Network News February/March 2018











By James Shea

QCGN President

Our community is making incremental but positive steps forward in getting the provincial government to recognize and address longstanding issues facing Quebec’s English-speaking minority. Over the past month the Quebec Community Groups Network, our member organizations, as well as stakeholders from all corners of the province participated in a series of consultations with Kathleen Weil, the new minister responsible for relations with English-speaking Quebecers. Minister Weil, who is overseeing the creation of a Secretariat for Relations with English-speaking Quebecers, crisscrossed the province to meet with English-speaking Quebecers and organizations and held a series of eight regional and sector online exchanges with her Assistant Secretary William Floch.

At the forum, Weil reiterated her understanding of the community’s priorities: access to health-care services, employability and retaining the young English-speaking Quebecers to prevent a brain drain that impacts our community, but also the province. These are some of our concerns, but only the tip of the iceberg. QCGN participated in all of the online exchanges and many of the regional consultations and we heard a lot of familiar issues: concerns about access to government services of all kinds – especially health and social services; lots of preoccupations about the socio-economic challenges faced by anglos – high unemployment and poverty rates; worries about youth retention and ensuring opportunities to keep them in Quebec; the vitality or our institutions and maintaining control and management of our schools. Also discussed was the continuing matter of our desperate lack of representation in Quebec’s civil service and our all too frequent absence at government discussions/consultations as the province develops policies and programs.

Our most important expectation out of this exercise is that the Minister and her Secretariat be armed with a visionary but realistic plan to address many of these enduring concerns and ensure that the Secretariat is built to last. We are counting on Minister Weil to come up with an action plan that will make a real difference for English-speaking Quebecers – and one that will last beyond the next election, no matter the result. Given the many myths surrounding our community – we are all rich and we all live in Westmount – we also expect the Secretariat will be armed with data and facts that support effective and evidence-based interventions within the civil service on behalf of our community. Weil announced that Finance Minister Carlos Leitão will be holding hold what appears to be a first-ever pre-budget consultation with our community. The consultation takes place next week at McGill. Our expectations from the new Secretariat are high. We will not be satisfied with sprinkling a little money here and there to appease our community in the short term. See coverage of the forum in The Montreal Gazette , on CJAD News, on Global Montreal, and on CTV News. Also view Premier Couillard’s message to forum participants.


Federal Budget Foreshadows Action Plan

Speaking of budgets, we are optimistic about hints dropped in this week’s federal budget concerning the upcoming Action Plan for Official Languages. Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s third budget announced an additional $400 million in new funding over five years to support official language programs critical to the vitality of English-speaking Quebec. Our favourite line in the budget was money for “improved access to services for English-speaking communities in Quebec in their official language.” Morneau announced funding for French and English-language minority community radio stations and newspapers as well as new money for cultural, artistic and heritage activities, including community theatre, art workshops, and activities showcasing local heritage or history. Minority language schools will receive $20 million for a variety of early learning and child care initiatives. There is also new money for community organizations to ensure they can continue to provide services for individuals in their communities, to welcome newcomers, and to foster early childhood development. As noted by our Director General, Sylvia Martin-Laforge, the degree to which English-speaking Quebecers will benefit from the initiatives contained in the federal budget rests on the Government of Quebec’s willingness and commitment to ensure our communities can access them. We are very fortunate that the Government of Quebec chose this year to establish a Secretariat for Relations with English-speaking Quebecers, added our Vice-President Geoffrey Chambers. We will work closely with the province to ensure that English-speaking Quebec receives equitable access to initiatives and await details of the Action Plan for Official Languages. Read our press release.


Journal de Montréal Polls English-speaking Quebecers

Earlier this month, Le Journal de Montréal featured a vast poll on English-speaking Quebecers with numerous stories and columns that provided French readers with insights on Quebec’s English-speaking community and its concerns. The poll conducted by Léger for Quebec’s largest daily newspaper indicates that one in three English-speaking Quebecers believe that relations with francophones are bad and that they will deteriorate. Half of those were youth under the age of 35. The poll also found that an alarming 60 per cent of our youth who were surveyed have considered leaving Quebec. On sober second thought, that number is not so surprising considering the mobility of youth in a global marketplace. As the expression goes, the world is their oyster. However, QCGN is concerned that many want to leave because they do not consider their French skills are strong enough to work in Quebec. Poll participants also said it’s time for Bill 101 to be softened. They wanted more bilingual signs and, in the aftermath of the Bonjour-Hi fiasco, to be welcomed in businesses in both languages. QCQN Vice-President


Montreal Must Include English-speaking Seniors 

Seniors Action Quebec is leading a coalition of English-language groups demanding that the city of Montreal do better in consulting senior citizens for its age-friendly city program. Kim Sawchuk of the ACT team (Ageing + Communication + Technologies) at Concordia University criticized the process noting that Toronto and Ottawa recently held seniors’ consultations and provided information in multiple languages. The city has struggled to translate part of its website into English and reluctantly agreed to additional consultations in boroughs with larger English-speaking populations. But that’s not enough, said Seniors Action Quebec President Michael Udy, who noted that many seniors and the elderly are not present or active on the Internet. As Sawchuk noted, how can seniors trust the city to create an age-friendly city when they cannot create an age-friendly consultation? Seniors Action Quebec, with support from multiple groups including the QCGN, demanded the consultations be broadened to be more inclusive and include English-speaking seniors and those from a variety of cultural communities. They have also asked that the city extend the consultations by several months to include seniors who have a hard time getting around in the ice and snow and those who flew south for the winter. Demands by Montreal seniors are supported by an in-depth research project conducted by the QCGN in collaboration with the Quebec English-Speaking Communities Research Network (QUESCREN). Funded by the Government of Quebec, Building Research Capacity Related to Quebec’s English-Speaking Seniors was a participatory action research study that produced a solid evidence base supporting issues related to the priorities of English-speaking seniors.


Montreal is Canada’s Most Trilingual City

While Quebec nationalists fret over the perception Montreal is becoming too bilingual, data from the 2016 census reveals the city is by far the country’s most trilingual city. Statistics Canada‘s figures indicate more than 21 per cent of Montrealers can speak at least three languages, compared with 11 per cent of Torontonians and 10 per cent of people in Vancouver. Nearly 850,000 Montrealers know at least three languages and more than 40 per cent of the city’s immigrants are trilingual.


QCGN’s Sylvia Martin-Laforge Awarded Senate 150 Medal

On behalf of the QCGN, I want to congratulate our Director General Sylvia Martin-Laforge for being awarded the Senate’s 150th Anniversary Medal by Senator Judith Seidman. The medal commemorates the first time that senators sat in Parliament, on November 6, 1867 – four months after the creation of Canada. Issued by Senators to commemorate Canada’s Sesquicentennial, the medals were awarded to Canadians or permanent residents actively involved in their communities who, through generosity, dedication, volunteerism and hard work, make their hometowns, communities, regions, provinces or territories a better place to live. “As the Senate celebrates a milestone anniversary of its own, this is an appropriate time to celebrate the volunteer work of Canadians,” commented Senator Serge Joyal, co-chair of the Advisory Working Group on the Senate 150th Anniversary Medal. “Not only are the medals highlighting the contributions of Canadians – from coast to coast, from all walks of life and from varied backgrounds – they also highlight the wide diversity of the people whose efforts make Canada great. Senators each received 12 medals to award. The bronze medal, which was struck at the Canadian Mint, features the Senate’s emblem on one side and the Senate Chamber, along with the recipient’s name, on the other.


Father John Walsh Joins Order of Canada

Goldbloom Award winner Father John Walsh was  among 125 Canadians who will be inducted later this year into the Order of Canada, Governor General Julie Payetteannounced in late December. The honour was created in 1967 to recognize outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation. Father Walsh, a popular Catholic priest, was awarded for his “ability to forge ties and encourage dialogue between faith communities and for his longstanding commitment to charitable causes.” Father Walsh, who runs an interfaith blog called Faith Blender with an Imam and a Rabbi, says he hopes this honour will draw attention to the importance of interfaith relationships. Other English-speaking Quebecers named to the Order of Canada include actor William Shatner of Star Trek fame; McGill University Vice-Principal of Research and Innovation Martha Crago, an internationally known expert on language acquisition; philanthropist Norman E. Hébert, president of Groupe Park Avenue Inc.; as well as pioneering hockey writer Red Fisher, who passed away in January before he could receive this medal. Before retiring from The Montreal Gazette in 2012, Fisher covered the Montreal Canadiens for nearly 60 years, first for the Montreal Star and then The Gazette. For more on these and other inductees, visit:



Intensive planning is underway for the second edition of the Bishop’s Forum that will be held from August 12-17, 2018 at Bishop’s University.

Russell Copeman, the former MNA and past borough Mayor of Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, has been named Director of the 2018 forum, a week-long civic engagement forum for youths between the ages of 18 and 24.

“I like to think of this as boot camp for civic engagement for young English-speaking Quebecers,” said Copeman, who discussed the Forum and helping English-speaking youth feel more grounded in Quebec in this interviewwith Global Montreal’s Jamie Orchard.

During the second week of August, dozens of English-speaking youth from throughout the province will converge on the campus of Bishop’s University for a week-long immersion into Quebec’s society. The youth will have an opportunity to meet movers and shakers and learn about how Quebec works.

Through the week, participants will meet with a broad cross section of Quebec’s political, community, business and other leaders and will work in teams to identify key changes they would like to effect on Quebec society and make their case to a mock Parliamentary.

“The goal is to motivate our youth to become more active and involved citizens,” said Russell Copeman, who is hard at work planning activities that will help Quebec youths hone their knowledge and leadership skills and work to improve the future for themselves, their community and all of Quebec.

“To borrow a line from Mahatma Gandhi, we want them to be the change they wish to see,” said Copeman, noting the Forum aims to inspire young English-speaking Quebecers and give them an understanding of the inner workings of the fundamental institutions of Quebec and Canadian society.

“The Forum will help our youth better understand our province and get to know the English-speaking community,” he said. “We want them to talk about their future in Quebec and help them feel like they really belong here.”

“We hope our community’s youth will make connections that will last a lifetime,” said QCGN Director General Sylvia Martin-Laforge, who sits on the advisory board of the Forum. “We need our youth to gain a better understanding of  our history, our contributions and recognize they can have a promising future here in Quebec. Our youth are our future and we must do everything in our power to ensure their economic and social integration into Quebec.”

This Bishop’s Forum is supported by the Quebec government as part of its Stratégie d’action jeunesse 2016-2021. Martin-Laforge said funding for forum is the result of effective lobbying by QCGN’s Intersectoral Youth Table to get the provincial government to recognize that Quebec’s English-speaking youth need specific policies and programs.

Participation in the forum is free of charge. Travel, residence, meals, program content and evening events are included. The Bishop’s Forum has also created a small discretionary fund to help successful applicants who might not otherwise be able to participate in the conference due to financial need.

The application deadline for the Forum is May 5. More information on the Bishop’s Forum can be found at or call Denise Lauzière at



Entitled No Justice Without Access: Working Together to Ensure Access to Justice in English, the theme of QCGN’s Community Forum on Access to Justice in English could not be clearer. The forum will begin a collaborative community/justice system conversation on barriers to justice services in English in three specific areas, and what can be done to address them.

Scheduled for April 16 at Batshaw Youth and Family Centres in Westmount, the Community Forum will mobilize expert, community, and justice system stakeholders. Employing a people-centered approach, the project was conceived from outside-in and not inside-out.

“The project’s driving principle is that the people seeking justice services in English in Quebec need to shape the system that serves them,” explained lawyer Bruce McNiven, chair of the steering committee overseeing the forum. “It’s about people first and always. English-speaking Quebecers need to be treated not just as clients and consumers of justice services, but as the bearers of rights.”

Funded by Justice Canada, the QCGN’s Access to Justice in English in Quebec project is currently focused on: youth protection and young offenders; access to justice for seniors and the elderly; and labour relations and employment. The forum is a first opportunity for community and justice system representatives to explore together how to improve access to justice in English.

“This forum is the beginning of a very important conversation. It is a first step in positioning the community to pursue more comprehensive access to justice in English initiatives as the new Official Languages Road Map comes on stream in 2018/2019,” commented QCGN Vice-President Geoffrey Chambers, who sits on the steering committee.

The steering committee also includes private practice lawyers Eric Maldoff (Lapointe, Rosenstein, Marchand, Mélançon), Marlene Jennings, lawyer and former MP, Jonathan Nuss (Dentons) and Matt Aronson (Kenneth S. Adessky Attorneys); Arthur Ayers, lawyer and president of the Regional Association of West Quebecers; Fo Niemi, co-founder/executive director, Center for Research-Action on Race Relations (CRARR), and Sarah Dougherty, lawyer, writer and plain language specialist at Éducaloi.

For more information on the Community Forum and the link to register, click here.



By Rita Legault

QCGN Director of Communications

Ten projects funded under the Community Innovation Fund (CIF) are well underway and beginning to achieve tangible results for vulnerable English-speaking Quebecers.

One program by the Council for Anglophone Magdalen Islanders (CAMI), is motivating young people to complete high school and providing them with job skills specific to opportunities on the Îles-de-la-Madeleine. Another, run by the NDG Senior Citizens’ Council in the Montreal neighbourhood of Notre-Dame-de-Grace, is enhancing the employability of English-speaking baby boomers and newcomers to act as companions and advocates in the health-care sector by accompanying seniors to medical appointments.

