Legault & Anglade Sparred On Twitter Over Bill 96 In Quebec And Dawson College

Legault wants to promote French in Quebec; Anglade wants to defend individual choice.

Contributing Writer
François Legault speaking during conference (left); Dominique Anglade speaking at podium (right)

François Legault speaking during conference (left); Dominique Anglade speaking at podium (right)

It's no secret that there is a language issue in Quebec, and every few years the argument finds a new arena. The most recent battleground for the language debate is Bill 96 and Dawson College, whose expansion project has been shelved in favour of funding French colleges in the province.

During a press conference on February 1, shortly after the funding change was announced, Premier François Legault made his position on the matter clear, saying, "It's better to expand French colleges before adding capacity to Dawson."

Anglade toured Dawson College on February 24, where she declared her party's support for the CEGEP's expansion project. "Young people must have the right to study at the CEGEP of their choice," she wrote in a tweet on the same day.

"[The Coalition Avenir Quebec] know it’s not popular to say that they want to apply Bill 101 to CEGEPs so they are finding different ways to go ahead and do that and that’s really hypocritical," Anglade said in remarks broadcast by CTV News and other media.

"We believe in liberty and what basically the CAQ government is doing is telling adults what they should be doing and we’re really fed up with that."

Legault responded in a tweet on February 25.

"Anglophones represent 9% of the population of Quebec," Legault tweeted. "Anglophone CEGEPs have 17% of places [students enrolled] in Quebec. The CAQ proposes, with Bill 96, to freeze the number of places in anglophone CEGEPs. Dominique Anglade's PLQ opposes."

Anglade responded directly to the message in a tweet on Friday.

"Students in Quebec need to be able to study in the CEGEP of their choice, whether in French or in English," Anglade tweeted in response. "François Legault's paternalism and divisive attitude has no place here. Like the Fédération des cégeps, we oppose the application of Bill 101 in CEGEPs."

Marlene Jennings, chair of the Quebec Community Groups Network, which aims to unite "English-language community groups across Quebec," went so far as to compare Legault's proposed language restrictions to the situation in Ukraine. She subsequently deleted the tweet, but not before both Anglade and Legault responded.

marleneqcgn | Twitter

"I have to ask how François Legault can explain his very appreciated support for Ukrainian democracy with his willingness to suspend all the rights and liberties of ALL Quebecers with his Bill 96 project?" Jennings asked on Twitter. "I'm asking the question but only Legault can answer."

Legault did answer, in a blunt tweet four hours later.

"Comparing the defense of the Ukrainian people with the defense of the French language in Quebec. Really?" he tweeted.

Anglade responded in a slightly more erudite way.

"In this period of high tensions, let's all be careful with the tone we take and the examples we use," Anglade tweeted. "These words are unacceptable and simply don't have a place here."

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

Jenna Pearl
Contributing Writer
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