MONTREAL – Two dozen Quebec merchants saw their language hopes dashed Wednesday morning at the Montreal court house.
Quebec Superior Court judge Salvatore Mascia ruled that Bill 101, the French Language Charter, is still needed to protect and promote French in the province.
READ MORE: Fact file: What is Bill 101?
In his 67 page ruling, Judge Mascia wrote that “the French language is too precarious to develop without support from the Quebec government.”
He also concluded that the French language is still a minority in North America and “the impugned sections of the Charter of French Language allow the Quebec government to pursue its legitimate objective of protecting and promoting the French language while impairing on individual rights as little as possible.”
The ruling means the companies must pay a $500 fine for violating the Charter plus administration fees.
Defence lawyer, Brent Tyler, was hoping to prove that French is no longer threatened in Quebec and the provisions requiring the province’s official language be predominant on commercial signs is unnecessary.
Judge Mascia disagreed, but said “It was a valiant effort,” as he looked directed at Tyler.
Tyler has a long history of defending English speaking Quebecers before the courts and has challenged other cases involving Bill 101 to the Supreme Court of Canada and even to the United Nations.
He plans to appeal this latest decision.