What Does a Stronger Bill 101 Mean For Non-French Speakers? Back in 1977, Bill 101, also known as the ‘Charte de la langue francaise, was adopted in Quebec. Basically, the bill made French the official language of Quebec. The English population in Quebec was opposed to Bill 101 because among other things, it recognized French as the language to be used in courtrooms and other government buildings. It also stated that learning French is mandatory for immigrants, even if they came from other Canadian provinces. The bill was changed through court rulings in the following years, limiting its power and its scope. The bill’s power to regulate the language of instruction was reduced, as was the exclusive and compulsory use of French on all public commercial signage. The debate between Quebec nationalists and Anglophones has gone on for years, but the Parti Quebecois has intentions to strengthen and reinforce Bill 101 in 2012. For people who do not speak French, this development could change their lives dramatically. Pauline Marois, who is the leader of the PQ party, has claimed she wants a more ambitious version of Bill 101 to help form the cultural identity of the province. Among the changes to the original bill:
All businesses within the province that have 11 or more employees would have to carry out all staff communications in French. Currently, the number is 50 employees. Private schools where English-speaking students go before moving onto English public schools, known as ‘bridging schools’ would be closed. Trade schools and adult learning centres would become part of the bill. More power would be given to the French language authority in Quebec to apply the rules of the bill to signs.
The leader says she doesn’t plan to simply abandon the non-bilingual speakers in Quebec, but most of them are understandably nervous. Basically, English-speaking Quebecers would either be forced to learn French to get by, or they would be lost as everything around them turned to French. If efforts are made to beef up Bill 101, a lengthy court battle may be soon to follow. However, even if it is handed over to the courts and the changes are delayed, it will definitely make a lot of long time English speaking Quebec residents nervous to know they will be breaking the law by communicating in the only language they’ve ever spoken. Resources http://www.westboroacademy.com Westboro Academy