The U.S. film industry will be called before a Quebec legislative committee next fall to explain why more Hollywood films are not dubbed into French in the province.
The panel studying the issue says it wants to hear from members of the Motion Picture Association, which represents the U.S. industry internationally.
Quebec's opposition parties have been pushing the minority Liberal government to adopt a law forcing the major studios to dub their films shown in the province.
"We will ask the studios to explain to us how we can ensure, without resorting to a law, that Quebec citizens have access to versions dubbed into French in Quebec," said Pierre Curzi, Parti Québécois culture critic and a former actor.
"The [studios]don't want a law, to avoid other countries adopting similar legislation," he added. "That's legitimate, but us, we want cultural products adapted to our wishes."
Mario Dumont, leader of the opposition Action Démocratique du Québec, began calling for a law last year.
Mr. Dumont said he realized one was needed after his children were unable to understand the Parisian dialect used in the French version of Shrek the Third.
The ADQ proposed legislation that would have forced studios such as Paramount, Warner and Universal to invest $75,000 a film to finance their dubbing in Quebec.
Culture Minister Christine St-Pierre opted instead to negotiate with the big movie studios.
She said 78 per cent of the movies in Quebec theatres last year were dubbed, up from 72 per cent in 2006.
She attributed the increase to a series of incentives offered to the studios, which include a 30-per-cent tax credit.
The ADQ nevertheless says it was their bill that pushed the government to court the studios more aggressively.
"We saw improvements within the context of a law that would have forced their hand," said ADQ culture critic François Benjamin. "But as soon as we stop talking about a law, it will regress."
Mr. Curzi said the Quebec government should not rely on the goodwill of U.S. studios, given that DVD and online markets are rapidly growing in popularity. "If we don't have a law, what will we do for DVDs?" he asked.
Quebec's Department of Culture indicates as many as 94 per cent of movie DVDs sold in the province have the option of either a dubbed version or French subtitles.
The legislative committee said in a news release that it will examine the economic and cultural issues at stake.