Could we still speak English in an independent Québec?
Of course! Leaders of the Québec sovereignty movement have repeatedly stated that the rights of English-speaking Quebecers will be preserved in an independent Québec.
Contrary to trumped up rhetoric often heard in the media, there is no language police putting gags on anyone’s mouth in the province of Québec, and there wouldn’t be any more in the country of Québec. Even though Québec’s national language is French, people still have the right to speak English in many areas of public life. Of course, they also remain absolutely free to live in English, or whatever language they prefer, in their daily private lives. That has been the case since the Charter of the French Language (Bill 101) was enacted in 1977, and that will continue to be the case in an independent Québec.
In fact, the Charter of the French Language actually protects anglophone rights: its preamble explicitly articulates the National Assembly’s will to respect and value the contribution of the English-speaking community, and of ethnic minorities, to Québec’s development. Furthermore, several articles of the Charter – about 15 of them, actually! – also protect English rights. For instance, the Charter of the French Language ensures the right to attend school, to access the justice system, and to access government documents in English.