Quebec Standard

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Clash for minority languages could spark a new Quebec political group


Key takeaways: 

  • Bill 96 protest group looks to foray into regional politics in a throwback to Equality Party days.
  • After starting a task force to fight Bill 96 and fight to defend minority languages in Quebec, Colin Standish is thinking of founding a new regional political party. 

When the CAQ government tabled Bill 96 the previous May, Colin Standish of Sherbrooke, Que., made a task force getting together English, Indigenous, and minority-language speakers to fight the region’s plan to rebuild its language rules.

About a year later, the law graduate, who once considered heading for the federal Liberals, created a new group — the Exploratory Committee on Political Options — to see if his language-protest movement had sufficient help to find a new regional political party.

“Minority neighborhoods in Quebec, English speakers have been left by our political elite — including the Liberal Party of Quebec,” Standish informed CBC.

“Right now, there ought to be a new voice at the National Assembly.”

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CAQ government tabled Bill 96 the previous May

Standish knows he doesn’t have much time with the regional election overlooking in October. He and his group have created a website to count how many people share their idea, and he says so far, support has been “overwhelming.” The group will choose whether it launches Quebec’s 22nd political party in the coming months.

“Certainly, a stress on minority rights and language rights is essential to what we intend to do,” said Standish. “But to make sure, we’re setting together with a productive narrative that can concern all Quebecers, including francophones, Indigenous [people], and newcomers.”

Whether or not Standish chooses to establish a new party, Quebec Liberal leader Dominique Anglade has noticed.

“I think the party that can be relied on to protect the rights of minorities in the Liberal Party,” she said at the National Assembly Wednesday morning.

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