Does Legault care about English-speaking voters? Q&A with lecturer, anglo activist

"He is trying to keep appealing to the people who got him into power in the first place," says CEGEP and university lecturer, Bonnie Feigenbaum, accusing Premier Francois Legault of not caring about Anglophone voters. Full interview here.

Last week Quebec Premier François Legault declined an invitation to participate in the only English provincial debate ahead of the planned fall election.

The debate – set to take place Sept. 20 ahead of the Oct. 3 general election – was officially cancelled later that day.

The premier’s office said he had already committed to two French-language debates and wouldn’t have time to add another.

CityNews spoke to English CEGEP and university lecturer Bonnie Feigenbaum about the premier’s decision and what it means for anglophone voters.

Premier Legault declined the invitation for the English-language debate ahead of the provincial election, forcing its cancellation. What kind of message does this send to the anglophone community?

“In my opinion, the message is quite clear to the anglophone community: ‘I don’t care. I don’t need you. I don’t want you to do engage with us.’ I really feel that the message that he’s sending the anglophone community is ‘get out.’

“He is trying to keep appealing to the people who got him into power in the first place. We can see that as we look through the map where CAQ was elected, and where they were not and I believe he is trying to fortify his stronghold. And in doing that, he’s just letting the anglophone and allophone community totally down.”


Do you think that the Bill 96 rally from last weekend made a splash in any way, and is forcing the government to think about anglo concerns?

“In an idealistic world? I would say yes, there were thousands of people there. I was there. My husband and I actually biked down and were actually shocked. Because we were we were ahead of the rally, we actually spoke to the 15 band members, right in front of the Roddick gates, and my husband’s a drummer. So right away, he started speaking to the drummer about his kit in French and the drummer and all the band members who spoke to us right away switched into English and were engaging with us in English. And then we read in the Gazette later on that evening, that these 15 kids were pro Bill 96. It doesn’t make sense to me in this world wide web that we live in, that francophones are actually allowing their opportunities to be reduced.”

What do you say when you hear the minister responsible for the French language, Simon Jolin-Barrette, calling angle concerns over Bill 96 “unfounded”?

“No, they’re not unfounded. They’re real concerns. When you have a relationship with somebody, and we as anglophones are supposed to have a relationship with the government, with our government. When you tell somebody your feelings don’t matter, and that’s what they’re saying to us: ‘your concerns are unfounded. It doesn’t matter what you say.’

And the reality is the rally is going to mean nothing because they have the numbers to push through Bill 96. And they will. It’s something that I’ve been living with for 40 years, I’ve been involved in this type of anglophone activism, fairness, fair trade, trying to get the government to realize the importance of commerce.

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