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Côte Saint-Luc concerned over impact of new proposed Quebec language law

While the City of Côte Saint-Luc is relieved that the provisions of Bill 96 appear to give municipalities with bilingual status the option to keep it, the City is concerned by other areas of the bill, including proposed rules affecting business, English-language CEGEPs, and other provisions.

“If the bill is adopted into law, Côte Saint-Luc will communicate with other cities with bilingual status to ensure they are aware of the new requirement to adopt a resolution affirming their desire to maintain bilingual status,” Mayor Mitchell Brownstein said. “We wouldn’t want a municipality to lose the status simply because it failed to write the resolution in the correct way or send it in within the 120-day delay.”

The City also reiterates its opposition to the way the Charter of the French language determines who is an English-speaking Quebecer. Currently, someone is counted as English speaking based on their “mother tongue” language. Mother tongue refers to the first language learned at home in childhood and still understood by the person.

This metric undercounts both English-speaking and French-speaking Quebecers. For instance, a person could have learned Yiddish or Italian as a child, which would make that their mother tongue. This metric doesn’t tell us whether today they consider themselves an English-speaking or a French-speaking Quebecer.

A more accurate metric is “first official language spoken.” First official language spoken refers to the first official language (i.e., English or French) spoken by the person. In Côte Saint-Luc, 67.1 percent of residents have English as their first official language spoken. By comparison, under the less accurate “mother tongue” metric, only 42.3 percent are mother-tongue English, and only 18 percent are mother-tongue French.

The City of Côte Saint-Luc will be closely monitoring statements and eventual briefs by institutions and other groups affected by the provisions of Bill 96.