Gearing up for a fight over bilingual status
A number of West Island and west-end jurisdictions are in the process of adopting resolutions affirming their willingness to retain their bilingual status, in response to Quebec's new Bill 14.
The latest administration to adopt such a resolution was Pierrefonds-Roxboro, the only Montreal borough to hold bilingual status. it did so Thursday evening.
For the moment, it's unclear how the new update to Quebec's language law would address the issue of bilingual status for cities, towns, and boroughs. The hint is the benchmark would come down to 40 percent English-speakers in a particular jurisdiction, down from 50 percent.
Peter Trent, the mayor of Westmount and head of the Conference of Suburban mayors, says, whatever the number, there should be no criteria for removal of bilingual status.
"Our position ism, once granted, it should remain forever," Trent says. "Because it's really a historical acknowledgement that these various municipalities have an anglophone root. And even if it drops below a certain percentage, we believe it should remain."
Two weeks ago, Westmount joined the list of Montreal island cities and boroughs that passed resolutions dealing with their bilingual status.
The symbolic resolutions, he says, are in preparation for public hearings on the bill, coming up in the spring.
"We are girding our loins in order to fight this, because we think it's completely wrong, and we see no reason whatsoever of constantly being under threat of removal of our bilingual status."