War of words heating up between EMSB and Quebec government

Click to play video: 'Quebec government lashes out at English Montreal School Board'
Quebec government lashes out at English Montreal School Board
WATCH: The National Assembly adopted a unanimous motion denouncing the English Montreal School Board for not initially recognizing Quebec as nation. The minister responsible for the French language is now calling for an end to Quebec-bashing. As Global’s Tim Sargeant reports, the school board calls it a divisive move. – Sep 15, 2021

Bill 96, the act to preserve and promote the French language in Quebec, has proven to be a polarizing lightning rod in the province, with lawmakers pitted against some anglophone groups.

Quebec’s French Language Minister, Simon Jolin-Barrette, introduced a motion to denounce Quebec-bashing and “Quebecphobia” and the minister called out the English Montreal School Board (EMSB) for questioning the notion of Quebec existing as a nation.

The motion was adopted unanimously but quickly drew the ire of the EMSB’s chairperson.

“They’re sending a message that they want to continue to divide Quebecers,” EMSB chair Joe Ortona said at a press conference on Zoom.

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Ortona told journalists that the school board has retracted its initial resolution on Bill 96 that questioned Quebec as nation in its preamble, but Ortona denounces Bill 96, arguing it will diminish English services in the province.

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“There are provisions for which we are concerned. It limits English services in various areas throughout the province,” he said.

Jolin-Barrette disputes that claim, arguing the rights of anglophones and Indigenous peoples are protected.

“I want to reassure them, there is nothing that has changed about the rights of the English-speaking community or about Aboriginal people. Nothing has changed; we guarantee their right with the bill,” the French Language Minister said during a press conference.

Three weeks of public consultations on Bill 96 are scheduled to begin Sept. 21.

Click to play video: 'EMSB’s Joe Ortona speaks out on Quebec’s French language protection bill'
EMSB’s Joe Ortona speaks out on Quebec’s French language protection bill

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