Columbia, that the federal government would carefully review the law and its implementation, but avoided questions about its involvement in any legal challenges.

“We continue to examine very carefully the final form this will take and will base our decision on what we see as the need to protect minorities across the country,” Trudeau said.

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Newsrust - US Top News: The law requiring French in Quebec is getting stricter
The law requiring French in Quebec is getting stricter
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