Bill 96: Rules for accessing English services in Quebec could change

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Parts of Quebec’s controversial language law that took effect Thursday could still be tweaked, according to the minister responsible for the French language.

“Of course, we will adjust during the next days and weeks to improve our way,” said Jean-Francois Roberge on Friday. “It’s important that in Quebec we know French is the only official language.”

Despite the City of Cote Saint-Luc poking fun at the requirements for service in English, Roberge says it’s up to common sense, not a burden of proof.

“We will rely on the good faith of Quebecers. We won’t ask people to bring a card or something like that,” he said.

The CAQ defended Bill 96 again Friday, insisting it doesn’t promote French at the expense of English.

“It does not limit access to services (…) services will be provided first in French, but of course, if you want to file your income tax return and you need help in English, you will receive help in English,” said Eric Girard , the minister responsible for relations with English-speaking Quebecers.

The Parti Quebecois said it shows the bill has too much red tape.

Quebec solidaire voted in favor of the law but said elements such as having English access at the top of some municipal websites are useless.

“There’s a lot of good things in Bill 96, but this element, we will make it (…) we will delete it from the law, because it’s not applicable, and it’s (…) we have this ridiculous situation,” said Ruba Ghazal , Quebec solidaire MNA.

The Liberals call it a joke.

“I can understand for some persons to see this as a laughing matter,” said interim Liberal leader Marc Tanguay.

The premiere didn’t speak to the latest criticisms of the bill Friday, but Roberge said he wasn’t surprised by the reaction because the original language law had a similar one.

Cote Saint-Luc and other municipalities are promising a lawsuit, adding to a list of legal challenges to the legislation, which passed one year ago.

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