With discussion and changes being made to Quebec’s Bill 96, which will overhaul language laws in the province, underway in the National Assembly this week, the President of the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) Marlene Jennings published a tweet comparing the CAQ’s use of the notwithstanding clause in Bill 96 to their support for Ukraine. Earlier that day, Legualt had made a statement expressing his support for the people of Ukraine as well as welcoming refugees from the ongoing conflict with Russia.
While the original tweet has since been deleted, CTV reported that it was as follows:
“I have to ask myself how does François Legault square his awesome support for Ukraine’s democratic society while at the same time his government wants, with Bill 96, to suspend all charter rights and freedoms of all Quebecers? Just asking.”
Jennings doubled down in a follow up tweet:
The QCGN is an umbrella group of English community organizations and lobbies the province on their behalf. It receives funding from the federal government through the Department of Canadian Heritage. Jennings is a former Liberal MP for the Montreal riding of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine who took the helm back in November 2020.
Bill 96 has been a hot-button issue that the QCGN and its affiliate groups have been vocal in criticizing.
The statements received plenty of condemnation from media commentators and Quebec politicians. Premier Legault issued a brief response to the original that translates to: “Comparing the defense of the Ukrainian people with the defense of French in Quebec. Really?”
Quebec Liberal leader and official opposition head Dominique Anglade also took Jennings to task, calling her words “unacceptable”:
CHIP 101.9 emailed the QCGN with follow up questions on the situation and they replied with a statement from Jennings:
“Let’s be clear. The QCGN and I stand with the premier and all Quebecers in support of the Ukrainian people and in opposition to the Russian invasion. While linking the situation in Ukraine and Bill 96 is perhaps clumsy, it is important to emphasize that for months the QCGN has been calling on Premier Legault to justify measures limiting our rights and freedoms that are imbedded in Bill 96.”
The full statement by Jennings is below: