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The National Assembly appoints the commissioner for the French language



(Quebec) The National Assembly appointed the very first French language commissioner on Wednesday. The candidate of Prime Minister François Legault, Benoît Dubreuil, obtained the support of Québec solidaire, the Parti Québécois and the independent and former Liberal MP Marie-Claude Nichols. The Quebec Liberal Party (PLQ) voted against his nomination.

Ninety-five deputies supported the motion submitted by Mr. Legault in the Blue Room. The 17 Liberals present rejected it. The appointment of the commissioner required the support of at least two-thirds of the deputies.

The PLQ had announced Friday that it opposed the candidacy of Mr. Dubreuil because of “significant differences of vision”. He invoked passages from the essay The Imaginary Remedy — Why Immigration Won’t Save Quebec (Boréal, 2011), which Benoît Dubreuil co-wrote with demographer Guillaume Marois.

For its part, QS had made an about-face on Thursday and had finally decided to vote in favor of the appointment of Mr. Dubreuil.

“It is with immense enthusiasm that I have accepted to take on this newly created function for the next seven years,” commented the new commissioner in a message posted on his Facebook account. He will take office on 1er March.

“I accept this new challenge on the strength of the experience acquired over the past twenty years in the university environment, in the Government of Quebec and in the Government of Canada,” writes Benoît Dubreuil. Those who know me know that I also bring a passion for the French language, the defense and development of which in America and elsewhere have always been close to my heart. I will now have the honor of devoting all my energy to it. »

Doctor of philosophy, Benoît Dubreuil has obtained various positions within the federal apparatus in recent years. He was, until his appointment as commissioner, director general of regional operations for the east of the country at the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada. From 2016 to 2019, he held an executive position 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.

The French Language Commissioner is a new watchdog created under the An Act respecting the official and common language of Quebec, French (Bill 96), passed last year. The mandate is for seven years and cannot be renewed.

The commissioner is responsible for “monitoring the evolution of the linguistic situation in Quebec”, according to the law. 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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