Municipalities across Quebec vow to keep bilingual status

The town of Otterburn Park on Montreal's south shore is a sleepy bedroom community with lots of houses and green spaces, but not many Anglophones. Of the 8,400

residents, only 7.2  per cent are considered Anglos. Despite the paltry number of historically English-speaking people living there, the town plans on tabling a resolution at its

council meeting this week, retaining its right to bilingual status, and to offer services in English. In a statement, Mayor Melanie Villeneuve told Global News, "It is

important to me that the City be able to offer quality service to all its citizens, particularly to potentially vulnerable groups of people. "Our English-speaking

population is overrepresented among seniors, especially senior women living alone." Last December, the Office québécois de la langue française (OQLF) sent notices to 47

municipalities across the province, informing the towns they would lose their official bilingual status within 120 days, as their Anglophone populations were below 50 per

cent. It comes after the government passed Bill 96, strengthening elements of Bill 101. However, the law has a loophole, where towns can retain their status, if they pass a

resolution affirming their bilingual status. Last week, the Longueuil borough of Greenfield Park passed a resolution to protect its 26 per cent English population.

"It was a question too because the Anglophone community, they are really involved in our organizations, community, social, sports, so this is a question of the respect of the

heritage," said Borough mayor Sylvain Joly.