08/29/2013 08:41 EDT | Updated 10/29/2013 05:12 EDT

Bill 14: PQ government may allow language law to die

Quebec's minority government may allow Bill 14, its controversial amendment to Quebec's French language charter, to die on the order paper, in order to throw its political energy into the so-called Charter of Quebec values which it plans to table when the national assembly resumes sitting in September.

Emerging from a three-day caucus meeting in Carleton-sur-Mer on the Gaspé Peninsula, Premier Pauline Marois said her government would let the bill die rather than water it down any further.

The opposition Liberals have taken a firm position against the proposed changes, which, among other measures, would give the government the power to revoke a municipality's bilingual status and would increase the powers of the so-called "language police."

The third party in the national assembly, the Coalition Avenir Québec, has been in discussions with the minister responsible for the bill, Diane de Courcy, about further proposed amendments in exchange for CAQ's support.

"We've put about 20 hours of work" into those discussions, Marois said — principally over the bilingual status of towns and cities.

"We want to get the law passed, but if it's not, we can't force the issue… It will die on the Order Paper," she said. "It won't stop us from working on the language front, however."

Marois made it clear the government's priority this autumn will be pressing ahead with the secularism bill, the so-called Charter of Quebec values.

"We want to clarify the fact that the state must remain neutral and that religion is a personal issue," Marois repeated.

She said the adoption of the charter "will permit us to live better together, to better respect each other, to better welcome diversity."

"I hope for a serene debate, so we can reach the necessary concensus that will allow us to make changes to our laws and to adopt guidelines for reasonable accommodation," Marois said.

Her government plans to present the details of the proposed charter on Sept. 9, a week before the national assembly reconvenes for its fall session.