By Bird Bouchard
Local Journalism Initiative
Members of English-speaking community organizations are concerned changes to federal language legislation could be a major setback for the rights of English-speaking Quebecers.
The House of Commons Standing Committee on Official Languages has allowed references to Quebec’s Charter of the French Language to remain in proposed new federal language legislation to amend Canada’s Official Languages Act.
“This is a major setback for the rights of English-speaking Quebecers,” said Eva Ludvig, president of the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN), a not-for-profit organization bringing together English-language community organizations across Quebec. “It is clear to us the deck is stacked against English-speaking Quebec.”
During the committee’s clause-by-clause consideration of Bill C-13, a Liberal proposal to remove a reference to Quebec language legislation was defeated. This Act would amend the Official Languages Act to enact the use of French in federally regulated private businesses and make related amendments. Members from the Conservative Party of Canada, the New Democratic Party, and the Bloc Québécois voted against removing the Quebec language legislation references.