It is time for our community to unite and fight the CAQ
The recent decision of the Quebec government to double tuition for students from the rest of Canada and abroad is another attack on the English-speaking community in Quebec. When the Task Force on Linguistic Policy was formed in 2021 in response to the tabling of Bill 96, we warned of the many egregious elements of the legislation, including the definition of “historic anglophone,” rejection of English documents, illegal search and seizure, and limitations on temporary school admissions.
While some may have doubted our warnings in the past, what we predicted then is now reality. As well, the Legault government’s promises of a “50-point plan” to reduce the so-called “decline” in French on the backs of Anglophones is proof of plans for a major offensive against our community.
To give the CAQ credit, they are now transparent in their discrimination: the aim, according to Premier Francois Legault is “to reduce the number of Anglophone students in downtown Montreal.” The minister of the French Language, Jean-François Roberge, has said these changes will mean we will hear less English on the streets of Montreal. This out and out bigotry is unacceptable in a modern society.
The CAQ’s 50-point plan follows on Bill 96’s 100 amendments to the Charter of the French Language, Bill 40’s attempt to eliminate our school boards, Bill 21’s aim to restrict employment in our religious and ethnic communities. This government does not consult: it acts by fiat, like a modern day Franco or Mussolini.
And now, three of the most important universities in Canada – McGill, Concordia and Bishop’s — are under direct attack by the ultra-nationalists of the CAQ, with Premier Legault’s complete blessing.
The time has come for our community to come together like never before. WE MUST FIGHT BACK! We are 1.25 million English Speaking Quebecers who may not share the same history, but we do share the same language, values, institutions, and aspirations.
The CAQ government will do everything in its power to marginalize us and weaken our status, at whatever cost. The inevitable results will be a shattered economy, loss of global status, increasing poverty, higher taxation, and international notoriety for bigotry and parochialism. Does Quebec want this reputation? Many Quebec leaders have come out against this move, but the Premier and his cabinet have pushed back. They are obsessed with the language issue.
Ruining these important post secondary institutions is self destructive for Quebec, but the CAQ government does not seem to care. It hurts the province, but it will be devastating for our community. René Lévesque was fond of saying “The appetite grows with the eating.” If we do not stop the CAQ’s appetite for intolerance, we are bound to suffer even further indignity.
The Task Force on Linguistic Policy has taken on the challenge of fighting the CAQ government and Bill 96 in court. We need your support.
We are organizing protest rallies. We need you to attend.
We are calling on all the English-speaking community to come together and show we are a united front. We need your voice to say “enough is enough.”
Together we will send the message that we are not leaving. We are staying to fight these extreme nationalists.
Quebec is our home, and Canada is our country because it stands for inclusion, pluralism, tolerance and freedom.
Join our movement at www.TheTaskForce.ca.
Andrew Caddell, a municipal counciller in Kamouraska, journalist,
author and entrepreneur, is president of the Task Force on Linguistic Policy,
a greenroots organization formed in 2021 to ensure fairness in
linguistic policy at all levels of government.
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