“Our CIF projects in urban, rural, and isolated communities are really improving the future prospects for vulnerable English-speaking youth, seniors and newcomers,” said John Buck, co-chair of the CIF Governance committee. “These projects are truly transformative for English-speaking youth, seniors and newcomers who are battling isolation. Many of them are eager to work and contribute to society, but as members of a linguistic minority they face multiple challenges integrating into the workforce.”



The Community Innovation Fund is a pilot project which is part of the Social Partnership Initiative in Official Language Minority Communities of the Roadmap for Canada’s Official Languages 2013-2018: Education, Immigration, Communities. It began in May 2016 and runs until May 2019. The fund is injecting $1 million of federal funding into our communities over the next two years.

Administered by the Quebec Community Groups Network, CIF has funded 10 projects from community groups with the goal of improving employability or maintaining basic socioeconomic security for vulnerable youth, seniors or newcomers in English Quebec’s English-language communities.

“We are impressed by how our projects are improving the quality of life for our most vulnerable seniors, youth and for newcomers,” said Ian Kott, co-chair of the CIF Governance committee. “A stirring example is the project partnership developed between DESTA schoooland the Community Service Initiative of Concordia University’s MBA program, whereby workshops and courses in entrepreneurship have been developed for Black youth in Montreal. All the funded projects are truly making a difference in our communities.”

“The buzz being generated by the creation of this fund, along with the new partnerships forged by our community groups, is truly inspirational,” said Christine Boyle, project manager, who has touched base with the projects as they are getting off the ground.



“The QCGN is working to empower the community groups through knowledge-sharing activities focused on providing the skills needed to build collaborative partnerships with a diverse range of stakeholders,” Boyle explained, noting that an important component of the CIF is the development of non-traditional partnerships, that is non-governmental funders, to ensure the sustainability of the projects moving forward. To that end a community of practice has been established, whereby groups are sharing best practices.

Last week Le Journal de Montreal featured Phelps Helps, one of our funded projects that fights high school drop-out rates in the Stanstead area of Quebec, as part of its series on Quebec’s English-speaking community. Read the story here. Over the next year, Network News will be featuring stories about our CIF funded projects showcasing how the fund is making a difference in the lives of vulnerable English-speaking Quebecers.

To read about the Community Innovation Fund, please visit our webpage. For further information about the CIF please contact Christine Boyle at 514-868-9044, ext. 257.



By Guy Rodgers

Executive Director of the English-Language Arts Network

Télé-Québec’s mandate includes ‘promoting Quebec’s artistic and cultural life,’ and ‘reflecting regional realities and the diversity of Québec society.’

The English-Language Arts Network inquired of Marie Collin, CEO of Télé-Québec (TQ), if English-speaking Quebecers are part of that diversity. She replied that TQ recognizes its responsibility to reflect the complete diversity of Quebec society, and that it already takes positive action to do so. For example many English-speaking artists are guests on the popular variety program Belle et Bum.

We are a long way from 1968 when Télé-Québec (originally Radio-Québec) was created in a society bitterly divided along linguistic lines. In 2018 most cultural agencies have developed policies on inclusion, and serious efforts are being made to eradicate the old solitudes. One of the most inspiring examples of this new openness is MAtv, Vidéotron’s community channel, which decided two years ago to devote 20 per cent of its programming to English-language production in response to ELAN’s interventions with the CRTC. Rather than protest the change, francophone viewers have been watching programs produced by their English-speaking neighbours.

Where is a better place to share stories across ethno-cultural-linguistic frontiers than community TV? The only better place is an educational TV station. In this spirit, ELAN submitted an intervention in Télé-Québec’s CRTC licence renewal.



La Press journalist Vincent Brousseau-Pouliot wrote an article about our desire to see stories about English-speaking communities broadcast on Télé-Quebec. La Presse’s article accurately reflected our message: that it is less important that the programs be filmed in French or English, dubbed or subtitled, than that our stories become part of the public conversation.

Brendan Kelly, on CBC radio, was credulous that ELAN could seriously expect to see stories about English-speaking communities broadcast on Télé-Québec. When La Presse posted its article on social media, the conversation quickly exploded in many directions.

Parti-Québécois culture critic Pascal Bérubé stood up in the National Assembly to accuse ELAN of pressuring the CRTC to allocate funding to English-language productions, and he demanded that Minister of Culture Marie Montpetit ‘shut the door’ on ELAN’s demands. Mme Montpetit replied that ‘Télé-Québec will continue promoting Quebec culture and representing its diversity,’ which did not shut the door to Mr. Bérubé’s satisfaction. (See coverage in Le Journal de Montreal.) He and his colleagues in the Parti-Québécois tabled a motion in the National Assembly demanding that 100 per cent of Télé-Québec’s content be produced in French. (Read the PQ press release.)

The point had been lost that the object of ELAN’s intervention was about how Télé-Québec represents – and includes – diversity: not the language in which it does so.  By the time the Gazette’s Don Macpherson and Pascal Bérubé started trading Twitter barbs, as reported in Le Journal de Montréal, it was a reminder that 1968 is not as distant in the rear-view mirror as we like to think.

It was also a reminder of why Quebec recently created a Secretariat for Relations with English-speaking Quebecers. The Secretariat’s first public meeting in mid-February may not have signaled the dawn of a new social contract, but it did open up a dialogue with Quebec’s government that is welcome.



Team Caribou – (standing) Guy Roux, Angelica Montgomery, Jennyfer Plourde, (seated) Wallace Robertson, Diane Bird, Joanne Coleman-Robertson, Caroline Joll and Aiden Roberts – were the winners of the word-game treasure hunt at the Morrin Centre. They sit around the campfire in College Hall to enjoy their fresh new coffee mugs.  (Photo: Shirley Nadeau, Quebec Chronicle-Telegraph)


By Shirley Nadeau

Reprinted courtesy of the Quebec Chronicle-Telegraph

The staff of Quebec City’s Morrin Centre treasure its volunteers. In fact, they need s’more just like you!

Founded in 1824, the Literary and Historical Society of Quebec is the oldest existing learned society in Canada. The Society led the restoration of the Morrin Cultural Centre, which it now runs.

As an English-language cultural centre located in the historical quarter of Quebec City, the Morrin Centre strives to be a leading cultural institution providing the French- and English-speaking public with rich, engaging programming in the areas of heritage interpretation, education, and the arts.

Building upon the heritage building’s history and key institutions, programming at the Morrin Centre provides historical perspective on Quebec City’s unique French-English heritage, develops educational opportunities for youth, and acts as a springboard for artistic creativity. Through its community outreach, it also serves as a bridge between the French- and English-speaking communities of Quebec City, helping them to understand their common past and envision their future.

The Literary and Historical Society of Quebec is managed by a volunteer council composed of 13 people and it counts on numerous other volunteers to manage activities and events at the Morrin Centre.



Every year the Society shows its appreciation by treating its volunteers to a special evening with dinner, fun and games in College Hall. This year’s event featured a word-game treasure hunt, with volunteers going from the hall to the library to the gaol cells in search of clues to unscramble jumbled letters and test their knowledge of the Morrin Centre’s history.

First the 30 volunteers were divided into three teams which then had to create a name for themselves. The Bookies, the Caribous and the Actual Asses (don’t ask…) then set off on their quest to see which team was the best informed and good at solving puzzles.

The Caribous, who were only one or two points ahead of the other teams, were awarded Morrin Centre insulated coffee mugs. There were some great door prizes just for being there, and everyone went home with a delicious treat, a cellophane wrapped s’more (graham cracker, chocolate and marshmallows) with a tag that read, “We need S’More volunteers like you!”

You too can be a volunteer at the Morrin Centre! Just speak to one of the staff to see where you might fit in or visit the Centre’s website to see a list of areas where you can help. There is also a Volunteer Application Form you can download and fill in.

Then, maybe you can join the party next year!



Submitted by Townshippers’ Association

After six years of encouraging high school seniors to share their educational trials and triumphs, the Excel in the Estrie! essay challenge from Townshippers’ Association’s Make Way for YOUth Estrie project is getting a new twist: the video essay.

The new video category in essay challenge gives high school seniors another way to share success stories and inspire others to persevere in school!

The graduating class of 2018 is being asked to write an essay or shoot a short video that shares (1) any academic, social or personal obstacles they faced on their way to graduation and what they did to overcome them; and (2) what they would like their future to look like in the Townships.

“We were excited to add this new take to our essay challenge in time for the annual Hooked on School Days week (Feb 12 to 16),” said Rachel Hunting, executive director of Townshippers’ Association. “This was a great chance for high school grads to let their personalities shine through, and in the process, remind themselves of what they have managed to accomplish before starting on the next phase of their lives.”



Essays will be accepted in either a written essay of 500 to 600 words or in a short video of less than three minutes. There’s no fancy equipment required for videos— they can be shot using a cell phone camera, but they must be filmed in landscape/horizontal orientation.

Along with Make Way for YOUth Estrie, the essay challenge partners include Cass Funeral Homes, Global Excel Management, and the Government of Canada. Winning submissions will also be featured in a future edition of Townshippers Journal and students could earn up to $500 towards their post-secondary studies!

The essay challenge is open to all graduating high school seniors in the historical Eastern Townships’ English-speaking community who are attending an English language secondary school, or homeschool, and who have been accepted to a post-secondary institution in the Estrie region. Each entry must include a completed entry form. Entries must be submitted no later than April 20, 2018, at 5:00 p.m., using the online submission form found at or emailed to, or by mail to Excel in the Estrie! c/o Townshippers’ Association, 100-257 Queen, Sherbrooke, QC J1M 1K7.

For more information, and for the complete guidelines visit, or contact Holly McMillan at, or call 819-566-5717 (toll-free: 1-866-566-5717).


Make Way for YOUth Estrie is an initiative of the province-wide Place aux jeunes en region, which encourages the migration and settlement of youth in areas outside of Quebec’s large city centres and is offered to the English-speaking community by Townshippers’. Activities are made possible thanks to the financial support of the Secrétariat à la Jeunesse du Québec and numerous businesses and organizations throughout the Estrie region.

Townshippers’ Association is a non-profit, non-partisan community organization that has been serving the English-speaking community of the historical Eastern Townships since 1979. For more on the Association and its activities, connect online at or contact Townshippers’ in Sherbrooke at 100 – 257 Queen St. 819-566-5717, toll-free: 1-866-566-5717 or in Lac-Brome at 3-584 Knowlton Rd. 450-242-4421, toll-free: 1-877-242-4421.


Network News December 2017


By Jim Shea
QCGN President


It has been busy month leading into the Christmas holiday break, one where outstanding items on QCGN’s wish list – the creation of both a Minister and a Secretariat Responsible for Relations with English-speaking Quebecers – were granted before our community was caught in the crossfire of a mischievous elf.

With apologies to Clement Clarke Moore


‘Twas the month before Christmas, when all through the province

Two Solitudes were stirring, especially in the legislature;

Our community needs were communicated with care;

In hopes that our government soon would be there;


Our community was nestled all snug in success,

While visions of a secretariat danced in our heads;

And Kathleen in her ‘kerchief, and Philippe in his cap,

Were hoping to settle for a short winter’s nap,


When from the PQ bench arose such a clatter,

Anglos sprang from their nests to see what was the matter.

Away to the media, Lisée flew like a flash,

We tore open our newspapers, we all were aghast.


Now the house is adjourned for the new-fallen snow

But the lustre of the kerfuffle is still aglow,

When, what to our wondering eyes should appear,

But a holiday break, and no motions till next year


Now, Philippe! now, Kathleen! now, Geoffrey and David!

On, Jean-François! on François! on, Gabriel and Manon!

Off to your ridings! Take a break from the squall!

Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”


Needless to say, the Bonjour-Hi motion that was passed unanimously in the National Assembly created considerable negative fallout. It was near impossible for our community not to take the motion as an affront. A lot of ink has flowed in the provincial, national and international press. The fallout has made Pastagate look like a picnic. Some of the diatribes were directed at the government – but unfortunately much of the negativity was directed back at our community which was an innocent bystander as the Parti Québécois attempted to use language as a wedge issue – again. The QCGN office even received calls from cranky French-speaking Quebecers complaining that we are the best-treated minority in the world and that if we are not happy living in a French province, there are nine other provinces to which we could move. In the wake of the motion, the QCGN wrote to Premier Couillard, to our 3 Amigos (Kathleen Weil, Geoffrey Kelley and David Birnbaum), to Parti Québécois leader Jean-François Lisée, and to the leaders of the Coalition Avenir Québec and Québec Solidaire. We expressed our tremendous disappointment. We told the Premier that his government had allowed itself to be outmaneuvered by a cynical wedge tactic. Lisée subsequently admitted to the media that the motion he proposed was a trap for Couillard. We found it hard to believe that the Liberals, who have shown more openness toward our community recently, were so easily duped. Since the motion required unanimous consent, the divisive and hurtful debate was completely unnecessary – even if the Liberals managed to ensure the word “irritant”, first used by Language Minister Marie Montpetit, was removed from the watered-down version that passed unanimously. We told all of the party leaders that with one voice, the National Assembly had conveyed a strong and clear message that the simple speaking of English here is unwelcome. We said that such gestures of scorn are damaging to social peace and that our MNAs modelled divisive behaviour. We concluded that our government representatives can and must do better.

