Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante is under fire over her administration’s newly released budget.
While the opposition has expressed its anger over tax increases, the Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste (SSJB), as well as Mouvement Montréal français (MMF), are taking aim not at the content of the budget — but its language.
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The full budget was released in French, with highlights available in both French and English, something both groups argue should not happen in Montreal.
In a joint statement, SSJB president Maxime Laporte and MMF spokesperson Sophie Stanké, strongly condemned the new administration’s linguistic practices.
They refer to Article 1 of the city charter — which states Montreal is a French-language city — to make their point.
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“You’d think we were at the Parliament in Ottawa, rather than Montreal City Hall, a Quebec metropolis!” said Laporte.
Stanké expressed concerns the mayor is sending the wrong message, especially to new arrivals to the province, who should be encouraged to adopt French.
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“In light of data showing the constant decline of French, Valérie Plante should realize that it is her responsibility as mayor to send a clear message about the status of French in Montreal,” she said, adding that city is the main point of entry for new immigrants.
The Quebec Community Group Networks — a not-for-profit organization bringing together 53 English-language community organizations across the province — was critical of the joint statement, asking whether tax increases only affected French-speaking Montrealers.
A spokesperson for the mayor said the city would not be responding, saying the budget has always been released in French with highlights available in English.