Why everyone should be concerned about Bill 14

2013-01-30

The Quebec government has proposed passing Bill 14 in order to strengthen the French Language Charter. Hearings on the bill will be held in March and, hopefully, both the Liberals and CAQ will be opposed to the legislation. Virtually all Quebecers want Francophones to be able to live and work in French. However, in Quebec, that is already the case. The original Bill 101 assured that and there are no credible threats to French in Quebec.

Bill14 is far more than just an expression of the desire of the government to protect the French language. It will have real and serious consequences that will hurt all Quebecers regardless of the language that they speak.

Health Care - At a time when we have a shortage of doctors and nurses, Bill 14 will toughen the language testing requirements making it harder to attract the medical professionals that we so desperately need. It will also add more regulations and documentation requirements for health institutions (and all institutions) so they will spend money and time on paperwork instead of on patient care.

Business - With one of the highest debt and tax levels in North America, Quebec needs to encourage businesses that create jobs and wealth. Bill 14 will extend Francization requirements to businesses with 26 to 49 employees. This will discourage businesses from locating or expanding in Quebec. It will however mean that the government will need more bureaucrats and language police. This is no way to grow our economy.

Towns - Bill 14will make it possible for bilingual status to be removed from those towns where the percentage of mother tongue English falls below 50%. This will be possible even if far more than 50% of the residents speak English at home and even if the town wants to retain its bilingual status. Over half the towns with bilingual status on the island of Montreal will likely lose it within ten years and just about all will lose it eventually. Not having bilingual towns will make Quebec and Montreal less attractive to the people that we need to attract for the sake of our economy and to have enough health care professionals.

Education - French-speaking students will go to the bottom of the application list if they wish to attend an English CEGEP. This will penalize them if they wish to become more fully bilingual. Students who wish to graduate from English high schools will face tougher French exams and so the drop-out rate will increase. This will apply even to special-needs students.

If you have any questions or comments on this or anything related to Hampstead, e-mail me at WSteinberg@Hampstead.QC.CA  or call me at my home/office number (514)483-6954 up until midnight, 7 days a week.


Sincerely,


Dr. Bill Steinberg
Mayor, Town of Hampstead