Bonjour Welcome

While the greeting Bonjour-Hi! was causing an unduly disproportionate disturbance in Quebec, many of our neighbours to the west would like to see it used more widely in Ontario. In reply to the hubbub in the Twittersphere, Peter Hominuk, Executive Director at Assemblée de la Francophonie de l’Ontario, tweeted that Franco-Ontarians are rather open to the #bonjourhi that provoked such controversy in Quebec. The French-language website #ONfr, which disseminates political news from Ontario and French Canada, interviewed several Franco-Ontarian leaders on this issue, some noting that it is one of the cornerstones of the concept of “active offer”. (Run by the educational television channel Télévision française de l’Ontario, a provincial Crown corporation, TFO is one of the few French-language broadcasters in Canada headquartered outside Quebec.) According to the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages (OCOL), an active offer of service is an open invitation to the public to use one of Canada’s two official languages—English or French—when communicating with or receiving a service from the federal government. The active offer includes a bilingual greeting, such as “Hello! Bonjour!”, and visual cues, such as signs, that support this invitation. OCOL notes that bilingual greetings respect the language rights of the public to be served in the official language of their choice in designated bilingual offices and allows federal employees to promote Canada’s fundamental values of linguistic duality, diversity, inclusion and respect. AFO, our sister organization in Ontario, runs an ongoing campaign that encourages Ontario residents to make an active offer of service but using the greeting: Bonjour_Welcome. For more information about @Bonjour_Welcome, visit the website or the Facebook page.

Liberal Government Creates Secretariat

Numerous members of the QCGN Board of Directors, senior staff and Network representatives were on hand November 24 for the realization of a long term strategic goal – the creation of a new structure in government to respond to the concerns of Quebec’s English-speaking community. The launch of Quebec’s first-ever provincial government office designated to look  after the interests of our community took place at the historic Morrin Center, an institution of Quebec’s English-speaking community located in Old Quebec just few short blocks from the National Assembly. The new Secretariat Responsible for Relations with English-speaking Quebecers has been granted a start-up budget of just over $1 million. The QCGN had proposed to the Premier’s office a Secretariat which would eventually be staffed by more than two dozen people—mostly English-speaking Quebecers who are knowledgeable about our community. While the framework for the Secretariat was much more modest than QCGN might have liked, as the community’s main interlocutor with government entities we fully expect that it will ramp up over the coming months and become a genuine asset that will provide serious and sorely needed policy input from our community into provincial government policies and programs. We look forward to working with our new Minister Responsible for Relations with English-speaking Quebecers, Kathleen Weil, and her new Assistant Secretary, William Floch, to build a robust and enduring Secretariat that will ensure the interests of our Community of Communities are better understood and acted upon by our provincial government partners. Read the government’s communiqué. Read our press release.

Floch to Lead New Secretariat

The QCGN welcomed the nomination of William Floch, who will lead Quebec’s new Secretariat for Relations with English-speaking Quebecers. As Assistant Secretary, Floch will act as a liaison between the Secretariat and other government ministries. Floch has spent two decades working for the federal government in the department of Canadian Heritage, most recently as the manager for Research and Policy Development. A graduate of McGill University and Bishops University, Bill also managed the Official Languages Program for the Quebec region, and is a former executive director of the Townshippers’ Association. Bill is very knowledgeable about our community and its challenges. He is also enthusiastic to get to work. “I’m very optimistic. There are really positive signs of openings and of support for this concept. I think there’s already a lot of very important work being done in some key sectors (such as) health and education,” Bill told reporters at the news conference announcing his appointment on Nov. 24. “It will be a matter of figuring out across the sectors and ministries where we can help the most and align with community needs and priorities. There are a lot of other people already working within the government structure for the English-speaking community and it’s a matter of connecting with them.” Bill finished his first week on the job speaking at a November conference in Gatineau on his new role bridging the community and the provincial government. “If you are going to be a bridge, sometimes you have to let people walk over you,” he joked, as he participated in a panel that examined the advocacy efforts that led to the creation of the Secretariat and the benefits this historic breakthrough will entail for our community. Entitled Working Together to Create Space for Quebec’s English-speaking Minority Community, the QCGN-sponsored panel also featured Canada’s former Commissioner of Official Languages Graham Fraser and Ontario’s Commissioner of French Language Services, François Boileau. With vast experience in representing the interests of Canada’s official language minority communities, the two agreed this was a significant and happy advance for both Quebec’s English-speaking community and official language communities across Canada. Speaking from experience, Boileau advised Floch to be patient but relentless, and to be pragmatic, not dogmatic. Floch said that in his first week on the job, he had already received overtures from three offices within the government of Quebec seeking help or advice from the Secretariat. He noted there is a broad set of community and government needs and Job One will be to set  priorities. And he reassured listeners that the Secretariat’s objectives are non-partisan: “We want to ensure this survives whatever party is in government. That will be the test of success.”



A few days earlier before the launch of the Secretariat, QCGN was in Quebec City for our annual meeting with Members of the National Assembly. The event was a great success, due to the significant presence of QCGN members from all across the province. Some 50 representatives from the Outaouais to the Magdalen Islands, and from the Eastern Townships to the Abitibi, were on hand, along with most of QCGN’s Board of Directors, to discuss the challenges and priorities of our community with our representatives in the National Assembly. We were delighted that Premier Phillippe Couillard dropped in. Last year before our annual meet with MNAs, the Premier held a historic sit-down meeting in his office with QCGN representatives. The positive fallout from that momentous meeting were clear as Couillard spoke briefly about his commitments to our community. Several ministers were in attendance. They included  Kathleen Weil (our new Minister Responsible for Relations with English-speaking Quebecers); Gaetan Barrette (Health); Geoffrey Kelley (Native Affairs); André Fortin (Transport); Pierre Arcand (Treasury Board), as well as Stéphane Billette (Small Business) and Luc Blanchette (Forestry and Mines). Plenty of other elected officials were also on hand, including my Gatineau area MNAs Maryse Gaudreault (Hull) and Marc Carrière (Chapleau). Quebec’s regions were well represented by both QCGN’s member and MNAs including Martin Ouellet from the North Shore; Pierre Reid and Guy Hardy from the Eastern Townships; Guy Bourgeois from Abitibi; and Harold Lebel from Rimouski. While the ridings of most of the elected officials on hand have significant English-speaking populations, but some have few anglophone constituents and the MNAs who attended from those constituencies were simply interested in the concerns of our community. Among Montreal-area MNAs, David Birnbaum (D’Arcy McGee) participated, with colleagues including Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois (Gouin); Rita de Santis (Bourassa-Sauvé); Saul Polo (Laval des Rapides); Richard Merlini (La Prairie); Jean Habel (Sainte-Rose) and François Ouimet (Marquette).  Also on hand to discuss community priorities and concerns were Jim Carter from the Community Health and Social Service Network; Jack Jedwab of the Association for Canadian Studies; John Buck from the Community Economic and Employability Corporation (CEDEC); and Richard Walling from Jeffery Hale Community Partners. These were among a handful of community and sector leaders who participated in a first sit-down meeting with QCGN and Minister Weil Nov. 6, to discuss her new role and the Secretariat. As well as everyday concerns about government services in their regions and sectors, much of the evening’s conversations revolved around the creation of the Secretariat for which the QCGN and community leaders hold high hopes. Our op-ed on the subject, signed by QCGN Vice President Geoffrey Chambers and I, was published that morning in The Montreal Gazette.

Raymond Théberge to Take the Helm at Official Languages

An old acquaintance was also granted a wish in the lead-up to the holiday season. A few days ago, Raymond Théberge officially became Canada’s seventh Commission of Official Languages. I worked closely with Raymond when he was the Executive Director of the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada. He is a dedicated advocate for Canada’s official language minority communities, and I look forward to working with him again. I got a chance to personally extend my congratulations to Raymond when I was on hand Dec. 5 for the start of his confirmation hearing before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Official Languages, which unfortunately was interrupted by technical problems with the recording equipment. My Board colleague Eva Ludvig was on hand when the Committee reconvened a few days later. He assured her that a visit to Quebec was a first order of business. The QCGN looks forward to his becoming better acquainted with Quebec’s English-speaking minority community. We are eager to share with him the priorities and challenges of English-speaking Quebec. Read our press release.

New Senate Committee Members Committed to Visiting Quebec

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with the Honourable René Cormier, the new Chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Official Languages. Senator Cormier, who hails from New Brunswick, reached out to QCGN to introduce himself. He assured us of his Committee’s continued interest in guaranteeing the voice of English-speaking Quebecers in their work. He also confirmed the Committee will be continuing its study on the modernization of the Official Languages Act. This will include a visit to Quebec in April 2018. On the Committee are Rose-May Poirier (New Brunswick), who is the deputy chair; former chair Claudette Tardif (Alberta); Raymonde Gagné (Manitoba); Paul E. McIntyre and Percy Mockler (New Brunswick); Lucie Moncion (Ontario); as well as Ghislain Maltais and Marie-Françoise Mégie from Quebec. The Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages has the mandate to study all matters relating to official languages generally and matters relating to the application of the Official Languages Act (OLA) and the regulations and directives made under it. The Committee investigates the respect of Canadians’ language rights and the principle of equality of the two official languages. It examines questions pertaining to the OLA and pays particular attention to the federal government’s role and its commitment to advancing English and French in Canadian society and to enhancing the vitality of the English and French linguistic minority communities. On behalf of the QCGN, I re-affirmed our commitment to assisting the Senate Committee in their work, and added that QCGN looks forward to meeting Senator Cormier in person.


Four dozen members and stakeholders of the QCGN were on hand for our Annual Holiday Breakfast and Open House. Among our guests were Kathleen Weil, the new Minister Responsible for Relations with English-speaking Quebecers, the Assistant Secretary of the Secretariat William Floch and frequent guest D’Arcy McGee MNA David Birnbaum. Also on hand were Pierrefonds-Roxboro Borough Mayor Dimitrios Jim Beis, Bonnie Soutar from the NDG Food Depot as well as several members of the QCGN Board of Directors and the staff and boards of our member groups. Our staff-led holiday tradition, which is coupled with a fundraising activity to support one of our member or stakeholder organizations, collected some $400 as well as two boxes full of non-perishable items to support the activities of the NDG Food Depot, which works collaboratively with other community partners to address issues of food security in NDG and the surrounding areas. If you missed the event but want to show your support for the NDG Food Depot, you can donate online by clicking on the button below or drop off a donation of cash or food at 6450 Somerled Ave. in Montreal. To consult the wish list of most needed items, click here.


By Richard Tardif
Quebec Community Newspapers Association

The Quebec Community Newspapers Association (QCNA) and L’Association de la Presse Francophone (APF) recently denounced a deal between Canadian print giants Torstar Corp. and Postmedia Network Inc. to swap newspapers and shut them down, effectively eliminating local newspapers and monopolizing withering advertising markets while cornering readers.

According to a Postmedia press release, the transaction involves 41 community and daily newspapers, eliminating in its wake an estimated 291 jobs. See coverage by CBC, The Globe and Mail, and The Financial Post.  No Quebec papers were affected by the swap of community and daily newspapers. Postmedia operates The Montreal Gazette.

“Although this is not good news, and it’s never easy to see print media close up shop while good people lose their jobs, it’s important to remember what community newspapers stand for. Community media is vibrant, more important than ever, and will continue to act as models for the future of real journalism,” says QCNA President Steve Bonspiel. “We tell our community’s stories, highlight the accomplishments of our neighbours, and stand up for the truth through solid reporting and research. That will never change, but more and more we need the support of our communities and government to ensure our survival.”

The announcement comes two short months after Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly, focusing on Canada’s cultural strategies, declared that the government’s approach to Canada’s newspaper industry is not to “bail out industry models that are no longer viable.” The Liberal government, she added, will instead support “innovation, experimentation and transition to digital.”

This was a surprise to many, considering that Joly had conducted a year-long consultation on how to overhaul Canada’s cultural policies and strategies, particularly in the context of community newspapers.

“It is deplorable to see so many English-speaking majority communities lose their newspapers. The layoff of 291 employees will have serious repercussions on the information sector and the community vitality of the targeted regions,” said APF President Francis Sonier. “This situation should be a wake-up call for our governments, especially as a very strong reminder that  minority community media are even more vulnerable and just as important, if not essential, to enable all Canadians from official language communities to fully live in their language.”

The Quebec Community Newspapers Association provides advocacy, government representation, marketing and promotion for 31 Quebec’s English-written community newspapers. Among other activities, it highlights newspaper challenges in official language markets and provides possible solutions and establishes partnerships that will benefit members and the association.


Submitted by Townshippers’ Association

On Nov. 14, the English-Language Arts Network (ELAN) and Townshippers’ Association partnered with the Conseil de la Culture de l’Estrie and the organizer of Shazamfest to host Made in Estrie, a networking evening aimed to bring French- and English-speaking artists together. The evening proved a resounding success!

Organizers and partners included, just shy of 50 people attended the 5 à 7 style event and 14 participated in a special edition “minute market”.

