Protest held against Quebec's proposed Bill 96

Protesters turned out at Girouard Park Sunday.

A protest against Quebec's proposed language law Bill 96 was held Sunday at Girouard Park in NDG, attracting some 100 people. Protesters held signage that had the number 96 with a line through it, and another said, in French, "yes to protection, no to oppression." Many of them lined up to express their views to the media.

"Bill 96 is unacceptable in a liberal, democratic and free society," said event co-organizer Irwin Rapoport, who wants Ottawa to use its constitutional powers of disallowance against the proposed law the moment it passes. "There is no excuse to attack the English and cultural communities in such a disdainful and heinous way. We are all Quebecers, we are all equal."

Another co-organizer, Hugo Shebbeare, said Bill 96 is a "very regressive law. It's trying to say Quebec is unilingual and a nation, which alienates anybody who doesn't agree with that ideology. It feels like an affront to the bilingual community.”

Michael Shafter, another activist, suggested that for linguistic equality, people should stop buying lottery tickets, marijuana, and liquor. "These are avenues of revenue for the government and we must show them that we are serious about protecting our rights. We must also demand from Trudeau that he underwrite payment to the court challenge against Bill 96."

Attendee and Université de Montréal student Song Yang, 25, is forming the provincial Universal Party because he is dissatisfied with the current state of Quebec politics. "I think Bill 96 is an assault on freedom of speech, and it's way too much."

Malayha Vaillancourt, a 25-year-old who attends Champlain College in Sherbrooke-Lennoxville, said students, francophones, allophones and anglophone should have the right to attend whatever educational institution they wish. "Putting a limit on that would not be a benefit to our students, and that's what we're fighting."

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