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A Group Of Montreal Island Mayors Is Asking Quebec To Keep Their Cities' Bilingual Status

Even if English-speakers aren't the majority of their populations.

A Group Of Montreal Island Mayors Is Asking Quebec To Keep Their Cities' Bilingual Status

The Association des municipalités de banlieue (AMB), a group of 15 mayors of suburbs on Montreal Island, has unveiled its list of recommendations to the Quebec government as part of the Bill 96 hearings and is pleading with the government to allow bilingual municipalities to retain their status should the bill become law.

Bill 96 states that a municipality that currently has "bilingual status" could have its status revoked by the OQLF if the area's English speakers don't represent the majority of the population — the threshold required by the Charter of the French Language for a municipality to obtain the status.

The municipality would then be required to pass a resolution reaffirming its bilingual status within 120 days of the OQLF's warning that it's about to lose its designation.

The OQLF would also be required to publish a list of bilingual organizations and municipalities within Quebec.

"We believe that the bilingual status of certain municipalities must be maintained, even in the event of a demographic decline," Beny Masella, president of the AMB and mayor of Montréal-Ouest, said in a statement.

"It's important to have the flexibility necessary to offer optimal services to all the citizens of our municipalities."

The AMB's recommendations include that "Bill 96 must be inspired towards achieving a balance in the respect of the linguistic rights of all Quebecers."

The organization asks that "in the event that Bill 96 is adopted, the government recognize the validity of the resolutions already adopted by certain related cities, which reiterate their desire to remain bilingual."