Former Liberal Health Minister and current candidate in the provincial Liberals leadership race Philippe Couillard castigated the Parti Québécois’ (PQ) plan to strengthen up Bill 101 at a press conference held in Dorion last Friday.
“Census data show that Bill 101 already works. Despite what the PQ said we see that more and more allophones use French, which is a very good sign. There is no decline in French. There is no urgency, necessity to change the law 101. It has reached a point of balance that I believe meets the diverse communities. I am totally opposed to the extension of Bill 101 in CEGEPs. This is a fight I'd do very strongly,” he said at Café Marijade in Dorion
He went on to say that implementing bill 101 to small businesses of 11 to 50 employees would represent a burden they didn’t need and something he’d also fight as a politician.
“I think it would be very bad because already our small businesses are extremely loaded with procedures, rules, paperwork, if you add another layer of obligation to them, it’s not going to do anything (good). First someone would have to prove to me that there is a problem. We can see that most small businesses, if not all, can operate in French. This is not something that is needed. That’s something we should oppose strongly,” he stated.
Couillard who claimed he is coming back to politics to give his share and play his role in society claims Anglophones and Allophones have an integral role to play in the Quebec of tomorrow and he blames the Parti Québécois for having a discourse of exclusion.
“Quebec belongs to everyone, not only the French-speaking majority. I know for a fact that Anglophones and cultural communities are very proud to live in Quebec, would not live elsewhere but they want to be invited to the table. The Parti Québécois unfortunately has a discourse of exclusion that categorizes people according to the level of knowledge of French. This is something that we, at the PLQ, cannot accept,” he said.
“We need immigrants in Quebec. We must receive and integrate them, make them productive as soon as possible, in accordance with the predominance of French, gender equality, the religious neutrality of the state but also in tolerance and openness.”
On corruption, he stated we should keep the police units which have been created to deal with corruption strong so they can enforce the law efficiently. About the tuition crisis, he said part of the problem was policy while the other part was communication. Couillard stated if the government had indexed the tuition year after year starting in 1994, there probably wouldn’t have been a drastic hike proposal and the crisis could have been avoided. He also said the Liberals should make better us of social media to appeal to the youth.