Bill 96 is nearing adoption at a time when research shows numerous challenges facing English-speakers in Quebec. “Not only are English-speakers doing relatively less well, at the same time we’re contending with myths that we’re doing better,” says Lorraine O’Donnell, a research associate at the Quebec English-Speaking Communities Research Network at Concordia University.

“My sense is that there is a lot of concern, a lot of anxiety,” said Celine Cooper, a political analyst and former Montreal Gazette columnist who is currently director-general of the Consortium of English-language CEGEPs, Colleges and Universities of Quebec.

“There is real concern and anxiety and worry about where this is all going,” said Cooper, who has two children, of whom one is nearing CEGEP age.

“This is the first time, really, where we are in deep reflection around what these changes in Bill 96 could mean for our family, for our kids’ sense of belonging to Quebec,” she said.

The last time language tensions reached this pitch, she noted, was nearly a decade ago, when former premier Pauline Marois introduced but later withdrew Bill 14, a previous update of Bill 101.

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