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Defend our Charter, Anne-France Goldwater Urges Federal Leaders

Public consultation meetings on the impacts of Quebec's Bill 96, the updated language laws, are taking place this week, organized by the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN). Me Goldwater was among the first presenters and told the anglophone rights organization that the province is living through an unprecedented political moment.

"I cannot emphasize the importance of this exercise today," Me Goldwater told the organization. "The Quebec government uses gentle language to promote Bill 96... Some of us have read the Bill. And we understand these gentle words mask a harsh reality: systemic restriction or elimination of the rights of all people - or peoples - who speak every language other than French. Notably English-speakers, of course, but also those who speak Mandarin, Spanish, German…"

Encouraging the promotion of the Canadian Charter Rights and Freedoms within Quebec, Me Goldwater noted that Canada is a bijuridical society and key rights relating to both the English and French languages are permanently guaranteed by the Charter. The province of Manitoba, for instance, was forced in the mid-1980s to translate all of its laws from English into French.

"Adopting a law in one language," she explained, "only offends the equality of English and French guaranteed by the Charter."

For more on the QCGN's activities relating to language laws in Quebec, visit the organization's Bill 96 resource page.