“I had a great conversation with John Abbott College Executive Director John Halpin about the controversial Bill 96. As you can see from the photo, Mr. Halpin is strongly opposed to this bill which would severely limit access to English colleges in Quebec and reduce opportunities for both French and English students. He has been pressing the provincial government to rethink its approach to protecting the French language.
Bill 96 limits the percentage of students who can study in English. The cap is not at the current level, but rather a steady reduction in relative capacity over the next few years. This will prevent many Francophone students from being able to study at the college level in English. Many Francophones choose to attend English colleges in Quebec in order to become proficient in English as a second language, which opens doors for them in terms of employment and university enrollment. Many anglophones attend francophone colleges for the same reason.
Bill 96 would handicap English students’ chances of graduating from college or being accepted to university by imposing three core courses. Many English-speaking students did not have adequate French as a second language in high school and would fail these courses or receive lower grades – something that cannot be taken lightly in an environment where students are competing for university admissions. Student success is at risk because of nationalism in an election year. Halpin agrees that more can be done to protect French, such as ensuring that elementary and high school students learn a second language before reaching the college level. The Green Party of Quebec is strongly opposed to Bill 96 and will continue to defend the rights of students to study in the language of their choice at the college level.
Limiting students’ opportunities and success for political reasons is the wrong approach. Thousands of students will feel the negative effects of this bill if it passes. Some will not be able to continue their education, others will not get into the programs of their choice. Education is something that should be supported and encouraged; not used as a political soccer in an election year.
In solidarity, Alex Tyrrell Leader of the Green Party of Quebec”.