Montreal – August 17, 2016
The Quebec Community Groups Network today expressed its deep sadness at the passing of MP Mauril Bélanger. a true champion for language rights in Canada.
Bélanger was a beloved politician, winning by landslides in eight successive elections in Ottawa-Vanier. Appointed to Cabinet in 2003, not only did he follow the illustrious footsteps of former Senator Jean-Robert Gauthier in the same riding, but he carried on one of the Senator’s ambitious private member’s bill to amend the Official Languages Act. Under Mauril’s keen leadership, Canadian parliamentarians voted to enhance the Act for the first time since 1988 by amending Part VII in November 2005. As a result of this transformative change, Federal institutions are now obligated to take “positive measures” to translate the government’s commitment to promoting linguistic duality and community development into action. As the Commissioner of Official Languages Graham Fraser noted in this 2006-07 Annual Report at the time “this legislative change ushers in a new era for Official Languages in Canada.”