Quebec MNA wants French classes to be mandatory for immigrants

An illustration of the range of views in the CAQ caucus, this one on the more hardline side:

The more MNA Claire Samson is calling on the Quebec government to make French language courses mandatory for immigrants.

Samson, a member of the governing Coalition Avenir Québec who represents Iberville riding, was her party’s culture critic when in the opposition.

In 2016, she produced a report on language and immigration calling for compulsory French classes for immigrants and to make their immigration status conditional on passing a language test.

In an interview with Presse canadienne, Samson said her party campaigned on the report and now it needs to follow up.

Immigration Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette announced Friday that the government would spend an additional $70 million on French classes for immigrants.

But Samson said the government has not gone far enough, and she intends to lobby for more aggressive measures to force newcomers to learn French when the National Assembly resumes in the fall.

French in Quebec is threatened in the very short term and the situation could become irreversible within 15 years, she said.

“It would be difficult to turn it around if there is too much laxity and there is no follow-up,” she said.

Quebec needs to impose the French language on immigrants to counterbalance to the powerful attraction of English, she said.

“It must be done now, because eventually it may be too late,” she warned.

Samson said she has recovered from the health problems that had prevented her from attending the National Assembly regularly since November.

Samson considered quitting politics last fall after she was bypassed for a cabinet post. At the time, she attributed her health problems partly to being left out of cabinet. In March, she attended a meeting in a daycare centre, where constituents complained that she was rude and arrogant. She later apologized.

Source: MNA wants French classes to be mandatory for immigrants

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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