Indigenous leaders say Quebec’s language bill puts their languages at risk

QUEBEC- Indigenous leaders in Quebec say the government’s French-language bill is destructive, paternalistic and could put the survival of First Nations languages at risk.

Ghislain Picard, chief of the Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador, told reporters today that Bill 96 would push Indigenous students to pursue higher education outside the province.

Bill 96 would require students at the province’s English-language junior colleges to take three additional classes in French before graduating and moving on to university.

Kahsennenhawe Sky-Deer, grand chief of the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake, located near Montreal, says Indigenous leaders want to be consulted about the bill and its impacts on their communities.

She says the provincial government is being “dismissive” and disregarding the needs of Indigenous Peoples.

The Indigenous leaders were invited to the Quebec legislature by the opposition Liberals and Quebec solidaire. While the Liberals have said they plan to vote against the bill, Quebec solidaire members plan to vote for it.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 10, 2022.


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