Minister's attitude puts bill 14 in jeopardy: CAQ

Posted By: Angelica Montgomery · 3/21/2013 1:18:00 PM

François Legault's Coalition says the Parti Quebecois' language bill may not pass at all because of what the CAQ calls a "propaganda" campaign.

Last night, the Language minister released a fact sheet on the bill 101 exemption for military families that the CAQ says is loaded, unsupported by facts, and riddled with misinformation.

"It's not proven. It's completely false. It's false what's written in here. And when questioned, we don't get any data," says Nathalie Roy, the CAQ's language critic.

Minister Diane De Courcy's information sheet says that the children in military families are not in Quebec temporarily. "Our observations lead us to conclude that this is not the case," says the sheet.

It points to the fact that 84% of those who gain the exemption are born in Quebec. "The majority of them will finish their schooling in Quebec," it says.

Roy says the PQ government is trying to make it seem like the children will spend their entire schooling within the Quebec English school system.

But she says there is nothing to indicate the children don't transfer elsewhere in Canada during their schooling. "That's not proven and it's false. It's false what's written in there," says Roy.

The sheet also compares the exception to bridging schools. It says the ministry's received 376 requests to transform the temporary exception into permanent access to English schools.

Diane De Courcy says the majority of these requests are granted, and that they are directly related to the exemption.

Once again, the CAQ's Eric Caire says that's not true. He says the requests are connected to the children having studied outside of the province, and will continue after bill 14.

"It will always be possible to ask for a permanent exception for those who studied outside of Quebec," he says.

Bad Faith

The CAQ underlines one part of the minister's information sheet: "The French language is not threatened by the fact that 700 students go to English school," it says.

The document goes on to say that the real issues is military families should not have a privilege that others don't have access to.

Nathalie Roy says the entire reason behind bill 14 is supposed to be the protection of the French language. And, she says this is only one example of the PQ government's bad faith.

Minister Diane De Courcy had presented the information sheet for the first time in the middle of the Central Quebec school board's presentation at the bill 14 hearings.

Officials of the affected board were not able to see the information beforehand. Roy says they should have been given a chance to properly respond.

But, when school board officials complained, De Courcy said she had only gotten the information that very day. "Honestly, I really wish those kinds of statements when it comes to my intentions were not present," she told them.

Roy points out that De Courcy had also publicized on twitter that her followers should watch the hearing with the school board, and her cabinet issued a press release on the subject immediately afterward.

 "If that wasn't orchestrated. If that wasn't planned, I have to ask myself what it was," says Roy.

Bill 14 in jeopardy

Roy says, because of  De Courcy's attitude, the CAQ might not pass the bill at all. "That would be a real shame because there are some good things for the protection of the French language."

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