Local perspectives on Bill 96

By Michael Boriero - Local Journalism Initiative
Local perspectives on Bill 96

The English-speaking community in Quebec has been in an uproar since the Quebec Liberal Party (QLP) proposed an amendment to Bill 96 that would require students in English cegeps to take three program-related courses in French in order to graduate.

Following significant community backlash, the QLP has since attempted to backtrack on its amendment, asking the Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) government to remove it from Bill 96. Townshippers’ Association President Gerald Cutting believes it has no place in the bill.

“We are totally displeased with the fact that the amendment takes Bill 96 even further than its original text. The fiasco over mother tongue French courses for English cegep students is one that just goes beyond all pedagogical reasoning,” Cutting said in a phone interview.

It’s a recipe for failure, he explained, adding that there are many English-speaking students who have never studied their chosen field in French, whether it’s pure and applied or social sciences. It will likely discourage students from completing their education, he continued.

“There are blockages and I think what is absolutely a slap in the face is that this was actually proposed by the Liberal Party that has traditionally been the protector of English rights and Indigenous rights and immigrant rights,” Cutting told The Record on Tuesday.

He noted that it will be nearly impossible to backtrack on the amendment, since it was likely something Justice Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette would have wanted to add to the bill, but he was too nervous due to the potential backlash. But now the QLP took all of the heat away.

“I think this is a guarantee to make sure that young Anglophones don’t get into the university program of their choice. We believe that the proper thing to do with Bill 96, and all of its amendments, is to withdraw it and do an extensive consultation,” said Cutting.
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