Actualités By Sasha Teman 536 Views

Convoy protest against Bill 96 rolls through West Island

A group of caravan protesters rolled through Montreal's West Island Saturday to denounce Quebec's French language law, Bill 96.

"Our volunteers are getting a lot more calls," said Mario Napolitano, president of the Bridging Ethnic Communities group. "People want to get involved. They want change."

Last month, around a hundred protesters drove through the streets of Montreal in a similar demonstration. This time, their numbers increased to around 150.

"Every time we do a convoy, we get a lot of feedback, support, and the movement keeps growing," said Napolitano.

This time, Napolitano collaborated with another organization, known as the Task Force on Linguistic Policy, that is also gaining ground in Quebec's anglophone community.

"There's a lot of interest, people are looking for leaders," said Task Force Volunteer Marc Perez. "Everything I'm hearing online is giving me the courage to stand up and be the voice, and that's what the Task Force is."

The group filed a lawsuit against Bill 96 on May 31.

Protestors like Sharon Freedom say they're not just defending the rights of anglophones, but also those of immigrants.

"We desperately need immigrants, but immigrants are not going to learn French in six months. It's totally unrealistic," she told CTV News.

It's an opinion shared by protestor and psychology student Olivia Bernath, who works with children with learning disabilities.

"That's not enough time to properly learn a language, especially if you're already ESL, English as a second language," she said. "The pressure of learning a third language is a lot, especially for kids with learning disabilities."

Pressure that Theo Borck says is unfair towards her non-Francophone colleagues who worked with her on the frontlines at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"They were people from the Caribbean, they were people from the Philippines, working harder than anyone I'd ever seen, putting everything on the line -- and now they're basically being told they're not good enough for us."

Mario Napolitano says he's already planning the next convoy, which is set to take place toward the end of September through Lasalle, Verdun and Pointe-Saint-Charles.