What made this minute market special, you ask?  Participating artists (writers, painters and musicians from the Estrie region) were paired with someone from the other language community and given a short amount of time to introduce themselves and talk about their craft. Each pair then presented the other’s work to the group, using their second language. Once the ice had been broken by a courageous first pairing, the minute market went off without a hitch and accomplished what the organizers had hoped– two artistic solitudes came together and shared their art, their current projects, and some laughs.

The event was held at Irisium in Sherbrooke’s downtown core, a recently opened creative space for musicians and visual artists. Its mission is to foster the development of musicians and artists by providing the facilities, services and support that will help them reach their full potential. This location was very much a natural fit for this networking activity.

Comments from participants have been encouraging. Moving forward, Townshippers’ is looking forward to doing more in partnership with the Conseil de la Culture de l’Estrie. Many thanks to Guy Rodgers and the English-Language Arts Network for helping to get the ball rolling, by lending us their expertise and suggesting such a winning formula.


Townshippers of all ages are invited to celebrate the holidays with our community organizations in the Marguerite Knapp Building at the annual Open House Wednesday, Dec. 20, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.


Meet and mingle with the team behind Townshippers’ Association, a non-profit organization serving the region’s English-speaking community and learn about their many community programs, activities, and projects. Enjoy refreshments while getting to know five other community organizations that share the building including the Lennoxville and District Women’s Centre, Mental Health Estrie, Townshippers’ Foundation, The Townships Sun, and the Quebec Anglophone Heritage Network (QAHN).

Earn some extra “nice” points before the holidays by bringing new hats, underwear, gloves, socks, and scarves, and other warm articles of clothing, to donate toward Mental Health Estrie’s  HUGS campaign. Cash gifts of $10 and more will be used to purchase warm essentials, and their donors will be issued a tax receipt.

QAHN will have copies of the latest issue of Quebec Heritage News, and, in honour of the festive season and the open house, will offer all new members a special holiday membership rate.

Visitors can also take advantage of some last-minute holiday shopping from Townshippers’ Association’s boutique and give someone a taste of the Townships with books, music, cards, and artwork from the Townships Expression collection.

Everyone is welcome to this free event at the Marguerite Knapp building, 257 rue Queen, Sherbrooke (Lennoxville), from 5 to 7 on Wednesday, December 20, 2017. If you’re new to the area, this is a great chance to meet new people and see what these community organizations can do for you. Parking is available behind the building, accessible via Charlotte St.

For more information visit or call 819-566-5717 (toll-free 877-566-5717).



Submitted by Voice of English-speaking Quebec


On December 6, Voice of English-speaking Quebec (VEQ) held its annual Holiday Happy Hour at the Morrin Centre in Quebec City. More than 140 community members came together in the spirit of the holiday season and in support of the Community Christmas Hamper Campaign. The event was enjoyed by all and was successful in collecting funds and non-perishables for less fortunate members of our community. This year, the campaign will deliver holiday goodness to more than 200 families. Check out for more details on this initiative.

Network News November 2017


By Jim Shea
QCGN President

The QCGN was pleased to host a first major meeting between Kathleen Weil, Quebec’s Minister Responsible for Relations with English-speaking Quebecers, and community leaders. High on the agenda for the meeting on Nov. 6, was the creation of a Secretariat that will respond to the policy and program needs of Quebec’s English-speaking community. The Secretariat will be an historic first for our community and, as we previously stated, the QCGN is very pleased that Weil, an experienced and capable minister, will be responsible for setting it up. Weil, who sat down with the QCGN’s Government Relations Committee and other QCGN leaders and stakeholders to discuss her new role, thanked our organization for its persistence in advocating for a minister or a mechanism to represent the community in the Quebec government. She also expressed her commitment to making a difference for our community. Throughout the two-hour meeting, the QCGN argued that the dialogue that leads to good policy needs to be founded on good evidence, and we discussed how the QCGN and the community can assist the new Secretariat in establishing a realistic demographic and socio-economic portrait of our community as well as its needs and priorities. Weil recognized that by their very nature, linguistic minority communities require an asymmetrical approach in Quebec. We discussed a number of priorities that we can work on together, including the longstanding need to ensure a larger presence for our community in the provincial civil service. The Minister also acknowledged that community organizations will need resources and capacity to act as an effective partner with the government to realize these goals and projects. This will entail the allocation of material and financial resources in the short and long term. Read our press release.

QCGN Leaders to Meet with MNAs

As the QCGN works with Minister Weil on the creation of a Secretariat, next week the QCGN will be holding its fourth annual information evening for Members of the National Assembly. The event, which will take place in the Library of the National Assembly on Tuesday, aims to bring together community leaders and MNAs from all parties to have an informal discussion about the needs and priorities of Quebec’s English-speaking communities.

Premier Names Weil to Act For and With Our Community

Earlier this fall, the QCGN welcomed the nomination of Kathleen Weil as Quebec’s Minister Responsible for Relations with English-speaking Quebecers. The QCGN is pleased that Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard, who refused to consider a minister when he was running for the Liberal leadership, has reversed his position. Couillard has acknowledged that our community does not want special treatment, but truly needs a team in place to ensure its needs and priorities are well understood by the government and most especially by the bureaucracy where our community is notoriously underrepresented. Our community has been asking for an interlocutor in government for many years and the Secretariat will be an important mechanism to get serious and sorely-needed policy input from our community. We also note that one of Minister Weil’s first public events was the QCGN’s annual Community Awards banquet on Oct. 26. Read the QCGN’s press release, The Gazette’s editorial as well as reporter Phil Authier’s coverage herehere, and here. Also view and listen to coverage on CBC, CTV, Global and CJAD.

QCGN Meets with Parliamentarians

Meanwhile in Ottawa, the QCGN hosted a cocktail for Parliamentarians in the Commonwealth Room of Centre Block in Ottawa as the new session got underway in the House of Commons on October 16. Enthusiastically attended by more than 30 Members of Parliament and Senators and some of their staff, our event was co-sponsored by Senator Judith Seidman and Mount-Royal MP Anthony Housefather. I was pleased to lead a QCGN/Community delegation that included executive committee members Geoffrey Chambers, Walter Duszara and Eva Ludvig as well as Brian Rock, President of the Quebec Federation of Home and School Associations (QFHSA), Richard Tardif, from the Quebec Community Newspapers Association (QCNA), and Leslie (Laszlo) Acs and John Buck from the Community Economic Development and Employability Corporation (CEDEC). QCGN was pleased to bring along some young community leaders including Malcom Lewis Richmond, runner up for our Young Quebecers Leading the Way Award; Chelsea Craig, President of the Young Liberals of Canada (Quebec); and Jonathan Seifert, from the Conservative Club of Concordia University. Also with us to explain the issues faced by our Official Language Minority Community were the Interim Commissioner of Official Languages Ghislaine Saikaley, Assistant Commissioner Mary Donaghy and Quebec Representative David Johnston.

Prior to the evening’s event, I took advantage of our presence in Ottawa to introduce the QCGN to the newest members of the House Standing Committee on Official Languages, Stephanie Kusie (Calgary Midnapore), and Alupa Clarke (Beauport — Limoilou).

Senators Planning Visit to Quebec

The QCGN was contacted recently by the Senate Standing Committee on Official Languages which is planning a visit to the English-speaking community of Quebec in the Spring. The visit, tentatively planned for March, is to do research to support their study regarding the future of the Official Languages Act. The last time the Senate Committee visited our community, Senators produced a seminal report entitled The Vitality of Quebec’s English-Speaking Communities: From Myth To Reality. Replete with useful recommendations, the Senators’ report provided the QCGN, our organizations and our community with a wealth of evidence that has been used in our advocacy efforts with governments at all levels.

Court Challenges Program Expert Panel Selection

Earlier this year, the Government of Canada announced the reinstatement of the Court Challenges Program (CCP).  Since then, the University of Ottawa was chosen to implement and manage the program, and a selection committee was appointed to make recommendations on the composition of two independent expert panels, seven individuals on the linguistic expert panel, and seven on the equality expert panel. Last week, the Department of Canadian Heritage launched the ministerial appointment process to fill these 14 positions. Full details regarding this appointment opportunity are available here. QCGN stakeholders are encouraged to distribute this notice throughout their networks. The QCGN is willing to consider supporting the application of qualified individuals with a proven track-record defending and enhancing the linguistic rights of English-speaking Quebecers.


By Guy Rodgers
English-Language Arts Network

Culture is an unpredictable, volatile business. Just ask any of the three Ministers of Culture and Communications who have held the portfolio in the past 18 months. Hélène David launched Quebec’s first Cultural Policy review in 25 years, then was moved to Higher Education in the 2016 cabinet reshuffle. Luc Fortin made a valiant effort to walk the tightrope of promoting French-language culture while recognizing that English-speaking artists are also part of Quebec’s culture, before being moved to the Family Ministry in October. Now the Cultural Policy dossier has been entrusted to a new face, Marie Montpetit.

The cultural policy review got off to a dubious start when invitations to participate in the process somehow failed to reach the English-speaking arts community. Warning bells tinkled when none of the briefing documents for the cultural policy review mentioned English-language culture.  This was a marked retreat from the positive affirmation made in 1992. The one exception was a question about how to deal with the “problem’ of artists creating work in English – presumably aimed at francophones choosing to tap into the international English-speaking market. Throughout the process, Minister Fortin assured ELAN that despite administrative flaws in the review process, his government was committed to a robust policy recognizing and supporting English-speaking artists. The key point ELAN emphasised in its final presentation for the cultural policy review is that culture in Quebec will always be subject to misunderstandings, questions and suspicions, especially for artists in a minority situation. It is essential for English-speaking artists to have a place to take their questions and complaints.  A designated cultural ombudsman would go a long way toward eliminating an on-going feeling of marginalization shared by many English-speaking artists.

Meanwhile, the optimism surrounding CALQ’s 2016-19 Cultural Diversity Action Plan turned to confusion, disappointment, and anger for many culturally diverse artists and organizations when this summer’s funding results were announced. During the question period at CALQ’s annual information session for arts service organizations in October, I asked CEO Anne-Marie Jean if she was aware of negative responses to funding decisions. She replied that a Cultural Diversity Action Plan does not mean that every culturally diverse organization will be funded. Fair enough. But that doesn’t explain why award-winning culturally diverse artists and organizations were cut or not funded.
Additionally, the Quebec Drama Federation, a venerable arts service organization, has been granted one final year of reduced funding before being cut completely. How could such a drastic decision be made without asking the English theatre community if it collectively benefits from the work QDF does?  CALQ has agreed to meet with QDF and PACT (Professional Association of Canadian Theatres) and ELAN to discuss the complaints. We hope these meetings will restore confidence in how CALQ’s decisions are made.  And we hope that the new Cultural Policy and Action Plan will create a permanent mechanism which can address this kind of grievance quickly and directly.


By Jordan Black
CIF Fund Coordinator

The 10 groups whose projects were funded through the Community Innovation Fund found out they had more in common than they first thought when they met in early November for the kick-off meeting of the Community of Practice on Sustainability.

A central tenet of the $1 million CIF initiative, the community of practice is designed to create a culture shift in the minority official language community sector by encouraging open collaboration between groups, including the sharing of resources and best practices relating to fundraising, partnership development, social enterprise, service delivery, and organizational capacity building.

The word of the day was diversity, with the groups’ target populations varying from small maritime communities to highly diverse inner-city immigrant populations and organizations from on and off the Island of Montreal. Some are well-established while others are just getting started.

During a round of ice-breakers, it came out that a surprising number of participants had been with their organizations for longer than some of the groups had even existed.

“This wide range of projects and organizations is a sign of the vast potential for social innovation to transform community organizations,” commented Beverly Caplan, a senior adviser on the CIF project. However, many felt it might also represent a challenge in terms of finding common themes around which to unite.

Later, in a series of workshops and activities designed to allow the group to feel their way towards a common sense of purpose, participants discussed the challenges they face in their specific milieus as well as some of the success stories they’ve had so far. Through this exercise, it became apparent that some groups had more in common than they initially thought. For example, when one group from an isolated community mentioned fears about government programs creating perverse incentives for youth, they were met with agreement from inner-city groups who initially seemed to be in quite a different situation.

By meeting face-to-face, the hope is that CIF recipients will be able to build strong bonds of cooperation in order to leverage the overall impact of their joint endeavours to drive greater investment from the private sector, as well as to share ideas around the establishment of social enterprise and alternative revenue generation.

As one participant mentioned during a plenary session, “we’re starting to see where issues we’re having might overlap with some other groups, and hopefully we can find a way to work together on that.” One fortuitous outcome of the community of practice would be for these groups to join forces to push for more tailored service delivery from the government to meet the specific demands of local communities.

The meeting kicked off with a word from QCGN Director General Sylvia Martin-Laforge, executive sponsor for the CIF initiative. She discussed with candour the years of work that fed into the development of the CIF project.

“Seeing you all gathered here together in this room is the culmination, for me and my team, of more than three years of hard work,” Martin-Laforge said, adding that, as a pilot project funded through Employment and Social Development Canada, various stakeholders will be watching closely to learn from the CIF model.  “We need you to help us make a case for a renewal of this project to ensure that these funds keep coming into our English-speaking community, whether through the QCGN or another intermediary.”

