Premier François Legault admitted Thursday his government is considering limiting the number of spaces in English language CEGEPs. This comes amidst a bigger debate about language reform in the province.
“We don’t want to extend the Bill 101 to CEGEPs, but there is a possibility to limit the number of places,” Legault said.
One francophone student said that is a mistake — going to an English CEGEP is what allowed Ecaterina Kalcenko her to improve her written and oral English.
“You basically immerse yourself in this environment where everybody speaks English, so it’s the ideal place to learn. I wouldn’t be at the level I am today if I wouldn’t go to an English CEGEP,” Kelcenko said.
Now at McGill University, Kelcenko said if she had not been accepted to Champlain Regional College on the South Shore of Montreal, she would have had to re-consider her career goals.
“I was considering medicine and finance. In both it would affect a lot how I would continue my studies,” she said.
The Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) government has promised to table legislation to extend Bill 101 and reinforce French in the province. However, on Thursday, the premier said it hasn’t been the top priority during an ongoing public health crisis.
“Right now, we have to concentrate on the pandemic,” Legault said.
“I don’t think the pandemic should be an excuse to throw away all the other important debates in Quebec,” said Quebec Solidaire house leader, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois.
Liberal leader Dominique Anglade wouldn’t say if she was for or against limiting spaces in English-language CEGEPs, but like other opposition parties she feels the government is taking too long to bring forward its reforms.
“We’ve been having those conversations for a year without anything really concrete. It just makes everybody more edgy. And that’s why I think it should be tabled sooner rather than later,” Anglade said.
The Parti Quebecois is preparing to table its own bill, and also claims the government is taking too long.
“We have a plan that we are going to announce because we think that we are in a better place to make some recommendations for the Government,” said PQ MNA Méganne Perry Mélançon.
The National Assembly is now taking a recess. It will reconvene after March break.