Critics rally against French-language bill

Feb. 18, 2013 at 3:01 PM

MONTREAL, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- A bill that would tighten Quebec's French-language charter is an attack on civil rights, say protesters demonstrating against the bill.

A few hundred people gathered in front of Provincial Premier Pauline Mario's office in Montreal to protest the proposal, The (Montreal) Gazette reported Sunday.

Beryl Wajsman, editor of the Suburban weekly newspaper, told the assembled crowd, "We will not accept second-class status."

The legislation, known as Bill 41, includes provisions that would revoke the bilingual status of towns where the English-speaking population has fallen below 50 percent, remove an exemption that allows children of military personnel to attend English school and increase the requirements for businesses to provide communications in French.

Public hearings on the bill will be held in April by a parliamentary committee.

Rights group Unity and Put Back the Flag, an organization that opposes removing the Canadian flag from the National Assembly, organized the protest, said Antoinette Mercurio, one of the organizers.

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