G7 Summit: Protestors fill streets of Quebec City in 2018
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The use of French in Quebec has been in decline for many years. To reverse this trend Quebec’s government have announced multiple proposals to strengthened the use of the language within the province of eight million inhabitants. The government of Quebec intends to create a ministry responsible for defending the language and forcing its practice in institutions and businesses.
The nationalist premier of Quebec, François Legault, said during a press conference “that there was an urgent need to act” in order to strengthen the Charter of the French language within the province.
The Charter of the French Language (or Law 101) was adopted in 1977 to protect French from further inroads in the province from English.
On May 13 a new reform of the charter was proposed by Quebec minister of justice, Simon Jolin-Barrette.
Discussions and negotiations with opposition parties over the nature of the new proposals are set to continue until the autumn.
On May 15, François Legault wrote on Twitter he had written to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to invite him “to join this gesture of affirmation in favour of French in Quebec.”
Speaking of the new proposal to strengthen the use of French in the province he said: “French is at the very foundation of our identity and our culture.”
Some of the measures announced in the new proposal were, a “reinforced offer of education in French from elementary to college.”
The “increase in investments for French programs offered to immigrants”.
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And the “establishment of French as a working language for businesses located in Quebec”.
Another measure is to push for Quebec businesses to provide service in French.
French will also be used as the exclusive language of government in the province.
Mr Legault is also seeking to affirm that “Quebec forms a nation and that French is its official language.”
However, “the bill respects the rights and institutions of the English community in Quebec”.
Discussing the decline in the use of French, the Le Journal de Montréal stated that “for 25 years, French has been declining in public administration”.
The journal added that it has been in decline, “at work, in shops, billboards and the integration of immigrants.
“For 25 years, we have known that English-speaking public college educational establishments have attracted more and more francophones.”
Quebec is the home of Québécois recognised as a nation by both the provincial and federal government.
Quebec has had independence debates which have played a large role in politics.
Parti Québécois governments have held referendums on sovereignty in 1980 and 1995.
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