Hearings on Bill 96: the pioneer of the Quiet Revolution tears up the plan of the CAQ cegeps

Sociologist-professor emeritus Guy Rocher, 97, said he and Camille Laurin, father of Bill 101, made a mistake when it came to CEGEPs in 1977.

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QUEBEC – One of the last surviving founders of the Quebec college system and a pioneer of the Quiet Revolution tore up the new formula for admission to Anglophone CEGEPs run by the Coalition Avenir Quebec government, calling it “wobbly and twisted”.


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In a captivating 45-minute appearance before the legislative committee studying Bill 96 revising the Charter of the French language, 97-year-old sociologist-professor emeritus Guy Rocher said that he and Camille Laurin, father of the bill 101, made a mistake when he came to CEGEPs in 1977.

They should have applied the charter rules requiring francophones and allophones to attend French elementary and secondary schools up to CEGEP, Rocher said. The law currently allows them to freely choose to attend an English-speaking CEGEP.

But Rocher said that at the time, he and Laurin had no idea how important the CEGEP system was.

Rocher, who served as Laurin’s deputy but was also involved in modernizing the education system, said that instead of an “insignificant” two-year transition phase to university, the college system s he flourished and helped create a class of intellectuals that Quebec has not had 50 years since.


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Today, these are places where young people reorient their lives, make lifelong friendships and discover the importance of Quebec culture and language.

“The choice of an English or French CEGEP is not trivial,” Rocher told the committee. “The solution you found seems flawed, it seems twisted because you wanted to avoid applying Bill 101 to CEGEPs.

“In reality, we should have been in 1977. We made a bad assessment. Things have changed, the context has changed. If I am here, it is because I am worried about the future of the French language. At my age, I have the right to worry about the future.

Rocher praised the rest of Bill 96, however, saying it reflects the spirit of the original Bill 101.

There was no immediate reaction to his speech by the minister responsible for the French language, Simon Jolin-Barrette, who was listening.


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For weeks, Jolin-Barrette defended the CAQ’s new formula for CEGEP attendance, which consists of capping the enrollment of francophones and allophones in the English system at 17.5% and limiting the creation of new places. .

Prime Minister François Legault went further by asserting that blocking francophones and allophones is an extremist solution that he cannot support.

Rocher, however, insisted that he was a big fan of the English and French systems and said he had realized that “we don’t know each other well enough”.

He said he had always thought that anglophones in Quebec would be great ambassadors of Quebec culture in the rest of Canada.

“Maybe they could have protected us from the Quebec denigration we hear about,” he said. “They know us (the Francophones) better.


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Rocher’s presentation came at the end of a whirlwind day at the committee.

Among the main groups presenting briefs was the Union of Municipalities (UMQ), which welcomed a clause in the bill allowing towns and villages with bilingual status to retain it by adopting a motion even though the percentage of English speakers fell below the 50% mark. .

The UMQ declared that the clause is the key to maintaining linguistic peace.

But the UMQ sounded the alarm on a clause stipulating that municipalities will have to stop providing services in English to newcomers after six months of presence in Quebec.

“What happens after six months if the person has not learned French? asks for the UMQ’s thesis.

And responding to a question from the Liberal spokesperson for relations with the English-speaking community, the deputy of D’Arcy-McGee David Birnbaum, the general secretary of the Federation of workers of Quebec, Denis Bolduc, declared that Quebecers English speakers have the right to health services. , but that doesn’t mean everyone in a hospital should speak English or be bilingual.

On Thursday, a first minority group, the Association of Anglophone School Boards of Quebec, will present a brief.

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  1. Simon Jolin-Barrette, Minister responsible for the French language, speaks at the start of a legislative committee studying Bill 96, Tuesday, September 21, 2021 in Quebec City.

    The language law must not be “moderate and reasonable”, declares Louise Beaudoin during the hearings on Bill 96

  2. Premier François Legault, seen in an archive photo, told the CAQ's youth wing on Sunday that some people, including the Parti Québécois, would prefer a much harsher line on the tongue.

    “The CAQ is a bulwark against the radicals,” says Legault as Quebec prepares for language debate



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