Martin-Laforge said the newly announced provincial Secretariat for Relations with English-speaking Quebecers, to be headed by Minister Kathleen Weil, signalled a turning of the tide for relations with the provincial government. “The QCGN will continue to work for renewed investment in the wider English-speaking community in Quebec from all levels of government,” she said, adding that she hopes the province will agree to match any additional federal funds paid into the CIF program.

Facilitated by Emma Legault and Sarah Manolson, whose expert services were provided to the CIF by Learn Quebec, the meeting concluded with a round of thanks to various stakeholders and a discussion of key takeaways and lessons that will inform the design of the next meeting, to be held in March. The plan is for the community of practice to become a nexus for knowledge sharing and collaboration among various groups serving the needs of the English-speaking and other non-Francophone minority communities in Quebec.

The CIF team received outstanding support from Concordia University. Professor Lorraine O’Donnell, a CIF project partner, arranged a warm and inviting room for the meeting in the School of Community and Public Affairs and lunch was sponsored by the university through the efforts of Marie-Josée Allard, director of hospitality. Victoria Pearson, assistant to the principal, provided much-appreciated technical and logistical support.


By Irwin Block

Activists and supporters of Quebec’s English-speaking community, including politicians from three levels of government, gathered on Oct. 26 to pay tribute to five people for their extraordinary contributions to improving the lives of community members and the broader society.

Clifford Lincoln, Sid Stevens and Earl De La Perralle, and James Carter are the winners of this year’s Victor and Sheila Goldbloom Distinguished Community Service awards. They, and Claudia Di Iorio, winner of the Young Quebecers Leading the Way Award, were fêted at a banquet at Montreal’s Club Saint James.

QCGN President James Shea praised this year’s winners as “extraordinary leaders who have made exceptional contributions to our community of communities. All are devoted visionaries who have served their community and their causes.”

The main award was created by the QCGN nine years ago and named for the late physician and political leader Victor Goldbloom and his wife Sheila, a social worker and tireless community volunteer. Speaking at the ceremony, Mrs. Goldbloom singled out two of the award winners for a personal connection: Jim Carter, who had been her student at McGill’s School of Social Work, and Clifford Lincoln, a cabinet colleague of her husband while Robert Bourassa was premier in the late 1980s.

Goldbloom thanked all the winners for how they have helped Quebec and Canada.

Kathleen Weil, the newly named provincial Minister responsible for Relations with English-Speaking Quebecers, said she knows first-hand “the enormous impact dedicated volunteers have on society.”

Weil said the creation of a secretariat to deal with issues affecting Quebec’s English-speaking community has “enormous potential” and shows the Liberal government is ready “to bolster our sense of belonging here in Quebec … that everyone should feel that they are part of this great society, part of its future.”

Emcee Mutsumi Takahashi said she has enormous respect for Clifford Lincoln, and cannot forget the moment when he resigned from cabinet in 1989 over his government’s refusal to accept a Supreme Court ruling on the language of commercial signs. “I still can see him standing in the National Assembly, when he said there is no such thing as inside rights and outside rights, rights are rights are rights,” she said.

“He is a man with an unwavering sense of justice, a master in balancing the needs and aspirations of this community,” Takahashi added. “He has made and continues to make a real difference in areas such as English-language rights, the environment, education, public transit, health and social services, and the rights of the intellectually handicapped.”

In response, Lincoln expressed his love for Montreal and Quebec, adding “we are really true Canadians if we are good Quebecers, and good citizens of Montreal.”

Lincoln paid tribute to both Goldblooms, and the late Gretta Chambers, whose recent passing was marked during the awards ceremony. “They are people who crossed thresholds between one community and the other, that believe English- and French-speaking communities belong to each other. There is no way that we should divide ourselves in sterile conflicts.”

Lincoln said he hoped “the young generation will take over from us the old ones, that they will stay here … and show that it is possible to live here, in English, defend our culture and be proud of it, and at the same time be also Québécois, Montréalais, et Canadiens.”

Sid Stevens accepted the award for himself and Sun Youth co-founder Earl De La Perralle, who built and developed the organization since its founding as a community newspaper in 1954.

“The best testimony on how effective Sun Youth is, is the number of people who return as adult volunteers,” said Takahashi. “They were once helped by Sun Youth, they now want to give back.”

Stevens thanked Sun Youth’s 1,500 volunteers and all levels of governments for their support, which he noted was a crucial element in the success of the organization.

The key to its success, he said, is “dedication, determination, pride, teamwork, and discipline” and people ready to make sacrifices to improve the lives of others.

“There are three types of people: those who watch things happen, those who are wondering what’s happening, and the people in this room who have made things happen,” he said, thanking the QCGN for the award.

James Carter, recognized for a lifetime of advocacy for improved access to health and social services in English, was credited for his “determination, vision, patience, and talent as a negotiator over many years. He has the ability to harness the talent and the dedication of individuals within diverse organizations and with a very steady hand empowered them to tackle and assume a prominent leadership role.”

Carter was described as second only to lawyer Eric Maldoff in his knowledge of the legislation and various regulations and practices governing access in English to health and social services in Quebec.

Carter said his credo is “community action for social change” and that the award was a celebration of that credo. He noted that Sheila Goldbloom was an important influence in his development.

The QCGN praised Claudia Di Iorio, winner of the Young Quebecers Leading the Way Award. The QCGN noted the second-year McGill law student, was “brilliant, resilient, courageous, a young woman who has overcome so much to become a highly visible and influential advocate of safe driving.”

Di Iorio recovered from a month-long coma and severe injuries from a car accident seven year ago at the age of 16. She noted that though traffic fatalities in Quebec have been decreasing, almost one person a day dies in a car accident, and that is “one too many.”

Di Iorio described her award as “a symbol of hope, strength, unity, and innovation,” and urged audience members to “be careful on the way home, drive safely, but most importantly, have fun!”

To view the CTV Montreal features on our winners, the awards booklet and more photos of the event, visit our website:


Dr. Paul Zanazanian of the Department of Integrated Studies in Education at McGill University has developed a pedagogical tool designed to complement the provincial history program and to make room for the diverse presence and contributions of English-speakers to Quebec.

“The tool empowers English-speaking youth to discover who they are, where they come from, and where they are headed,” said Dr. Zanazanian.

Based on a prior study, Zanazanian created an interactive narrative framework that helps teachers engage their students in learning the history of English-speaking Quebec. The main objective is for students to produce their own stories of belonging through investigative historical research.

This pedagogical tool includes a core story line, or underlying narrative pattern, that helps students frame their researched perspectives within a larger understanding of the history of the English-speaking community, thereby strengthening their connection to Quebec.

The key turning points in the history of English-speaking Quebec help structure the tool while two guiding themes — diversification through immigration, and working together to build a common civic project — act as narrative threads.

“Teachers can guide students to develop their own histories by helping them think and weave their stories like historians do,” Zanazanian explained. “This allows students to develop their own opinions about the past rather than soaking in those presented to them by authority figures who may have agendas of their own.”

To help them defend the ideas they put forth, the tool further assists students to situate their stories within larger understandings of how societies use history. “Not only does this allow them to validate their stories of belonging, it also helps them better understand and be more open to the history program they are being taught,” said Zanazanian.

Zanazanian is currently conducting a research study on Secondary 3 and 4 history teachers in English schools. The goal of the new study is to understand how they make room for the presence and contributions of English-speaking Quebecers when teaching Quebec’s history curriculum. He is seeking English-language history teachers for the study. For details contact


Submitted by the Quebec Federation
of Home and School Associations

Bringing about culture shifts is not easy. Overhauling a system requires innovation, engagement, and a high degree of risk. This is certainly the case in education, where it is easy to stick with the traditional system that has existed for decades. But educators Noel Burke and Michael Canuel think it is entirely possible.

These two men, both leaders in the field of education in Quebec, delivered the keynote address at the 73rd annual Quebec Federation of Home and School Associations (QFHSA) Fall Conference to an audience of home and school representatives from across the province. Held in Vaudreuil-Dorion on Oct. 28, the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Elementary gymnasium was full for the presentation, which focused on ways in which Quebec’s education system is, to state it simply, behind the times.

The architects behind the NEXTSchool project, Burke and Canuel, spoke at length of how the system must change should teachers, parents, and most importantly students, want to succeed in a rapidly changing society.

Canuel, CEO of LEARN Quebec and founder of the Canadian e-learning network, opened the address by discussing the challenges that children face in a globalized society. Burke, an educational consultant, school commissioner, and instructor at McGill University and Concordia University, echoed Canuel’s calls for change in his portion of the presentation.

Burke explained how NEXTSchool project seeks a proactive approach to meeting the needs of students in the classroom. Its primary objective is the decompartmentalization of learning. Student expectations are the focus in this system, with the teacher acting as a navigator. An emphasis is placed on collaboration, autonomy, relevant learning, and a sense of belonging, providing more opportunities for students and staff alike.

Burke described it as giving the students and teachers a voice in what is taught. “It’s like turning the whole thing upside down.”

The conference continued with a series of workshops, some addressing Home and School leadership issues while others addressed parenting concerns. The morning workshops (The Diamond Relation Between Home and School, Governing Board, Administration and School Boards; Online Payments for Home and School Activities and Email Etiquette) addressed issues that can help Home and Schools run more efficiently and effectively. The afternoon workshops (Teen Depression, Art Feels Good and Full of Character) offered information to parents on how to help the psycho-social development of their children.

Three Regional Council Meetings rounded off the day, giving representatives of Home and School associations in different school boards across the province, an opportunity to exchange ideas and concerns. We were especially pleased to have representatives from Baie Comeau Home and School come down for the conference and share their perspectives.

The first Home and School meeting was held in Quebec at Macdonald High School in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue in 1919.  In 1944, the local Home and School Associations formed the Québec Federation of Home and School Associations. Home and School has served, over the years, as a valuable institution for encouraging and supporting parental involvement in education in Quebec.

In 2019, the Québec Federation of Home and School Associations (QFHSA) will be celebrating the centennial (100 years) of its first Home and School meeting in Quebec as well as 75 years of networking as a federation.


By Cassandra Kerwin
Courtesy of the Quebec Chronicle-Telegraph

Newcomers improve their pronunciation and enunciation skills in both French and in English at the second Newcomers’ Language Exchange Café presented by the Voice of English-Speaking Quebec (VEQ).

After moving to Quebec City, newcomers have to learn to communicate mainly in French but, if they are not anglophones to begin with, also in English. For the evening, VEQ newcomers’ activity coordinator Jessica Price prepared a series of games specific to each language.

Price welcomed 20 newcomers to Quebec City to the second Language Exchange Café where they gathered to enjoy coffee and bilingual games at the Jeffery Hale Pavilion on Oct. 26. “The goal of tonight is to speak another language,” she said.

People become more anxious and shy, when learning a new language, especially when speaking in front of others, she said.

“Everyone makes mistakes, in English and in French. We all have trouble finding words. Don’t be shy about your accent; we all have one,” said Price. “However, accents and definitions of certain words change from one culture and language to the next.”

She told participants that bilingual volunteers were there to help them learn but also have fun.

Price and her team organized a series of games placed on different tables, half of which were designated as either French or English. Some people had fun sticking to one language, when it was easier and more comfortable to stick to the other.

Throughout the evening, people playing Qui suis-je? or Who/What Am I? had to ask “yes” or “no” questions to determine the name of the person and the object or animal written on a Post-it note placed on their back. At other tables, participants had to find the differences between two photos, or verbally direct their partner to create an image with straws.

Newcomers improved their French and their English as they learned about different cultures.

Listening to them speak, one comes to realize that certain syllables taken for granted in one language are hard to pronounce in a foreign language, with the most evident being the “th” sound in English and the “euil” sound in French. As the evening progressed, levels of anxiety and shyness diminished greatly, while levels of pronunciation and enunciation gradually increased.

VEQ is offering a Winds of Change Workshop for Newcomers on Thursday, Nov. 23, at 6:30 p.m. in the Jeffery Hale Pavilion. For more information and to register, visit or call Jessica Price at 418-683-2366 ext. 225.


Submitted by Neighbours Regional
Association of Rouyn-Noranda

As part of the Canada 150 Celebrations, Neighbours Regional Association of Rouyn-Noranda commissioned a mural to highlight the heritage and cultural diversity of the city.

The mural was officially inaugurated during the Canada Cultural Days on Sept. 30. It depicts a red-haired woman hanging out linens as her husband blows her a kiss before going off to work. From the lunch box he is carrying, it is suggested that he works at Noranda Mines.

The premise of the mural is that neighbourhood ladies are getting together for a community picnic and have each supplied a table linen or blanket from their own country of origin; hence flying in the wind on the clothesline you find motifs representing Polish, Ukrainian, French, Scottish, Italian, Russian and German immigrants. The motifs were contributed or approved by Neighbours who are members of that culture.

On hand for the inaugurations were Ghislaine Saikaley, interim Commissioner of Official Languages, James Shea, President of Quebec Community Groups Network and chair of the Western Quebec School Board; Christine Moore, MP for Abitibi-Témiscamingue and Parliamentary Critic for Rural Affairs & Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec; Luc Blanchette, Quebec’s Minister responsible for Forests, Wildlife and Parks and Rouyn-Noranda-Témiscamingue; André Tessier, acting Mayor Ville de Rouyn-Noranda; as well as John Buck and Grant Myers of the Community Economic Development and Employability Corporation (CEDEC).


