Quebec Premier François Legault directed some pointed words at the English Montreal School Board (EMSB) at a press conference on Tuesday after the organization insisted that the government withdraw its language reform legislation — the controversial Bill 96, An Act respecting French, the official and common language of Québec.
"I think they are disconnected," said the premier, "it's as if they've become a radical group."
The EMSB's suggestion that the government should withdraw from Bill 96 was met with anger from both the provincial government and the Bloc Québécois.
In a document, the EMSB asserted that Bill 96 would lead to a "further decline of enrollment at English schools" and that it "discourages bilingualism by restricting Francophones and allophones from accessing English CEGEPs," among other things.
Jon G. Bradley, a former professor who added his voice to the document, insisted that "Quebec is not a nation. It never has been."
"Even the federal government recognizes that Quebec is a nation," Legault said at his press conference.
This controversy has made its way into the Montreal mayoral race as well. Ensemble Montréal leader Denis Coderre removed EMSB chairman Joe Ortona as one of his candidates in the Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grâce borough.
Legault praised Coderre's move.
"I was happy to see Denis Coderre remove his candidate that came from the EMSB," he said.
In a Facebook post, Ensemble Montreal promised several solutions so that Montreal can be "a model city for cleanliness."
"In too many neighbourhoods, Montrealers see littered pavements and parks, overflowing bins and graffiti on street furniture," the party wrote.
Coderre promised that his administration would put more closed garbage cans in parks, implement "the collection of bulky items on request," and clean "hateful graffiti" within 24 hours after it's reported and manage the rat population.
"It is urgent that the City assume its responsibilities as a government of the community and do so in all boroughs," Ensemble Montreal stated.
A survey conducted by Leger for Quebec's largest worker's union, the FTQ, found that most workers in the province support Bill 96 and think it's a good idea to make French the only language at work.
Seventy-three percent of respondents "consider it urgent to protect the French language in Quebec," according to the survey.
The survey was held among 2,000 workers, including 500 respondents born outside of Canada or whose parents were born outside the country.
Sixty-nine percent of respondents aged 18 to 34, classified as young workers, agreed with the "urgency" to protect the French language with Bill 96. Meanwhile, 53% of respondents classified as immigrants or children of immigrants agreed.
In total, 71% of survey respondents agreed that French should be the language spoken in the workplace. However, only 48% of immigrants surveyed agreed with that sentiment.
The FTQ said that it was concerned by the 27% of respondents who found it "normal to have to work in English in Quebec."
"It's not normal to have to work in English in Quebec," FTQ secretary-general Denis Bolduc said in a press release.
"This survey clearly demonstrates our concern that French must be protected, but at the same time it highlights our concerns about the future of French in the world of work."
You might have noticed that the height of buildings in Montreal is shorter than those in other North American cities. That's by design. And now, Mayor Valérie Plante's party, Projet Montréal, is committing to keep it that way.
"Since 1992, a consensus has existed in Montreal regarding the maximum height of buildings," the party wrote on Facebook. "According to this agreement, Montreal's constructions must not obscure the views of Mount Royal — and therefore must not peak higher than the mountain's highest level, which is more than 232 metres above sea level."
The party criticized former mayor Denis Coderre's claim that taller buildings could help to increase the housing offer in the city.
"Mr. Coderre seems to believe that Montreal's highest peaks should belong to the owners of downtown penthouses [...] Let's be honest. Who will really benefit from taller skyscrapers? A handful of wealthy people and a few real estate developers... And so would begin the privatization of the views of our Mount Royal," Projet Montréal warned.