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Rejection of English death certificate by Quebec officials causes pushback from Liberal MNAs

Connor Lalande
Quebec July 27, 2023
The Quebec government’s rejection of a death certificate because it was written in English has prompted two Liberal Members of the Quebec National Assembly to urge the government to rethink its approach to enforcing certain directives under Bill 96.
The matter arose when a family presented their father’s death certificate in their effort to sell land of which he had been a part owner. The document, which had originally been issued by the Quebec government in English in 2009, was deemed unacceptable by virtue of having been written in English.
“It’s a very simple story,” said Steven Grover in an interview with Montreal radio station CJAD. “We just needed some paperwork cleared up around my father’s estate.
“Through a notary, we submitted information to the appropriate department in the provincial government and the documents were sent back to us telling us that my father’s [death] certificate, which had been completed in 2009, wasn’t acceptable and had to be officially translated into a French document,” said Grover.
“But as you can imagine, the French and the English documents are on file with the provincial government, so they know full well what this document says. It has a date, it has a name, and it has a place where my father passed away. It’s a very simple piece of information,” he continued.
“How can the government deny a government document?” said Liberal MNA Gregory Kelly in the same CJAD radio segment. “That is extremely bizarre.”
“This doesn’t go towards protecting the French language, these cases we see in the paper week-after-week and in the news week-after-week.”
Kelley represents the riding of Jacques-Cartier and is the opposition critic for Relations with English-Speaking Quebecers. He and Madwa-Nika Cadet, the MNA for Bourassa-Sauvé and critic for French Language, have written to the Minister of the French Language, Jean-François Roberge, in response to the matter.
According to the Montreal Gazette, Cadet and Kelly’s letter “calls on the CAQ government to allow citizens to use the regular government portal to request an official certificate in French if they choose, even if it was initially issued by the province in English, and pay the usual fee charged by the government for a certificate.”
“They should be able to continue using this document,” said Cadet to the Montreal Gazette. “They have a certain acquired right. In our opinion, it’s totally incoherent to refuse an official document of the Quebec government.”
“An official document that was issued by the Government of Quebec should always be accepted by the Government of Quebec,” she said.
Pontiac MNA André Fortin echoed Cadet and Kelly’s bewilderment in a conversation with THE EQUITY.
“We knew there would be issues with Bill 96. We knew there would be application issues, we knew there would be these types of nonsensical, non-practical, non-respectful application issues,” Fortin said.
“But if the government’s goal really is to help promote the French language, this type of behavior will not be helpful in any way, shape or form. So that’s why we’ll continue to appeal to the government’s common sense and call them out on these issues because they’re not helpful for English speaking Quebecers and they are not helpful in general with the government’s relations with Quebecers.”

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