Duplessis prefers status quo

Supports Montreal, North Shore regions’ municipal resolutions opposing Bill 14

By Robert Frank

“We want to continue to provide good service to our English community,” Laval Mayor Alexandre Duplessis assured The Suburban in an interview, March 1.

“Our city is a French city,” he said. “Laval doesn’t have bilingual status and we plan to keep our French status, but we intend to provide a lot of information in English like [the city’s news magazine] Vivre à Laval.”

“We want to remain as we are,” Mayor Duplessis asserted. “Laval is different from Montreal, which has some very English districts on the West Island, in Westmount and other communities.”

“We support the Union des municipalités du Québec’s motion,” he added, referring to a Feb. 15 statement by UMQ president Éric Forget.

A solution seeking a problem

Forget, who also serves as mayor of Rimouski, cautioned the Parti Québecois government that Bill 14 would “introduce measures unlikely to solve current problems, and instead risks creating others.”

The UMQ board, which comprises municipalities large and small that represent six million citizens—80 percent of Quebec’s population—called on the provincial government “to maintain the status quo for municipalities and boroughs that have bilingual status.”

“We demand that no decision to withdraw recognition of [bilingual] municipalities be taken without such a resolution being approved by the city or borough council affected, consistent with the principle of municipal self-government.”

In addition, 89 individual Quebec municipalities have passed their own, identical motions opposed the Parti Québécois government’s initiative to strip many cities of their bilingual status.

Mayor Duplessis also voiced his support for municipalities on Montreal Island and the North Shore.

“Rosemere and parts of Montreal [currently] have bilingual status,” he observed. “So I support that in their municipalities.”

“No motion is planned at this time for Laval council,” he concluded. “Our position is to support other municipalities through the UMQ.”

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