Anglade accuses government of sneaking in Bill 101
Dominique Anglade, leader of the Quebec Liberal Party, talks with students at Dawson College.
Visiting Dawson College this Thursday, February 23, the leader of the Quebec Liberal Party, Dominique Anglade accuses the Legault government of imposing Bill 101 and prioritizing French-speaking establishments, after having backpedaled regarding the financing of the expansion project. from Dawson English Cegep.
“The government is doing backwards, which it is not capable of doing forwards,” proclaims Dominique Anglade, leader of the Liberal Party of Quebec, in the middle of one of the cafeterias of Dawson College located in Westmount. “However, we were extremely clear, the law 101, we do not want it to apply to Cégeps” recalls Anglade. “It's hypocritical for the Coalition (Avenir Québec) to say that's not what they're doing, when that's exactly what it is,” she says.
On Wednesday, after first closing the door to Bill 101, the purpose of which was to prevent French-speaking and allophone students from attending an English-speaking public CEGEP, the government also adopted an amendment to oblige all CEGEP students English speakers to pass three courses given in French, in order to obtain their diploma.
A few days earlier, Dawson College, the largest English-speaking CEGEP in Quebec, had been refused funding of 100 million dollars, yet mentioned for a long time by the government, to carry out the work necessary for its expansion, Legault wishing instead promote French-speaking CEGEPs.
For her part, Dawson's general manager, Diane Gauvin, said she was “enraged” following the proposal by the Minister of Higher Education, Danielle McCann, to look at “other less expensive options” such as the rental of new premises in place of the works. “We are not talking about having more students, we want more room for those who already exist,” says Diane Gauvin. “These expansion works are absolutely essential, and our students are treated unfairly compared to other CEGEPs, it’s discriminatory,” she concludes.
The final decision on whether or not to go ahead with the Dawson expansion project will be revealed when Quebec’s next budget is tabled, in the Plan québécois des infrastructures (PQI).
Student mobilization and petitions
In addition to a petition posted on the website of the National Assembly of Quebec, to ask the government to finance the expansion work, the Dawson Student Union also launched a petition that brought together Thursday, February 23 at noon 4000 signatures from French and English CEGEP students, as well as high school students, also concerned for their future.
Left right: Shirin Hinojosa Violante, Adelka Felcarek-Hope and Daniela Diaz Jimenez, representatives of the Dawson student union.
“The government is dividing two languages and prioritizing people who speak French. It’s a kind of discrimination and it weighs heavily on us,” explains Daniela Diaz Jimenez, representative of technical students at Cégep Dawson and 25-year-old student of Peruvian origin. “Here in Dawson, we have anglophones, francophones and allophones. It's a big ethnic mix of lots of communities living together. We must not be divided,” adds Shirin Hinojosa Violante, another union representative, 19, of Mexican origin. “We know that English is a really practical language. We like to speak it and we voluntarily chose to stay here. But we really don't have enough space,” replies Adelka Felcarek-Hope, a 19-year-old Czech and Korean student representing Dawson's science students.
“There are days at 8 a.m. when we all arrive from the entrance to the metro, there are queues all the way outside to be able to get in,” explains Daniela Diaz Jimenez. “In the cafeteria, you have to wait for tables to become free so you can eat with your friends,” adds the student. “We are often stopped on the stairs, because there are too many people picked up in the same place and there can be accidents” specifies Adelka Felcarek-Hope, who also mentions that the 2nd floor is too small and the lack of space in the rooms.
“The traffic jams in the establishment are sick, we need the works to work comfortably. There are other establishments where this situation would not be accepted. Why us yes? finally asks Shirin Hinojosa Violante.