Bloc to promote bill on French-language proficiency for new citizens

Virtue signalling, given that citizenship is exclusively under federal jurisdiction. Challenge for Liberal, CPC and NDP Quebec MPs and will see if any pander to this bill:

The Bloc Québécois will get to debate a bill Thursday that would require anyone applying for Canadian citizenship in Quebec to demonstrate functional proficiency in French.

Bloc Leader Yves-François Blanchet says that familiarity with the official language of Quebec is essential amid what he calls an ongoing threat to the mother tongue of most Quebecers.

Currently, most applicants must demonstrate a professional proficiency in either English or French to qualify for citizenship, but a private member’s bill Bloc MP Sylvie Bérubé introduced in February would change that to require French for immigrants who have settled in Quebec.

The chance to debate the legislation comes after Montreal Liberal MP Emmanuella Lambropoulos told the House of Commons official languages committee last week that the idea of a French-language decline is a “myth.”

She reversed her comments following a social media backlash, saying in a statement Saturday her remarks were “insensitive,” that French is in decline and that she hopes to find ways to protect it.

Blanchet said some Liberals threw Lambropoulos “under the bus” in calling her out for her initial remarks, and suggested the governing party was hypocritical in its professed concern for the state of the French language.

“What is insensitive actually is the reaction of the rest of her caucus,” Blanchet said Wednesday. “She probably said out loud what many of them do think.

“I strongly doubt that when they have private conversations in the corners of their caucus they say, ‘Oh, French is in a bad situation.'”

Meanwhile, reports of a recent tweet — since deleted — by Chelsea Craig, the Quebec director of the federal Liberal party, referring to the province’s 43-year-old language law as “oppressive” fanned the regional firestorm.

Craig posted a subsequent message to Twitter on Wednesday stressing that Bill 101 is important and stating in French that “French is declining in Quebec and it must be protected.”

But the damage was done. For the third day in a row, Bloc and Conservative MPs hammered the Trudeau government with questions about the state of the French language in Canada.

“It makes no sense,” Conservative MP Alain Rayes said in French during question period in the House of Commons Wednesday afternoon.

“Will the prime minister immediately condemn her disrespectful comments?”

Blanchet asked Trudeau whether he agreed with Craig.

“Does the prime minister of Canada believe that Bill 101 is ‘oppressive’ against the English in Quebec” Blanchet asked in French.

The prime minister replied that the government supports the law — known as the Charter of the French Language — and recognizes that in a bilingual Canada, Quebec “must be first and foremost French-speaking.”

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said Wednesday he supports stronger laws to protect French, adding that the government needs to provide more educational tools to foster language development.

Source: Bloc to promote bill on French-language proficiency for new citizens

Anti-terror bill: Can government balance security and civil rights?

The debate continues over the scope over the Government’s plans to introduce a bill with new measures on Friday:

The ideological debate is summarized by University of Ottawa national security law expert Craig Forcese.

“A risk-minimizing society would permit mass detentions in the expectation that the minimal increase in public safety from the dragnet would outweigh the massive injury to civil liberties,” he writes.

“A rights-maximizing society, however, would deny the state the power to detain except through conventional criminal proceedings, for which it would impose demanding standards, even at the risk of leaving people free whose intent and capacity are clear but whose terrorist acts lie in the future.”

In a recent statement to the Citizen, Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien said: “Canadians want to be safe, but they also care profoundly about their privacy rights.

“Horrific attacks on innocent people obviously raise concerns about safety. But I was struck by the fact that, immediately after the attacks in Ottawa and in Paris, many people were talking about the importance of also protecting democratic rights such as free speech and privacy.

“Security is essential to maintain democratic rights, but our national security responses to acts of terror must be proportionate and designed in a way that protects the democratic values that are pillars of our Canadian society.”

Anti-terror bill: Can government balance security and civil rights? | Ottawa Citizen.