Submitted by the
Quebec Writers’ Federation

Expect hundreds of new titles for sale, including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, books for kids, award-winners and bestsellers as the Association of English-language Publishers of Quebec (AELAQ) and the Quebec Writers’ Federation present their annual Holiday Pop-Up Book Fair at Le Café in the Monument National on Nov. 25 and 26.

The free event encourages booklovers of all ages and interests to browse, buy, and get books signed — just in time for holiday gift-giving. There will also be fun readings, festive celebrations and the chance to meet acclaimed local authors.

“It’s not just about selling books — it’s also about celebrating the vibrant literary scene by bringing together writers, publishers, translators and the public in a two-day feast of local lit,” said Anna Leventhal, executive director of AELAQ. “The book fair is a great way to try out the hundred-mile literary diet. People are very interested in discovering and supporting local culture; for the holidays we want to offer Montrealers an opportunity to give the gift of a book from here.”

“This is a rare occasion for readers to see the impressive output of Quebec’s writers in English over the past year, all in one place, and to meet so many of those writers!” adds Lori Schubert executive director of the Quebec Writers’ Federation (QWF).

This year’s special guest is lauded writer Kathleen Winter, author of Lost in September who was shortlisted for the 2017 Governor General’s Literary Award and QWF’s Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction.

“It’s a joyful, festive and friendly time where indie local publishers and authors share what we love most: story and community,” said Winter, who attended the last two fairs. “It feels impromptu and informal, yet you’ll learn a lot and leave feeling warm and connected.”

Winter will be on hand for a Festive Wine and Cheese where bookworms can meet the acclaimed author and raise a glass to local lit. Winter will be introduced by Montreal Gazette publisher Lucinda Chodan at the event which takes place Saturday, Nov. 25 from 4-6 p.m. Fair-goers will also toast the 50th anniversary of Tundra Books, publisher of Roch Carrier’s iconic The Hockey Sweater. Tundra was founded by Westmounter May Cutler, the first woman publisher of kids’ books in Canada. Birthday cake will be served!

Another festival highlight will be the Rapid-Fire Reading, Ricochet Writing, mRbilia edition that takes place on Sunday, Nov. 26, from 2-3 p.m. During this event, 20 writers celebrate 20 years of the Montreal Review of Books in a fast-paced reading and writing bonanza. Authors read for only two minutes each while the next writer adds a sentence or two to a collectively created text that will be read aloud. Writers representing 20 years of mRb history include Lorina Mapa, Alex Manley, Mary Soderstrom, Sherry Simon, Gillian Sze, Trevor Ferguson, Ariela Freedman, Christopher DiRaddo, John Kalbflesich, Karen Nesbitt, Colleen Curran and more.

Also on hand for this year’s fair will be jia qing wilson-yang, 2017 Lambda Literary Award winner for Transgender Fiction, Small Beauty; Sylvain Neuvel, sci-fi sensation slated to adapt the popular dystopian Black Mirror series into a book; Jocelyn Parr, shortlisted for a 2017 Governor General’s Literary Award and the QWF’s Concordia University First Book Prize for Uncertain Weights and Measures; Bonnie Farmer, award-winning children’s author of Oscar Lives Next Door; and Bill Haugland, journalist, former news anchor, and Mystery/Crime author. They will be joined by Guillaume Morissette, Greg Santos, Marcela Huerta, Xue Yiwei, Peter Kirby, Robert Everett-Green, Connie Guzzo-McParland, Jonah Campbell, Mary Soderstrom, Licia Canton, Larissa Andrusyshyn, Carolyn Marie Souaid, Claire Holden Rothman, Cason Sharpe, and Lazer Lederhendler.

Local publishers at the event include McGill-Queen’s University Press, Linda Leith Publishing, Véhicule Press, Metatron, DC Books, Metonymy Press, Black Rose Books, Shoreline Press, Longbridge Books, Baraka Books/QC Fiction and more. “The Fair is exciting for us because we get to actually meet the readers who are interested in the books we publish,” commented Simon Dardick of Véhicule Press.

When asked why people should come to the Holiday Pop-Up Book Fair, author Alejandro Saravia said: “The fair presents new voices and ways to imagine Quebec. In a moment in history in which the winds of ethno-nationalism seem to blow harder in our province, literature and the exercise of imagination may be ways to find strength in diversity.”

“Books open your mind and change the world for the better,” adds writer Rahul Varma.  “Montreal has writers from all over the world; at the book fair you meet writers who show you what you already have inside you.”

“People still have the need for stories, for narratives that help describe their world, their time and place,” said writer Jacob Potashnik. “A book fair is a way to not only touch the paper tapestry but to meet the people who weave it. Book fairs at their best achieve a critical mass of information, excitement and exposure to new stories and ways of seeing.”

Author Branka Petrovic said: “People will not only be supporting local artists, they will be giving (themselves or someone they love) a unique, potentially life-transforming object that can rival the latest iPhone (and they’re less expensive!)… priceless, inexpensive, beautiful things that can be passed down for generations to come. It’s a little like going to the craft fair,” comments writer author Jack Hannan. “I find something that happily surprises me every year.”

As an added bonus, provincial sales tax doesn’t apply to books – considered essential goods – a decision made to encourage literacy and support book publishers in the province.

The 2017 Holiday Pop-Up Book Fair takes place on Saturday, Nov. 25 from noon till 6 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 26 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Le Café in the Monument National, 1182 Blvd St. Laurent. The site is wheelchair accessible and family friendly.

Network News October 2017


By Jim Shea
QCGN President

I hope you had a relaxing summer and that “La Rentrée” has been productive. While some of us spent our summers on vacation at the beach or at the cottage, the QCGN office has been busy moving forward on an assortment of files. That included reacting to the mid-summer publication of the long awaited, but less than perfect, regulation governing the committee which advises the Health Minister on plans that guarantee access to health and social services to English-speaking Quebecers in their own language. We also prepared to advise the government on the creation of a new Secretariat for Quebec’s English-speaking community and planned two major advocacy activities this fall where QCGN and other community leaders will meet with MPs, Senators and MNAs to discuss the priorities and needs of our Community of Communities.

QCGN Mourns Loss of Gretta Chambers

In September, we were deeply saddened by the loss of an influential and beloved member of our extended family. Gretta Chambers passed away on Sept. 9 after a lifetime of remarkable achievements. Born of an English father and a French mother in Montreal in 1927, Chambers earned a degree in political science from McGill in 1947. She went on to become a prominent political commentator who was featured in The Gazette, on CBC Radio and on CTV television, then CFCF. Much of her work consisted of explaining French-speaking Quebec to the English-speaking community and building bridges between our Two Solitudes. In 1991, Chambers broke the glass ceiling to become the first female chancellor of McGill University. While serving as chancellor, she chaired a task force on English education in Quebec that led to the creation of the Advisory Board on English Education, which she was named the first chair. Her professional and volunteer commitments also included being chair of the board of directors of the McGill University Research Institute and the Montreal Children’s Hospital, and sitting on McGill’s Board of Governors. She was also actively involved in the Montreal Consortium for Human Rights Advocacy Training at McGill. During her lifetime, Chambers received numerous honours, including QCGN’s very own Sheila and Victor Goldbloom Distinguished Community Service Award in 2012. She was also named an Officer of the Ordre National du Quebec in 1993 and a Member of the Order of Canada in 1994 – to which she was later promoted to Companion in 2000. More recently she was named a Commander of the Ordre de Montréal in 2016. Chambers is survived by her brother, prominent philosopher Charles Taylor, five children including QCGN Vice-President Geoffrey Chambers, and eight wonderful grandchildren including Egan Chambers, a Vanier College music student who has been a summer intern at the QCGN for the past two summers. Family, friends and politicians who attended her funeral service last Saturday at the Church of St. Leon de Westmount included Quebec’s Higher Education Minister Hélène David, Immigration Minister Kathleen Weil, D’Arcy McGee MNA David Birnbaum, Parti Québécois Leader Jean-François Lisée, Federal NDP leader Thomas Mulcair and former Prime Minister Joe Clark. Read our statement, as well as coverage by The Gazette, the Globe and Mail, CTV Montreal, and CBC Quebec.

Progress on Secretariat

Back in June, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard announced plans to create a new secretariat dedicated to English-speaking Quebecers and opened the door to naming a minister responsible for our community. The creation of such a body is a longstanding priority of our Network which has long believed that our community’s concerns are not being transmitted through Quebec’s bureaucracy where our community is notoriously underrepresented. In fact, exactly four years before Premier Couillard’s announcement, our Network debated the issue and passed a unanimous resolution requesting formal representation within the government of Quebec to give voice to the policy-development interests of the English-speaking community. The impact of our absence was obvious during reforms to health care, which annihilated many of our institutions; and educational reforms, which threatened the constitutional language rights of English-speaking Quebecers. We have opened discussions with the Conseil Exécutif – essentially the Premier’s Ministry – on what a secretariat focused on English-speaking Quebec could look like. We explained the need for such a secretariat and how it could prevent unnecessary conflicts that arise when policies and programs are developed without an understanding of English-speaking Quebec and its institutions. Couillard’s officials have yet to develop a model for the secretariat, although they have studied similar mechanisms within other Canadian jurisdictions – an exercise the QCGN also undertook before developing a proposal that would be most effective for our community. We are also discussing funding for research and community capacity to effectively interface with government and the new secretariat.

Provincial Access Committee

As mentioned in my preamble, we are also active on the health front. In July, Health Minister Gaetan Barrette published a new regulation governing the Comité provincial pour la prestation des services de santé et des services sociaux en langue anglaise aka the Provincial Access Committee in La Gazette Officielle du Québec (French only).  With 45 days to react to the publication, the QCGN’s Standing Committee on Health and Social Services reached out to a small group of members and health and social service stakeholders to examine the regulation and its implications. Under the direction of Committee chair Eric Maldoff, the ad-hoc group worked closely with a lawyer remunerated by QCGN and Jeffery Hale to redraft the regulation to reflect many concerns. These included serious reservations about the composition of the group that would be proposing committee candidates to the Minister; the mandate of the access committee; as well as the role of its secretary.  Our proposed rewrite, which was endorsed by the Board of the Community Health and Social Service Network (CHSSN), strengthens the role of the community in selecting committee members and reinforces their obligation to maintain relations with Quebec’s English-speaking community. It also requires that the committee’s secretary have knowledge of legislative and administrative framework with regards to access to health and social services in English as well as a genuine understanding of the preoccupations of the English-speaking communities. One month later, we are awaiting news on the final regulation.

Bill 101 Turns 40

The adoption of Bill 101, aka the Charter of the French Language, that was embraced by Premier René Lévesque’s Parti Québécois government in August of 1977, marked a major milestone in language politics in Quebec. The law which resolved “to make French the language of Government and the Law, as well as the normal and everyday language of work, instruction, communication, commerce and business,” was commemorated by supporters and critics alike this past summer. It is important to note that Bill 101 was preceded in 1974 by Bill 22 and in 1969 by Bill 63. Championed by Liberal Premier Robert Bourassa, Bill 22 first made French the sole official language of Quebec. Introduced by the Union Nationale government of Jean-Jacques Bertrand, Bill 63 was a reaction to controversy and violence that erupted when the Catholic school board of Saint Leonard insisted that children of mostly Italian immigrants be required to go to French schools. Bill 101 with its assorted regulations and its enabling regulatory bodies, including the Office Québécois de la langue française (once baptized by English media as the language police or tongue troopers) have been the source of much angst in the English-speaking community. Amended more than a half-dozen times over the past four decades, the Charter was extended to include controversial provisions including controls on the use of English on commercial signs and restrictions on enrollment into English schools. Another amendment by PQ Language Minister Gérald Godin included in the Charter’s preamble that enforcing French as the official language of Quebec should be “respectful of the institutions of the English-speaking community of Québec, and respectful of the ethnic minorities, whose valuable contribution to the development of Québec it readily acknowledges.” In June of 2014, QCGN’s membership adopted a Statement of Principles that clearly spells out our Network’s support for the French-speaking majority and our respect for the French language. Then President Dan Lamoureux stated that “while QCGN accepts French as the official language of Quebec, we remain adamant that coercive measures will neither promote nor protect the French language.” Read QCGN’s op-ed signed by Vice-President Geoffrey Chambers and myself in The Gazette.

Parti Québécois and CEGEPs

While on the delicate subject of language, QCGN has strenuously objected to recent suggestions by Parti Québécois hardliners that funding to English CEGEPs be cut to curb the growing enrolment of French-speaking students in English junior colleges which has been on the increase in the past few years. The QCGN argues that coercive measures to prevent Quebec youth from becoming more bilingual are not good for the province. Read stories by The Gazette here and here, by the Canadian Press, and view coverage on CTV Your Morning, CBC Montreal here, here and here, on Global Montreal, as well as QCGN Director General Sylvia Martin-Laforge’s live interview with CTV Montreal here.

