Nationalists take issue with Plante budget — for being in French and English

Two prominent Montreal-based nationalist groups are criticizing the Plante administration's maiden budget — not for anything that's actually in it, but that its documents were issued in French and English.

The Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste and the Mouvement Montréal Français issued a statement on Thursday, accusing the Plante administration of violating Article One of the city's charter, which states Montreal is a French-language city.

"Montreal is not a bilingual city. Montreal is not Moncton. Montreal is Montreal," the SSJB's president, Maxime Laporte, said in the statement. "You'd think we were at the Parliament in Ottawa, rather than at the city hall of Montreal, Quebec's metropolis!"

Meanwhile, Sophie Stanké, speaking on behalf of the Mouvement Montréal Français, insists in light of studies showing French is in decline in Montreal, mayor Valerie Plante and her administration have a responsibility to send a clear message that French should be the city's true common language.

The statement also takes issue with Statistics Canada's 2016 census figures, essentially accusing the federal agency of "artificially embellishing" the status of French in Montreal — essentially by allowing respondents to check off multiple boxes when asked about the language they speak at home.

"For example, if 5,000 people declared the language most often spoken at home was both French and English, 5,000 people were added to the 'French' column and 5,000 to the 'English' column. By this method, Quebec would be 87 per cent francophone, 19 per cent anglophone and 18 per cent allophone for total population of...121 per cent! An abhorrent figure."

Budget documents in Montreal have been issued in both languages for years.