October 20, 2021

The Queens County Citizen

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Balarama Holness: A referendum to determine the Montreal language?

Balarama Holness: A referendum to determine the Montreal language?

Balarama Holness, a former Aloysius footballer who described himself as the third choice in the city mayoral race, suggested a referendum to determine whether Montreal was bilingual.

Also read: Montreal mayor is a minor player in the race

Also read: The Montreal mayor is a newcomer to the race

On June 24, he appealed for the metropolis to officially become bilingual, saying it was necessary because of Legalt Government Bill 96, which strengthens French defense in Quebec.

“I want to hold a referendum here in Montreal to decide whether to recognize the city of Montreal with bilingual status,” Mr Holness said.

“If we want to infringe on the rights of Anglophones in Montreal or the rights of bilingual people in Montreal, we have to defend ourselves. It is not just the National Assembly that can use the legal levers, ”he added.

He also condemned the use of government provision “which limits the judiciary’s ability to protect citizens”.

Although he was aware of the city’s limited powers, he was of the opinion that public support would force the government to grant subsidies.

“If there is a referendum here in Montreal on the language issue, Quebec will have a democratic responsibility to listen to us,” he said.

Limited powers

The Charter of the City of Montreal confirms in its first article that Montreal is a French-speaking city. The Borough of Pearfunds-Rocksboro has bilingual status, which was able to retain it after the municipal mergers.

“It seems to me that this is something raised by a person who wants to know themselves, but it does not seem to me to be allied with the stars”, sums up UQAM professor and political expert Daniel Pilat. Municipal.

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She suggested that it was possible for the municipal administration to survey its citizens through a referendum. However, in order for the metropolis to receive bilingual status, the Quebec government will have to amend the City Charter.

“We can apply all the pressure we want: a referendum, a poll or something, but for now I think the government is suggesting that it should not move,” Ms Pilot said, on the contrary, the regional government is instead trying to strengthen the French language.

In addition, she recalled that the city’s powers in matters of language were limited, mainly to the exchange of information with its citizens. “In most boroughs, the English language has more visibility, but it is more symbolic than all,” Ms Pilot said.

In his view the economic situation is also unfavorable, but the economic revival of the metropolis should monopolize the vision. Not to mention that there is a definite consensus regionally and federally on the importance of supporting the French language.

“It may be a way to gain notoriety, but for a party that aims to really be elected and have a majority on the council, this is a divisive maneuver,” the professor summed up.

Balarama who is holiness

Through training McGill is a law graduate and lawyer, he was born to a Jamaican father and a French-speaking mother.

He played football in the Canadian League, especially for the Montreal Alloyts, winning the 2010 Gray Cup.

In 2017, he became involved in municipal politics as a Project Montreal candidate for mayor of Montreal-Nord Borough. He lost to Kristin Black, however, with 33% of the vote.

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Following his defeat, he attacked Project Montreal, accusing the party of “exploiting” minority candidates and displaying systemic racism.

In 2019, after his petition on the matter exceeded the required number of signatures, he forced the city to hold a public consultation on systemic racism.

He launched himself in the Montreal mayoral race on May 20, defining himself as the third choice, and the thing that motivated him to start was that the parties in that position “do not represent the population”.

His party, the Movement Montreal, officially approved the June 22 election by Quebec.