CAQ to let Bill 14 move forward with conditions

Coalition Avenir Quebec leader Francois Legault has announced he will allow Bill 14 to pass the first reading on the conditions that his issues get fixed by the second reading. The Liberals have vowed to use whatever means necessary to prevent the bill from reaching final stages and PQ Languages Minister Diane de Courcy said she fears a catastrophic result for her bill.

“There are some good reasons to be for the bill but we have something like five conditions,” said CAQ leader Francois Legault.

The conditions Legault has laid out include:
  1. Francophone military families should be able to send their children to English schools.
  2. Less red tape for businesses.
  3. Cities with bilingual status should be able to keep that status should they choose to.
  4. Francophones should keep the right to go to English CEGEPs.
  5. Legal terms that would diminish the rights of anglophones be removed from the Bill.
De Courcy has said she is willing to bend on matters on miulitary families and leave the bilingual status of cities at the local level but hasn't mentioned much else.

Legault said that despite his conditions on the bill, French needs a boost in Quebec.

“We must work in French in Montreal,” he said, adding that he agrees with the PQ on the matter of stricter rules for small businesses and more French lessons for immigrants.

Meanwhile, de Courcy had dire predictions for the bill.

“A week later, with the CAQ’s silence, I cannot envision a scenario that isn’t catastrophic,” said de Courcy. “It would be catastrophic if the question about how a modern and intelligent protection of the French language was not brought to the parliament.”

The Liberals, now with a good lead in the polls, say the PQ are hurting bilingualism and businesses with Bill 14.

“They're adding obstacles on the on the accession to English-speaking CEGEPs for Francophones, and that's not something that's going to be very helpful,” said Quebec Liberal leader Philippe Couillard.

Liberal language critic Marc Tanguay said businesses need to be able to respond in English “to be able to answer the phone call, to read the fax to answer an email.”

It is ironic the CAQ agree with stricter language rules on small businesses when they are in favor of less red tape. Frankly, dictating the internal operating language of small businesses is going to make it difficult for future entrepreneurs to set up shop in Quebec.

We will see if the PQ fulfill Legault's five demands and we will see if his party lets the bill pass to final reading. On a political front, this can go one of two ways for Legault. If he continues to support Bill 14, it is clear that his PQ roots are still within him, otherwise, this could just be a way to diffuse any PQ propaganda that may say the opposition doesn't want to work with them as a way to try to get a majority mandate.

One thing is certain, there is a lot to oppose in Bill 14 and while it isn't surprising the PQ would come up with this legislation while neglecting a weak and fragile economy, it is equally suspicious that the CAQ didn't join suit with the Liberals in outright condemning it as a gesture to try to earn the trust of anglophones.

What do you think of Legault's proposal to let Bill 14 move forward with conditions? Is he being reasonable or is he making a mistake? Share this article, join the discussion and let us know what you think: FacebookTwitterGoogle+.

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