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Gilles Duceppe

Gilles Duceppe will continue to push for a stronger Bill 101

Gilles Duceppe 41%

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MONTREAL — Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe is unwilling to dump his motion to have Quebec's French Language Charter extended to industries operating in the province under federal labour laws, despite it being soundly rejected by Parliament.

Duceppe, speaking at a rally in Montreal on Saturday aimed at protecting French and promoting its use among new immigrants in the province, also took some jabs at his rival, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff, for failing to support his motion.

"He said it would impede business," Duceppe told reporters, citing examples like Wal-Mart and mining giant Rio Tinto as companies that are profitable in Quebec despite its language laws.

"There's no justification for him saying this. The fact (the Liberals) voted against Bill 101 being applied to the Canadian Labour Code is a clear illustration that recognizing Quebec as a nation is nothing more than a symbol."

Duceppe would like to see Bill 101 extended to airports, ports, banks and the telecommunications sector and says the other federal parties should recognize that the language of business in Quebec is French.

Societe Saint-Jean-Baptiste president Mario Beaulieu says Ignatieff failed Quebecers by not supporting the Bloc motion.

"Mr. Ignatieff tried to make us believe that he wanted an open federalism, that he recognized Quebec as a nation," Beaulieu said.

"But when it came time to take concrete measures, like supporting the motion, most Liberals voted against it."

Parti Quebecois Leader Pauline Marois would also like the see Bill 101 applied to small-and medium-sized business in Quebec, where companies with under 50 employees are not covered by the charter.

"We think there needs to be a major push in promoting the French language," she told a cheering crowd of some 300 people.

Duceppe also shrugged off recent polls that suggested the Bloc and the Liberals were neck and neck in the province.

"Polls are polls," he said.

"The important thing for us is winning elections. And we win whenever there's an election. (Stephen) Harper was supposed to sweep the Bloc last time around. He swept himself out."

But Rejean Parent, the president of the Centrale des syndicats du Quebec, which representseducation and health workers, says he wouldn't be opposed to federal Liberal leadership, despite supporting the Bloc's efforts in Ottawa.

"What's reassuring is that in Quebec the whole Conservative phase is on the wane," Parent said, commenting on the freefall in Tory support across the province.

"Mr. Ignatieff has some interesting proposals, especially concerning employment insurance - and a. a labour leader I find it particularly interesting."


By Jessica Murphy


Original source: GOOGLE NEWS - Jun 6, 2009

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