A spontaneous demonstration on Saturday afternoon in front of Air Canada’s main office in Montreal, among other things due to rain, has just ended.
A number of parties and civil society organizations spoke for about an hour during this peaceful protest.
The gathering of about 100 people took place in response to an English-language speech by Air Canada President and CEO Michael Russo in early November. On the other hand, Société St-Jean-Baptiste does not specifically target the CEO, but rather the Board of Directors of Air Canada.
“We are asking the board of directors to do its job,” says Marie-Anne Allen, president of Société St-Jean-Baptiste de Montréal.
“They do not implement their language action plan at all, they do not even respect the law of official languages, they do not respect our charter for the French language,” explains Ms. Albin.
“We send them this message, and yes we understand that there are French courses to be taken, it is great, but the language cannot be learned so quickly. We are asking the board of directors to do what they have to do because Air Canada has to be exemplary.”
Anger still mounts against the senior president of Air Canada, even if he’s just started learning French. There have been several resignation calls since early November, and there will be another one this afternoon.
According to Ms. Allen, it is reassuring that there have been assaults.
“French is everyone’s business and Quebec’s business language, and the message here is clear,” she adds. People realize that we have to protect and defend the French. It has fallen on Mr. Rousseau, but it is the tip of the iceberg. It really shows a problem that’s been around for a very long time.”
“The world really squat On this issue, and we’ve seen it, civil society, columnists, and journalists. Everyone called my office to say it didn’t make sense,” adds Dennis Trudel, MP for Longueuil-Saint-Hubert.
“Now, we have to stay motivated about the issue of Quebec having to be French, and that’s what we’ve seen offended by this.”
According to Mr. Trudel, the Michael Rousseau case is part of the culture of global managers who come to work in Montreal for a few years but don’t adjust to French-speaking Quebec culture.
“I’ve seen the changes you made with the CEO of SNC-Lavallin,” he notes. “That means they’re feeling the pressure, we brought up this issue, and I’m happy with today’s demo and the fact that the CEO has backtracked on this.”
Mr Trudel stresses that the important thing for him is to make people angry about the situation. “The important thing is that the community unites and that everyone wants Quebec to remain a unique French-speaking community.”
“We will fight in Ottawa. There is not much that Ottawa can do, Mr. Trudeau said, it is unacceptable for him to have the CEO give his speech only in English, but he has appointed a governor-general who does not speak French. He is himself in contradiction.”
“Certified food fanatic. Extreme internet guru. Gamer. Evil beeraholic. Zombie ninja. Problem solver. Unapologetic alcohol lover.”