02/11/2013 08:34 EST | Updated 04/13/2013 05:12 EDT

Municipalities fight to keep bilingual status

Dozens of municipalities across Quebec are calling on the government not to revoke their bilingual status by amending the province's language laws.

The Quebec national assembly is preparing itself for public hearings next month into the new language law, Bill 14.

Among the changes to the current language charter are provisions that could see some of the province's official bilingual municipalities lose the special status.

Mayor Alec Van Zuiden in Ayer's Cliff, about 145 kilometres southeast of Montreal, said there is no reason for the government to act.

"The government has said that [it] wants to decentralize, [it] wants to give autonomy to the local municipalities. Well, you know what? This municipality wants bilingualism. Our people want it, our people are ready to pay for it," he said.

Today is the last day for individuals and groups to submit briefs to the province's commission.

After the Parti Québécois tabled the bill last December, Côte-Saint-Luc Mayor Anthony Housefather suggested anglophone communities should join forces to fight the amendments to the province's language bill also known as Bill 101.

Quebec Premier Pauline Marois said the proposed amendments were not meant to deter anglophones or allophones from from speaking their own language, but rather to promote French.