5 Fundamental Principles
The proposals we are advancing are the result of thorough reflection following several consultations. In order to undertake this process, we first identified the fundamental principles that should guide us. It was important for us to identify the foundations upon which all Quebecers of all origins could readily unite and rally.
The first fundamental principle is the inalienable right to work in French.
We have a historic responsibility to Quebecers to always ensure that the wealth of professional opportunities are made accessible to them in French. Of course, mastering several languages adds to our collective wealth, but it should not be required except in limited and justified situations. Recent reports from the Office Québécois de la Langue Française on businesses’ language requirements on the workforce remind us of our duty to be vigilant so as to avoid the exception slowing becoming the rule.
The second principle is that of Quebecers’ shared responsibility to ensure the vitality of French in Quebec.
A society is made up of individuals and a language that lives through its speakers. Our collective responsibility regarding the status of French in Quebec must also be rooted in our individual actions. The government of Quebec is responsible for ensuring that the French language flourishes by providing Quebecers with the tools they need to master and showcase it, and ensure that it holds a central place in our collective life.
The quality of our language, both spoken and written, is the third principle for which no effort should be spared.
We must collectively invest in our mastery of French. We are immersed in a world where English takes up so much space in several spheres of our daily lives, including through the multiplication of new technologies. It is paramount that we ensure that our collective vocabulary is enriched by French equivalents to the new realities that are emerging and that we cultivate pride in and the learning of a language that is well spoken and well written.
The fourth principle is that of partnering with English-speaking communities.
We must work hand in hand, not in opposition. The English-speaking communities have rights that need to be protected. Access to public services in English for those Quebec citizens cannot be a threat to the status of French in Quebec. Indeed, Quebec has English-speaking communities that are deep-rooted and that contribute to our collective wealth. Their attachment to this land of Quebec cannot be called into question, nor can the relevance of their presence here. They are Quebecers in their own right, and are marked by the same sense of collective pride that is shared by all those who call Quebec their home.
The fifth principle lies in students having the freedom to choose their institution of higher learning.
Attendance by Allophones at French language CEGEPs has increased steadily over the years, from 25.1% in 1985, to 57.9% in 2015. While Francophone college institutions remain very attractive due to the quality of their programs and their teaching, Anglophone institutions are attractive as well, in particular for their pre-university programs. We must preserve the balance between access to these institutions for the English-speaking community and the possibility of Francophones attending the establishment of their choosing, in compliance with admission requirements for the programs sought.
These five principles guide the Liberal Party’s proposals on language.
They are essential to rallying our society around the fundamental cause of preserving and promoting our French language. Together, let’s take action for French so that we can hand future generations a society that beats to the rhythm of a strong, vigorous French language with an accent that is all our own.