B’nai Brith Believes ‘Law 101 Reform’ Can Expel Jews

Michael Mostyn, CEO of B’nai Brith, said his community shared many of the concerns already raised by other cultural agencies and city politicians — including that the legislature has preemptively invoked the non-inviting provision, to new language law against potential legal challenges based on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

But beyond those general concerns, he said, the law will have special implications for Quebec’s Jewish community, many of whose members speak English as a first or second language.

Mr. Mostyn is concerned that elderly immigrants from Ukraine and the former Soviet Union are no longer able to access services in English, and that young Jews are leaving the province because they no longer feel welcome.

At a press conference in Montreal on Monday, he felt that this reform of the Charter of the French Language basically pointing a gun at Quebecers’ heads by forcing them to use French in contexts where accommodation was previously possible for non-Francophones

According to Mr. Mostyn, this law violates the rights of minorities to participate fully in Quebec society and will lead to a reduction in health services and social programs for Quebecers who do not speak French.

Recruiting rabbis will be difficult, organization says

Prime Minister François Legault has repeatedly tried to reassure Anglophones that this reform will not stop people from being treated in English, and he has accused critics of the law of fomenting unnecessary fear.

But Marvin Rotrand, director of the human rights league at B’nai Brith, said he believes the law… very clear : Healthcare in English is not protected in non-emergency situations, such as doctor’s appointments.

He also said the law will make it more difficult to recruit rabbis from outside Quebec, as the reform tightens up an exception that allows these religious leaders to send their children to English-speaking Jewish schools.

He argued that previously children of rabbis could attend English schools for a period of three years – and that this exemption could be extended. However, under the new law, this grace period has been shortened and can no longer be extended.

They are afraid of a second exodus

The former Montreal city councilor believes that the combination of these 101″,”text”:”réforme de la loi101″}}”>law reform 101 and the law that respects the state’s secularism, which prohibits certain officials from wearing religious symbols at work, could prompt many young members of the Jewish community to leave Quebec.

Student and teacher demonstration against Bill 96 at John Abbott College, in Montreal (May 5, 2022)

Photo: Radio-Canada / Ivanoh Demers

mm. Rotrand and Mostyn fear a second exodussimilar to what happened in the 1970s and 1980s, when many Jews left for Toronto because of the Quebec sovereignty movement and the adoption of the Charter of the French Language, commonly known as 101″,”text”:”loi101″}}”>law 101

According to Mr. Rotrand, Quebec’s Jewish community is made up of approximately 53% English speakers, many of whom are elderly, and 20% of whom live below the poverty line. There’s a certain vulnerability there, he said. If the community [juive] To grow, it needs the support of the Quebec government and our fellow citizens.

The law respecting Quebec’s official and common language, French, was passed in the National Assembly on May 25 by a vote of 78 to 29. English-language CEGEPs and restricts access for some to communications and government services in languages ​​other than French.

While there are exceptions for members of the historic anglophone community On health, public safety and education, Rotrand says many members of the Jewish community are ineligible because they were born or attended school outside of Canada.

In standby mode

Meir Edery, who recently received a law degree from a French-speaking university, said Monday that he felt unwanted in Quebec by the law, even though he speaks French. this law et contre moi, même si je suis parfaitement bilingue”,”text”:”crée un climat de peur, un climat d’appréhension contre les anglophones –et contre moi, même si je suis parfaitement bilingue”}}”>creates a climate of fear, a climate of anxiety against English speakers – and against me, even though I am perfectly bilingualhe said.

While some groups, including the English Montreal School Board, have filed or plan to file legal objections to the law, Rotrand said he premature to say if B’nai Brith would do the same.

He said the agency first wanted to review the final text of the law to see if the Quebec government would be willing to make minor changes — or work with the community to implement it.

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