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French Language Commissioner | QS flip-flop, green light for Legault’s candidate



(Québec) Québec solidaire (QS) is changing its tune and will finally vote in favor of the appointment of Benoît Dubreuil as the very first French language commissioner. Prime Minister François Legault’s candidate will be officially named next week.

On December 9, the last day of the fall session, Mr. Legault wanted to propose the nomination of Mr. Dubreuil to the National Assembly, but he gave up after QS announced his intention to vote against it and the Parti Quebec Liberal (PLQ) did an about-face.

The parliamentary leader of QS, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, argued that his party is opposed to this candidacy because it is not “unifying”. “This candidacy has, in the past, expressed positions that do not join us,” he added, without giving details. He evoked, without naming it, the test The imaginary remedy – Why immigration will not save Quebec (Boréal, 2011) that Benoît Dubreuil co-wrote with demographer Guillaume Marois.

QS had taken up position without meeting Mr. Dubreuil. Following an offer from the government, the party agreed to have an interview with the candidate, a meeting which took place last Friday. The caucus took a stand on Wednesday.

“We had a discussion that was frank and cordial. We have come back to past writings by Mr. Dubreuil which, in our opinion, do not reflect our vision of immigration and the future of Quebec. We come out of this meeting with the impression that he is a competent man who is capable of occupying these functions, ”said Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois during a press briefing Thursday.

“It might not have been our choice, but we have to give the rider a chance. We will watch him closely. You don’t sign a blank cheque. But he seems to have the necessary skills to occupy this position. We will vote for his nomination. »

According to him, QS is thus “the proof that meeting people before fixing his judgment on the person, sometimes, often, that allows us to move forward”. He thus alluded to the decision of his party not to demand the resignation of Amira Elghawaby, Canada’s new special representative in charge of the fight against Islamophobia, and to meet her first. The “reluctance” of his party with regard to Mr. Dubreuil “is not of the same ilk” as that linked to the “unacceptable remarks of Elghawaby,” he nuanced. But “before saying that someone is good or bad for the job, meeting them is important”.

With QS’ decision, the Legault government intends to propose to the National Assembly next week to appoint Mr. Dubreuil to the post of French Language Commissioner, a new watchdog created under Law 96 passed last year. .

This appointment requires the support of two-thirds of the deputies. The Coalition avenir Québec already has more than 66% of the deputies, but the government generally seeks unanimity, or at least broad support, to make this kind of appointment. The Parti Québécois already supports Mr. Dubreuil’s candidacy.

For its part, the Quebec Liberal Party will in turn meet the candidate on Thursday. In December, he hinted to the government that the candidacy of Benoît Dubreuil did not pose a problem for them, only to then turn around on the day scheduled for the vote. The government hopes that the PLQ will also change its mind, but it intends to move forward no matter what.

Doctor of philosophy, Benoît Dubreuil has obtained various positions within the federal apparatus. He is currently acting director general of regional operations for the east of the country at the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada. From 2016 to 2019, he worked at Indigenous Services Canada.

He previously worked at the Commission for the Evaluation of College Education, as well as at the Center for International Studies and Research at the University of Montreal, among others.

According to Bill 96, “the person proposed by the Prime Minister” for the position of French language commissioner “must have a sensitivity as well as a marked interest in the protection of the French language”. The mandate is for seven years and cannot be renewed.

The commissioner is responsible for “monitoring the evolution of the linguistic situation in Quebec”. In particular, it must “monitor the knowledge, learning and use of French by immigrants”.

Its function is to “supervise respect for the fundamental rights” conferred by the Charter of the French language and “the fulfillment of the obligations” that it imposes on businesses and the public administration.

It has investigative powers and can intervene in court for the defense of French. It has the power to formulate opinions and recommendations to the Minister of the French Language, to the government and to the National Assembly.

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