Pierrefonds-Roxboro, Beaconsfield join clamor to maintain bilingual service

Pollock: “82 communities opposing Bill 14”

By Robert Frank

Quebec government efforts to strip many municipalities of their right to provide service in languages other than French would be detrimental to the province, Cathérine Clément-Talbot told The Suburban.

“We want to maintain the bilingual status of the borough,” the councilor for Cap St. Jacques district asserted.

“In Pierrefonds-Roxboro, 30 per cent of our citizens are French, 32.6 per cent are English and 37.4 per cent are from other cultural communities,” explained Clément-Talbot , who is serving as the borough’s interim mayor during Monique Worth’s absence.

She characterized relations between members of the borough’s diverse language groups as “very harmonious”.

“The English language is a passport to the world. Many Pierrefonds-Roxboro residents
come from abroad to work in the pharmaceutical and aerospace industries,” noted Clément-Talbot. “Their knowledge is important to the province of Quebec.”

Many of those English-speaking knowledge workers are transferred to Quebec temporarily, she observed, particularly on the West Island.

“They might reside in Pierrefonds-Roxboro for 4-5 years and [under legal exemptions for temporary residents] send their children to English school, but they need to be able to read their tax bills and other information that we send to residents,” Clément-Talbot said.

Remains optimistic

She said that during its regular council meeting, Jan. 14, Pierrefonds-Roxboro introduced a resolution opposing tightening Quebec’s language laws, which it plans to adopt at its next meeting, Feb. 4.

“For us, it is very important to help citizens understand how we pick up the garbage, restrict cutting trees and deliver other services, and we want to be able to continue to furnish service in English and French as we have done for many years.”

Beaconsfield city council passed a similar resolution during its regular meeting, Jan. 28.

According to Mayor David Pollock, “82 communities around Quebec are all adopting the same resolution.”

“All parties will be presenting their positions in meetings between March and May to try to ensure that this section of the law doesn’t come into force,” he added.

“All of these cities are looking forward to making representations,” agreed Clément-Talbot.

“I am optimistic because we passed this resolution and we want to serve the people as they have always been served,” she concluded. “Things need to remain as they are.”

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