by Monica Popescu
A Parti Québécois candidate told Journalism students on Monday night that because anglophones don't get involved in provincial politics, they shouldn't complain about being poorly represented in the Quebec civil service.
François Beaulne, a member of the National Assembly for nine years and candidate for the riding of Marguerite d'Youville, was one of two candidates in the November 30 Quebec election invited to address a class of Journalism students.
Liberal Thomas Mulcair, who is running for a second mandate in Chomedey, replied that the Quebec government should encourage visible and linguistic minorities by setting up quotas and internship programs. The government should "break the shell" of Quebec City'svirtually homogeneous francophone public service to reflect the diversity of Quebec.
Beaulne responded that the
PQ has demonstrated openness,
and integration has to be a combined effort. In any case, anglophones tend to prefer working for the federal rather than the provincial government.
On language, Beaulne said at one point that the PQ recognizes English as being equal to French, but later promised that "as long as the PQ is there, there is no way that Quebec will be a bilingual province."
Mulcair said that the problem with Bill 101 didn't come from the language law itself but from its abusive application. The government has placed itself above the law, and language inspectors give it "a ridiculous and incorrect interpretation."
Another hot issue on which the candidates presented opposite positions was access to health services in English. Beaulne declared that it doesn't represent a problem and that the English community is well served. "I don't think that anybody ever died in Quebec because he couldn't be served in English,"
However, Mulcair read a list of dates to show how the PQ government has delayed since January 1997 the application of programs of access to health and social services in English. "Action speaks louder than words," he concluded.