Canada
Hundreds protest against PQ's French language policies

Credits: ELIZABETH LAPLANTE / QMI AGENCY

GIUSEPPE VALIANTE | QMI AGENCY

MONTREAL - About 200 protesters blocked a downtown street outside the Montreal offices of the Quebec Premier Pauline Marios on Sunday afternoon demanding her government rescind its new language legislation.

Some protesters went so far as to threaten to withhold their taxes if language restrictions aren't eased in Quebec.

The PQ's Bill 14, which is at the debate stage in Quebec's legislature, seeks to strengthen the province's French-language requirements, including for businesses, schools and individuals.

The protest was organized by two English-language rights groups, Put Back the Flag, and The Unity Group.
Beryl Wajsman, the editor-in-chief of The Suburban, one of Quebec's largest weekly newspapers, urged non-francophone Quebecers to consider withholding their taxes.

"If (the English in Quebec) don't have a say, then perhaps we shouldn't have to pay!" Wajsman said through a megaphone. The crowd cheered and repeated his chant.

Marc and Darren Santos, two brothers from Montreal who attended the protest, told QMI Agency that Quebec's language laws affect all Quebecers.

"This isn't just about my rights, this is about giving equal language rights to all of Quebecers," said Marc, referring to the laws that prohibit parents who attended French-language school from enrolling their children in English-language schools.

Standing by himself from across the protesters, Daniel Roy held a Quebec flag in one hand and a small megaphone in the other.

The 200 people across the street largely ignored him.

Roy said Anglophones represent a small portion of the Quebec population yet "they want to impose bilingualism. It takes some nerve to want to do that!" he said.

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