The presence of Liberal MPs at the demonstration against Bill 96, last Saturday in Montreal, continues to be debated in Ottawa, the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Pablo Rodriguez, suggesting that the Bloc Québécois is “radicalizing itself a little” on the question.
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“We are talking about Quebec deputies elected by other Quebecers who will walk in their own city. So I think that on this, the Bloc is becoming a bit more radical. […] There is not a single MP, including the MPs who marched this week, who disagrees with the fact that French is under threat. They are all in agreement, ”said Mr. Rodriguez in a press scrum on Wednesday morning.
The Bloc had argued Monday that the presence of the Liberals at the rally was a “provocation in the fields of jurisdiction of Quebec”. They had then proposed a motion so that Ottawa does not interfere in the application of the Charter of the French language.
Recall that it was MPs Peter Schiefke, Anthony Housefather, Patricia Lattanzio, Emmanuella Lambropoulos, Annie Koutrakis, Anju Dhillon, Francis Scarpaleggia and Sameer Zuberi who were seen at the rally.
This situation does not seem to challenge Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who assured that his government is closely following the bill. In his eyes, MPs “are there to represent their communities” and choose the concerns they want to highlight.
“We will always be there to protect minorities across the country, whether they are French-speaking linguistic minorities outside Quebec or the English-speaking linguistic minority inside Quebec,” he said in the morning.
The Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, François-Philippe Champagne, also defended the eight deputies concerned and said he was “surprised” by the debate surrounding their presence at the demonstration.
“I have often said that there are elements of this law which, I think, do not correspond to the will of many Quebecers, and it will be up to the National Assembly to do this work, to have this debate,” he added when questioned on this question.
According to the Liberals, their reform of the Official Languages Act, also called C-13, makes it possible to strengthen French both in Quebec and in the other provinces.