Community Group Says Bill 96 Limits the Rights of Anglophones
In an open letter written by Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) to Premier Legault, QCGN states that the government definition of “English Eligibile” is limiting and minority groups, under international norms, should define themselves. The current definition of English Eligible excludes between 300,000 and 500,000 English-speaking Quebecers, making the category far from inclusive and limiting the access to government services in English.
“Quebec residents such as Immigrants or anyone who came to Quebec after Bill 101 was put in place must send their child to a French school if they have not been taught English in Canada regardless of the language the family best understands,” says Rita Legault, QCGN Director of Communications. Bill 101 (Loi 101) is the charter of the French language, which aims to protect French and protect its use in the province.
The main concern is the accessibility of English services for English speaking Quebecers under Bill 96. The bill’s purpose is to affirm that French is the only Official language in Quebec and that French is the common spoken language in Quebec.
On October 19, 2021, at the National Assembly, Premier François Legault referred to the English-speaking Quebecers as “Historic Anglophones” which he later defined as individuals who are eligible for English schooling in Quebec.
Rita Legault explains that access to English schools does not depend on the spoken language of the student or their parents but on the language of instruction that parents receive or the schooling of the student and their siblings.
The letter states “We believe that the right to communication and services in English should never be based on eligibility for English instruction. We are confident that the status quo reflects the values and generosity of spirit of all Quebecers.”
“English-speaking Quebecers are full and contributing members of Quebec society who are committed to building an inclusive Quebec where French is the common language,” highlights QCGN in their letter to the Quebec Premier.
Many organizations support the resolution of Bill 96 as described by the QCGN such as Regional Association of West Quebecers (RAWQ), Quebec Community Newspaper Association (QCNA), and Quebec English School Boards Association (QESBA).