The MNA for Nelligan, in Montreal’s West Island, insisted he was respecting the tradition of the National Assembly, but many English-speakers say he showed a lack of respect to the province’s anglophone community.
Typically, MNAs are allowed to use either official language, as Section 133 of the 1867 Constitution Act states that French or English may be used in debates in the National Assembly.
WATCH BELOW: Martin Coiteux, in love with the West Island
Khadir explained he fears anglophones don’t hear enough about allegations of corruption in the government.
That’s why he said he purposely asked about the UPAC investigation of former premier Jean Charest in English.
” I was very, very disappointed that he didn’t care to say a few words to his constituents,” said Khadir.
“I think it’s of utmost political and democratic interest that the English community hear firsthand.”
Quebec’s Community Groups Network (QCGN) spoke out about the language kerfuffle, reminding the minister that there are about one million English speakers in the province — and almost 45,000 of them live in Coiteux’s riding.
“This is an affront to his constituents and to the English-speaking community of Quebec,” said QCGN president James Shea.
Coiteux has since apologized.
This isn’t the first time a Canadian politician has refused to speak English.
WATCH BELOW: Trudeau answers question in French
During a town hall session in Sherbrooke, Que., a woman had asked if there were any plans for the federal government to do anything to help anglophones in the province of Quebec seeking mental health services since they are often only available in French.
Trudeau later released a statement saying: “Canada is a bilingual country, and as such, I recognize that I should have answered questions in the language they were asked.”