Oops, Census Language Numbers Corrected

On Aug. 2, Statistics Canada released the language data from the 2016 Census. Soon after, anomalies were detected in the mother-tongue data for various regions in Quebec and an in-depth investigation was launched to identify their source. Noted demographer Jack Jedwab, executive vice-president for the Association for Canadian Studies, said he was not surprised to see a 10 per cent increase in the number of mother tongue Anglophones in Quebec over the past five years. He was flabbergasted when he dug deeper into where those people were said to be living, and found booms of English-speaking Quebecers outside of metropolitan Montreal. On Aug. 17, Statistics Canada updated the language data, after correcting computer program errors used to compile these statistics. An in-depth explanation is provided here. Statistical kerfuffle aside, the QCGN notes that while our numbers are not dropping, our community is experiencing decline in almost every other way – high unemployment, declining enrolment in our schools, loss of institutions and institutional governance and so on. Current and future growth in our community’s population is coming from immigration, and these people’s children cannot attend our schools. As a result, enrolment in our schools has fallen 60 per cent since 1971, compared to a 36 per cent drop in enrolment in the French system, and this gap will continue to increase. As the QCGN has always said, the threat to English-speaking Quebec is not numbers, and it is not language retention. It is about social, political, and economic inclusion and maintaining management and control of our institutions. That is why we are more focused on upcoming data releases on education, labour, and language of work that will help us understand if we have made socio-economic progress since the 2011 Census.  While on the subject of the census, note that Statistics Canada has changed the way it calculates ‘corrected mother-tongue’ figures in this Census. People who declared more than one mother tongue or more than one language spoken most often at home are included in more than one category. Therefore, the sum of the categories is greater than the total population. Previously, multiple declarations were evenly distributed between French and English mother tongue groups in the corrected figures. The impact of this change is an increase in the statistical size of French and English mother-tongue populations. Therefore, care must be taken when doing longitudinal analysis of mother-tongue data between censuses. Read coverage in The Gazette, from Presse Canadienne, in Le Devoir on CBC Montreal here, here and here, on CTV Montreal here, and on Global Montreal here. Also read opinion pieces by William Johnson here and here.

In September, Statistics Canada released household income data from the 2016 Census. Although data from the public release was not cross-tabulated to official language variables, the QCGN was able to obtain tables that demonstrate the economic challenges that continue to face our community, including incomes that are more than $3,000 lower than the provincial median. We are negotiating with Statistics Canada to improve the usability of last week’s income data, which was derived from the short-form Census, and the more in-depth long-form data, which will be released in October.

Our Languages Blog

The Language Portal of Canada, the Canadian reference for language, has officially launched its Our Languages blog which aims to provide a meeting place where Canadians can come together to discuss language-related topics, learn more about community initiatives and celebrate their successes with others. Over the coming weeks, the Language Portal will publish posts on difficult points of language, language-related news and events in Canada, English and French language learning, and much more! To stay in the loop, subscribe to their email notification service and follow them on social media. In addition, feel free to comment on blog posts and share them with your network. Additionally, if you would you like to share your passion for language and become a guest blogger contact the Language Portal of Canada team.


Remarkable members of the English-speaking community will be honoured in late October for their singular contributions and outstanding community leadership, the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) announced Wednesday. Clifford Lincoln, Sid Stevens and Earl De La Perralle, as well as James Carter have been named winners of QCGN’s ninth annual Sheila and Victor Goldbloom Distinguished Community Service Award. In addition, Claudia Di Iorio has been chosen for the third annual Young Quebecers Leading the Way Award.

“In their individual ways, and in far different fields of endeavour, our Community Award winners have proven to be extraordinary leaders who have made exceptional contributions to our Community of Communities,” QCGN President James Shea said. “All have been visionaries, dedicated to their communities and their causes. They not only inspire social change—they embody it through their actions and their commitment”

A passionate and principled advocate for fairness, Clifford Lincoln is a bridge-builder and a consensus maker. He has been an instrumental and inspiring leader, within the ranks of federal and provincial cabinets and far beyond. Driven by his unerring sense of justice, and adept at balancing the needs and aspirations of differing communities, he has made and continues to make a real and lasting difference in such areas as English-language rights; the environment; education; public transit; health and social services; and the rights of the intellectually handicapped.

Since the tender ages of 13 and nine, co-awardees Sid Stevens and Earl De La Perralle have nurtured, built, and led Sun Youth Organization. This unique Montreal community group has, since 1954, developed street-level programs to meet an array of serious and often underserved community needs. These range from sports activities and summer camp for at-risk and other youth to a year-round food bank and other significant support work. The best testimony to this group’s effectiveness is the number of individuals who return to Sun Youth as adult volunteers, to give back of themselves after having received a Sun Youth helping hand during their own youth.

James Carter has been a tireless and exceptionally effective advocate for improved access to health and social services in English. He remains a community pillar, thanks to the determination, vision and negotiating skills he honed over the years. His patience has also proven a hallmark; as a result, his long-term mentoring has exerted quiet, positive influence through English-speaking communities right across Quebec. He strategically harnesses the talent and dedication of individuals within diverse community organizations. With steady guidance, he quietly empowers many to successfully tackle and succeed at leadership roles.

Claudia Di Iorio is a brilliant, resilient and courageous young woman who overcame adversity to become a highly visible and influential proponent for safe driving. Beginning in 2010, during the summer of her 16th birthday, she battled back from devastating injuries caused by an impaired driver. A spokesperson for the Cool Taxi coupon initiative since 2012, she participates in numerous school presentations, documentaries and media interviews and also speaks for the Fondation Neuro-Trauma Marie-Robert. Recognizing her extraordinary road-safety advocacy and inspirational influence, the Quebec government nominated her to the Board of Directors of Quebec’s automobile insurance board, the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ). She thus became the youngest member in Quebec history of the board of directors of a crown corporation.

The Sheila and Victor Goldbloom Distinguished Community Service Award honours individuals who have gone above and beyond in contributing to the vitality and reputation of the English-speaking community and who have built bridges of understanding between Quebecers of different backgrounds. The Young Quebecers Leading the Way Award was created in 2015 by QCGN, the Fondation Notre Home Foundation and CBC Quebec to recognize and celebrate the outstanding achievements of English-speaking Quebecers under the age of 30.

Winners have been invited to receive their awards at a community celebration taking place Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017, at Montreal’s prestigious St-James Club. Co-sponsored by the Fondation Notre Home Foundation, the evening will be emceed by CTV Montreal lead anchor Mutsumi Takahashi, who was recently honoured with a Radio Television and Digital News Association (RTDNA Canada) lifetime achievement award for more than three decades of journalistic excellence. Details and tickets at



By Rita Legault
QCGN Director of Communications

Awesome, phenomenal, empowering – these are the superlatives youths used to describe their experience at the inaugural Bishop’s Forum, a week-long conference where young English-speaking Quebecers engaged in deep discussions about Quebec society and their role in seeking change.

From Aug. 13 – 18, some 50 young leaders from across the province converged on the campus of Bishop’s University in Lennoxville where they got to engage directly with political, community and business leaders who have helped shape this province.

Politicians on the impressive roster of speakers included former Premier Jean Charest, newly minted Quebec Solidaire MNA Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, Senator Joan Fraser, Federal NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair, Indigenous MP and activist Roméo Saganash and Richmond MNA Karine Vallières, the Parliamentary Youth Secretary to Premier Philippe Couillard.

Business, community leaders included filmmaker co-founder and CEO of CoPower David Berliner, Lufa Farms co-founder Lauran Rathmell, Quebec filmmaker Kevin Tierney, Ricochet Media founder Ethan Cox, and international human rights lawyer Pearl Eliadis.

“Having access to leaders of this calibre was an opportunity I would never have had had I not participated in the Bishop’s Forum,” said North Hatley resident Chad Bean, a Carleton University graduate who just applied to McGill Law School. “I also got a chance to connect with some really interesting students from across the province.”

“Meeting leaders who have served the community at all levels, from former Premier Jean Charest to our current elected officials, as well as movers and shakers in business and community organizations, showed me and my fellow Forumers that it is possible for English-speaking Quebecers to have a seat at the decision-making tables,” said Michael Forian of Concordia University.

Marissa Matthews, who has just moved from Grosse Ile in the Magdalen Islands to study at Champlain College in Lennoxville, said the Forum was a great experience that helped her come out of her shell. “It was an eye-opening experience to just come here and listen to what these people had to say… how as a society we can change things for the better.”

“The Forum was a wonderful opportunity for young people to connect to their identity as Quebecers and as leaders and to get to know each other and discover their shared vision for the province,” said Dr. Heather Lawford, associate director of the Bishop’s Forum who also coached one of the groups. “As coaches and adult supports, we were privileged to witness the remarkable talents, insights and passions of these young citizens. It was an unforgettable experience!”

In between meetings with prominent leaders, youths met in six working groups to prepare presentations to a mock parliamentary commission on the change they want to see in their communities and in their province. On the final day of the forum, the groups presented a variety of innovative policy suggestions on topics from Indigenous rights to linguistic rights, diversity and immigration to health care and mental health, as well as sustainability and climate change.

Commissioners, who were impressed with youth presentation, included Marie-Claude Bibeau, Federal Minister of International Development and La Francophonie; Rita de Santis, Quebec Minister responsible for Access to Information and the Reform of Democratic Institutions; Russell Copeman, Borough Mayor of Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grace; Marlene Jennings, former Member of Parliament; Jim Shea, President of the Quebec Community Groups Network; as well as Bishop’s Principal Michael Goldbloom.

“I hope that youth left here feeling more confident that they have the tools, the ability, and the determination to make effective changes in society,” said Goldbloom, chair of the Bishop’s Forum. “I, for one, am convinced that our youth are going to make a profound difference.”

“Bishop’s Forumers are not just the future of our community and our province, they are its present,” said Bishop’s Forum director James Hughes, noting that it was exciting to see so many youths interested in the future of Quebec’s English-speaking community.

“The Bishop’s Forum was clearly an unhyphenated success in terms of giving participants access to the people who have shaped and are shaping the province thereby conveying a true sense of the change that is possible in Quebec”, he said. “There is no question this new conference for English speaking youth is off to a terrific start.”

For more on the Bishop’s Forum, listen to the feature by CBC Sherbrooke reporter Alison Brunette, listen to an interview with James Hughes on Quebec AM’s Marika Wheeler, and read the wrap up feature in The Record.

The Bishop’s Forum has funding for three consecutive years and any member of the English-speaking community aged 18 to 24 are eligible to participate. More information on the Bishop’s Forum can be found at


Submitted by the Community Health and Social Service Network

Several members of the Community Health and Social Services Network have developed a website ( to provide information and support to English-speaking patients who must travel away from home for medical services.

Patients from the eastern regions of Quebec (Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Bas-St-Laurent, Côte-Nord) must often travel to larger centres—such as Quebec City, Rimouski, Sept-Îles and elsewhere— for specialized medical services that are unavailable in their regions.

The regional English-speaking community organizations realized that this can be a difficult experience for English speakers, some of whom are unfamiliar with these larger centres and their hospitals, and may be not sufficiently bilingual to communicate effectively when it comes to medical vocabulary and when under stress.

To better document the situation, community-based action research was carried out from 2015 to 2017, through surveys, focus groups and individual interviews. The results of this study pointed to the need for information to help patients and their loved ones prepare for their trip and navigate the cities and their hospitals. That information has been gathered together on the website, and hard-copy booklets have also been printed for the organizations to hand out to those who prefer to have a paper copy. Those “toolkits” can also be downloaded from the website and printed, if desired.

The information is organized in the following categories: preparing for your trip, local services and support (by region of departure: Lower North Shore, North Shore, Lower Saint-Lawrence, Magdalen Islands, Gaspé Coast), information for each destination (by hospital and city: Quebec City, Rimouski, Sept-Îles + Baie-Comeau, Chicoutimi, Chandler, Blanc-Sablon), information and advice for the stay at the hospital, information and advice before returning home, cost and refunds, and downloads.

As this network works closely with Francophone service providers who may also benefit from this source of centralized information, the website is available in both English and French, as are the booklets (toolkits). In addition, many patients have French-speaking family members who will also be able to find the relevant information for their loved one.

It is hoped that this source of information will improve the experience for “travelling 4 health” away from home for both English speakers and the general population of Quebec’s eastern regions.

If you would like more information, please contact any of the following persons:

Quebec City: Jennifer Johnson, Executive Director, CHSSN at (418) 684-2289, ext. 223,

New Carlisle: Cathy Brown, Executive Director, CASA (Committee for Anglophone Social Action) at (418) 752-5995,

Gaspé Town: Jessica Synnott, Executive Director, Vision Gaspé Percé Now, at 418-368-3212,

Grosse-Ile: Helena Burke, Executive Director, CAMI (Council for Anglophone Magdalen Islanders) at (418) 985-2116 ext. 1,

Baie-Comeau: Jody Lessard, Executive Director, North Shore Community Association (NSCA) at (418) 296-1545,

Saint Paul’s River: Kim Buffitt, Director of Programing, Coaster’s Association, at (418) 379-2006,

Métis-sur-mer: Melanie Leblanc, Executive Director, Heritage Lower Saint Lawrence (HLSL) at (418) 740-3339,


The Council for Anglophone Magdalen Islanders (CAMI) is pleased with the overall success of community celebrations that took place in July to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the Anglophone municipality of Grosse Île, the centennial of the St. Peter’s-by-the-Sea church building, and the 30th anniversary of CAMI.

The week began on Monday, July 24th with the opening ceremony and a community picnic at the Grosse Île Recreational Site, which included all kinds of fun activities for the young and young at heart.

