A petition has been launched to reinstate the license of a local veterinarian, Dr. Melissa Jowett, who recently lost hers due to a lack of fluency in French. Chantal Chrétien, a local farmer who started the petition, said that once she found out about Jowett’s situation, she sprang into action, as she is the only veterinarian in the region who treats horses.
Chrétien pointed out that there aren’t too many options close by for horses, which is incredibly dangerous in the case of an emergency. She added that the two other large animal vets in the area are quite busy and mainly specialize in cattle.
Chrétien, who is a francophone, said that she hopes the authorities make an exception for Dr. Jowett due to the bilingual nature of the area she serves.
The petition can be found here. As of May 3 it had more than 3,200 signatures.
Pontiac MNA André Fortin shared the petition on social media and noted that under Bill 96, the province’s overhaul of language laws, there could be more cases of professional orders revoking the licenses of members for their lack of fluency:
“There is an important shortage of vets in Québec,” he wrote. “That shortage is even more obvious in the Pontiac. Meanwhile, an appreciated veteranarian, [sic] who happens to be the only vet treating horses in our region, will have to cease offering her services because of language restrictions. In this context, I support without hesitation her (and the Order of Veteranarians’) [sic] request to the OQLF for an exemption. Sadly, this is the type of unfortunate situation that will happen much more if Bill 96 is adopted, as members of all professional orders will be required to achieve and uphold strict language standards and may be tested anytime. This is one of the numerous reasons I will be voting against the Bill.”
The full interview with Chrétien is available here.