(Ottawa) The Bloc Québécois considers it necessary to establish an administrative agreement between Ottawa and Quebec to ensure that their compromise on the protection of French is respected, particularly by the banks.

“Let’s keep an eye on the banks,” wrote Bloc Québécois leader Yves-François Blanchet in an open letter published Tuesday where he pleaded for the establishment of a “sustained watch” on the behavior of “refractory companies” so that they recognize “the inalienable right to work in French in Quebec”.

Mr. Blanchet explains that he “doubts the real effectiveness” of what the two orders of government have agreed, especially since it “validates a strange practice” by giving companies the choice between two laws, here the Official Languages ​​Act and the Charter of the French Language of Quebec, and to allow them to “take the one they prefer”.

On Friday, the Trudeau government announced at the end of clause-by-clause consideration of Bill C-13, which modernizes the Official Languages ​​Act, that it is tabling a series of amendments that reflect its arrangement with the Government of Quebec. . They were all adopted unanimously.

Thus, private companies under federal jurisdiction on Quebec soil will not ultimately be forced to submit to Quebec’s Charter of the French language, but it would be just like, or almost, if C-13 is adopted, did you -we explained.

As for the banks, “all” those who had to register with the Office québécois de la langue française (OQLF) have done so, said a spokeswoman for the institution. These are CIBC, HSBC, Laurentian, BMO, National, Royal, Scotia and TD.

In recent weeks, Air Canada and the National Railway Company (CN) announced that they were voluntarily registering with the OQLF, which they had been required to do for a few months following the adoption of Bill 96 by the National Assembly. Their decisions would have greatly facilitated negotiations with Ottawa, according to Quebec government officials.

The compromise between Ottawa and Quebec had convinced the New Democratic Party (NDP) on Friday to give up supporting an amendment – which the Liberals were categorically opposed to – aimed at subjecting these companies to Quebec’s Charter of the French language, which thus broke the majority formed with members of the Conservative Party and the Bloc.

Although he finds that Quebec has been unable to “snatch more from Ottawa”, Mr. Blanchet is delighted that the agreement can protect the French language. “It’s not a step backwards,” he insists, crediting his political party with “one obvious thing: without our sustained efforts for years, this progress would not even have been considered by Ottawa.”

The Bloc “will consider voting in favor” of the bill since its amended version “seems to correspond to the will of Quebec”. However, he will continue to “actively advocate” for the federal language regime to focus only on protecting French in the rest of the country “where its survival is in grave danger,” said Mr. Blanchet.

Now that committee study is complete, Bill C-13 is sent back to the House of Commons for report stage before third reading. It will then be sent to the Senate. The government hopes for rapid adoption.