Published on: August 13, 2017 | Last Updated: August 13, 2017 9:41 AM EDT
Language issues have popped up at the Liberal youth convention with a clutch of Montreal Liberals proposing to loosen up the French Language Charter and allow francophones into the English system. John Kenney / Montreal Gazette
SHERBROOKE — With a resolution on the issue up for debate Sunday, the Parti Québécois youth wing has strongly denounced any possible softening of the French Language Charter by the Liberal government.
PQ youth president Marc-André Bouvette said his members are very worried about the idea of allowing a pilot project in which francophones students not normally admissible to the English school system would get in.
“The young Liberals are sending us a clear message: they are not worried about the future of French in Quebec,” Bouvette said in a statement. “At a time where we should be collectively reflecting on measures to halt the slide of French, they (the Liberals) want to pare down one of its key elements of Bill 101: the obligation to attend French schools.”
A resolution to be debated Sunday at the Liberal youth policy convention being held at Bishop’s University proposes to take down the wall — on a trial basis — and allow francophones access English schools.
It has been proposed by the Liberal youth of Montreal.
If adopted, the resolution would not be binding on the government of Premier Philippe Couillard but it would invariably become a political problem making the government appear less committed to French. An election looms in October 2018.
Couillard said Saturday while he’s open to more exchanges between the two networks, amending the charter, which turns 40 this year, is out of the question.
But the Montreal Liberal resolution notes the current restrictions has substantially reduced the occupancy rate of English schools while a significant umber of French schools in Montreal are suffering from an overcapacity.
The debate on the resolutions — one of 27 to be reviewed by the Liberal youth — kicks off Sunday morning. About 300 Liberal youth are attending the convention.
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