On Tuesday, we commemorated the centennial of Old Harry’s St-Peter’s-by-the-Sea church building. Built in 1916, the church was construction of wood from a shipwreck. The entrance doors, called “Gates to Infinity,” are a memorial to Aaron Clarke, a resident of Old-Harry, who was swept out to sea when he tried to rescue some swimmers. The church has been deconsecrated in 2014.

We also celebrated the building’s new vocation and the unveiling of the “A People of the Sea” exhibit. Project coordinator, Nancy Ellen Clark, said the idea was self-imposed, as the building itself was constructed with salvaged lumber. The permanent exhibit presents more than 120 Magdalen Islanders, both Anglophone and Francophone, who have perished by the waters, including shipwrecks.

Its inauguration launched the official celebration day for the 125th anniversary of the Municipality of Grosse-Île, which continued with a ceremony attended by many citizens, visitors and dignitaries, including the Commissioner of Official Languages of Canada, Ghislaine Saikaley (centre in above photo).

Visitors also include a number of representatives of the QCGN organizations including Sharleen Sullivan of Neighbours Regional Association of Rouyn-Noranda and Cathy Brown of the Committee for Anglophone Social Action  (CASA) in the Gaspé. They are pictured above with CAMI’s Executive Director Helena Burke, Danielle Azoulay of Canadian Heritage, and Charles Taker a native from the Magdalen Islands who now works for the Commissioner’s Office. The 30th Mayor of Grosse-Île, Rose-Elmonde Clarke, was pleased with the public’s participation.

“A community tour of the village by bus, a beach party and a host of other activities were planned and delivered by the organizing committee, and supported by many volunteers,” said Burke, who thanked staff and volunteers for their commitment in bringing CAMI to where it is today.

On Thursday, Burke, along with the Saikaley, National Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier, the MP for Gaspésie—Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine, and Îles-de-la-Madeleine MNA Germain Chevarie visited Entry Island which is currently in the process of implementing a revitalization project and having dignitaries from both the federal and provincial government visit the island was a great success. Visits to the community garden, museum, church, and the school were all part of the days’ itinerary.

The festivities ended on Saturday, July 29 with a closing ceremony and a dance at the Grosse Île Community Centre.

A non-profit organization, CAMI has been working in the English-speaking community of the Magdalen Islands since 1987. CAMI works for the community, promoting the rights of Anglophone Magdalen Islanders and ensures that English speakers benefit from the various available programs, across an array of sectors, and that English speakers benefit from these programs in their own language. Health, education, language, culture and heritage are all part of CAMI’s mandate, a mandate that will continue to guide the organization through the years to come.


By Marla Williams

CPF-Quebec Coordinator

It is hard to remember a time when French Immersion was not a household name in Canada. Like everything, however, it has an origin. In this case, we need to venture back 51 years to Saint-Lambert, on Montreal’s South Shore, where a dedicated group of English-speaking parents meticulously and tirelessly planned, collaborated, and fought to establish such a program for their children.

In the decade that followed, fledgling French as a second language (FLS) programs cropped up throughout the country in places such as Toronto, Ottawa, Coquitlam B.C., and Sackville N.B., as an increasing number of parents wanted to provide their children with the gift of two languages. Missing, though, was a consistent voice from coast to coast.

Enter Keith Spicer, Canada’s first Commissioner of Official Languages. Eager to promote bilingualism among Canadian youth, Spicer gathered enough money together to organize a national conference entitled Parents’ Conference on French Language and Exchange Opportunities, held in Ottawa in March 1977. Parents were finally able to come together from across the country to discuss how to advance their goals and by the conference’s end, Canadian Parents for French (CPF), the now well-established volunteer-based advocacy group, was founded.

CPF volunteers quickly began advocating for more French Immersion programs throughout the country. Within 10 years, they accomplished many important achievements and created many resources that were indispensable to the sustainability of the French language in Canada, such as:

  • the first comprehensive overview for parents of federal and provincial funding opportunities for FSL education;
  • the first Canadian directory of exchange programs, summer camps, and summer language classes;
  • a directory of French Immersion programs throughout the country; and
  • the first exhaustive Bibliography of Articles and Books on Bilingualism in Education.

CPF also published a book full of articles by researchers, parents and educators entitled So You Want Your Child to Learn French! This collection was the first to offer information to parents who wanted their children to learn French. Several CPF chapters also started actively creating FSL activities for their communities and the Concours d’art oratoire, one of CPF’s most important initiatives, began in 1985.

These concerted efforts on a national scale led to many successes and skyrocketing French immersion numbers. French immersion enrolment grew by about 650 per cent in the decades following the organization’s creation. Some 320,000 students were registered in such programs by the end of the ’90s.

40 years later…

2017 marks a significant year in the history of Canadian Parents for French as we are celebrating our 40th anniversary. Looking back on the past four decades, it is clear there is much to be proud of. Now a proactive national network with 10 branch offices and some 150 chapters in communities coast to coast, CPF is widely recognized as the national network of volunteers which values French as an integral part of Canada and which is dedicated to the promotion and creation of French as a second language learning opportunities for young Canadians.

To this day, the volunteers and staff at CPF continue to work with all levels of government and society to ensure that French Immersion retains its momentum and that the quality of Core French programs is up to par. CPF is also striving to improve access to FSL programs across the country and is working toward ensuring that academically challenged students have equal opportunities to participate and flourish in these programs. CPF volunteers continue to dedicate hundreds of hours throughout Canada to provide students with opportunities to practice their French. You can even find Carnaval and Cabane à sucre activities in some remote Canadian towns!

During this important year, we are celebrating the many people who have come together to promote French opportunities for Canadian youth over the past 40 years. To view video stories and a timeline of important milestones please visit:

In honour of CPF’s 40th anniversary, CPF has launched the 2017 donor campaign: $40 for 40 Years of CPF Success! If you would like to pledge $40 to support linguistic duality and FSL learning opportunities for youth across Canada, please visit:


It stands to reason that the first horseless steam powered car in Canada and the first car accident occurred in the same village.

Find out where in the Eastern Townships these firsts and other notable transportation milestones occurred at the upcoming Eastern Townships Heritage Fair, which is being organized by the Quebec Anglophone Heritage Network, in partnership with Townshippers’ Association.

Historical societies and museums from all across the Eastern Townships will gather at the Eaton Corner Museum on Friday, October 13, 2017, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. to share their knowledge of history and genealogy.

Come and meet heritage keepers who can give you tips on protecting your old photographs, guide you in family ancestry projects and let you know all about the rich history of the Townships.

Also on hand will be well-known fiddler Terry Howel, and local author Nick Fonda will sign copies of his new book Richmond Now and Then: An Anecdotal History.

Both QAHN and Townshippers’ will be onsite with information and membership opportunities, so come and say hello and find out more about your local history.

“Autumn is the season for exploring,” said Matthew Farfan, Executive Director of QAHN. “What a glorious time of year to rediscover the Eastern Townships’ history and culture!”

Join the Quebec Anglophone Heritage Network and Townshippers’ Association for an afternoon of discovery and exchange at the Eaton Corner Museum which is located at 374 Route 253 in Cookshire-Eaton. Admission is free. For more information, please call 819 564-9595 or visit the QAHN website.

Network News July 2017


By Jim Shea
QCGN President

In June, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard announced he is creating a new secretariat dedicated to English-speaking Quebecers. The office, which will be part of the premier’s executive council, will allow our community to voice its concerns at the highest levels of government.

The premier, who has been adamantly opposed to naming a minister responsible for English-speaking Quebecers, said he is also reconsidering that idea.

“I’m not happy that my fellow Quebecers who speak English believe that they’re not always treated as first-class Quebecers, and are taken for granted,” the premier told reporters as the National Assembly prepared to break for the summer. “I’m not happy about this. It makes me sad. I want this to stop.”

An ongoing focus of the QCGN has been the fact that our community’s concerns were not being transmitted through Quebec’s bureaucracy where our community is notoriously underrepresented. The impact of our absence was obvious during recent reforms to health care, which annihilated many of our institutions; and educational reforms, which threatened the constitutional language rights of English-speaking Quebecers.

Four years ago during our annual general meeting, the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) had a debate about this issue and passed a unanimous resolution requesting formal representation within the government of Quebec to give voice to the policy-development interests of the English-speaking community. We are very pleased to see movement on this important issue and we have offered our full support and collaboration for the implementation of an effective structure which, we noted, is an important first step towards a more inclusive Quebec. We also hoped this will help unblock the longstanding bottleneck in the hiring and advancement of English-speaking Quebecers in the provincial civil-service.

Read our press release as well as coverage by The GazetteCTV Montreal, and view an interview of QCGN vice-president Geoffrey Chambers with CTV’s Tara Schwartz.

QCGN is currently looking at policies, programs, legislation and regulation in other provinces that have secretariats and other such structures to support their minority language communities. We will be offering concrete suggestions on how the premier can move forward quickly and effectively to make this a reality.

Quebec Worried About Isolated Anglos

A week earlier, a letter by Couillard’s Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Jean-Marc Fournier to federal Minister of Canadian Heritage Mélanie Joly was leaked to the media. In the reply to a query by Minister Joly about Official Language minority communities, Fournier, who’s also responsible for the Francophonie, said the government is concerned about the isolation of English-speaking communities outside of Montreal.

The letter, written after QCGN offered input to Fournier, expressed concerns about the vitality of those English-speaking communities, citing their shrinking demographic weight, their aging populations and their isolation.

The reality is that we’re losing control over some of the institutions that we built and maintained over generations and we want Quebec to help us bring in more federal money earmarked for the support of Official Language Minority Communities like ours.

Read coverage in The GazetteCTV MontrealCJAD, and Radio Canada.

QCGN Endorses Premier’s Plan to Open Dialogue with Canada

The QCGN has supported the goal of Premier Philippe Couillard’s proposal to open a constructive dialogue with the rest of Canada, welcoming his inclusive vision of Quebec that is set out in Quebecers, Our Way of Being Canadian.

Published a few weeks before the back-to-back celebrations of la Fête Nationale and Canada’s 150th Anniversary, the Policy on Québec Affirmation and Canadian Relationsis receptive towards the English community— one with “deep roots in Quebec” and is an integral part of the “Quebec nation.”

This initiative launched by Premier Couillard is an important but preliminary step in what will inevitably be a complicated, challenging journey aimed at achieving consensus.

QCGN also agrees with the conclusion of The Gazette’s Fête Nationale editorial entitled “Anglos, our way of being Quebecers” (June 23, 2017), which cautiously applauds the government’s more inclusive tone: “For any minority, maintaining one’s identity and playing a full role in the larger society are dual objectives, and they need not conflict. Quebec anglophones increasingly are integrating with the majority culture, and our contributions — historic and ongoing — are evident at every turn. At the same time, defending the interests and ensuring the vitality of this community remain essential.”

QCGN Concerned About Future of MUHC

Over the past two months, the QCGN has expressed concerns about a growing crisis at the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) in Montreal. On May 8, QCGN Vice-President Geoffrey Chambers and I signed an op-ed in The Gazette saying the super hospital can and must do better for our community and that it must be provided with all the tools it needs to flourish.

This week, ten independent members of the MUHC Board, who have been publicly squabbling with Health Minister Gaetan Barrette, resigned en masse leaving the way open for new leadership. We hope attention will now be focussed on the underlying issues rather than raising anxiety in the community and the QCGN has offered its help.

The QCGN shares the frustrations of MUHC patients and staff and is concerned about this leading world-class institution which, as we have pointed out many times, serves all Quebecers, English and French. As Geoffrey and I stated in our op-ed, we must act now to ensure the MUHC has a first-class future.

recent report in The Gazette overstated our influence in the Minister’s office. We were however pleased with the follow-up story which explains to the community what the QCGN is and enumerates some of our recent positions.

In a number of media interviews, we stated that the QCGN, and more specifically our Health and Social Services Committee, have been meeting with the Minister and the Ministry since Bill 10, the government’s health care reform bill, was introduced in the fall of 2014 and adopted in the spring of 2015. Since then we have been advocating forcefully to ensure guarantees made to Quebec’s English-speaking community are realized.

Recent discussions have centered around ensuring advisory committees, that are responsible for the preservation of the cultural, historic, linguistic, and local characteristics, are put into place in all of our merged institutions. We also pressed for and obtained a new regulation on the provincial access committee responsible for advising the Minister on regional access plans that guarantee services to English-speaking Quebecers in their own language. That regulation was passed by Cabinet last week.

Over the coming days and weeks we will continue to advocate with the Health Minister and Ministry as well as other provincial and federal ministries and departments for the priorities and needs of Quebec’s English-speaking minority community. For all coverage of the QCGN, follow the news blog on the QCGN website at

Selection of Commissioner Must Be More Inclusive

From the middle of May until early June much of QCGN’s attention was focused on the appointment process for a Commissioner of Official Languages to replace Graham Fraserwho left office in mid-December. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that former Ontario Liberal Cabinet Minister Madeleine Meilleur had been appointed to the post in mid-May.

From the outset, QCGN expressed concerns about Meilleur’s lack of knowledge about and commitment to the concerns of English-speaking Quebecers and we invited her to come to Quebec and get to know our community. Meanwhile Meilleur’s nomination hit roadblocks in the House of Commons and the Senate where Parliamentarians expressed concerns about her unfamiliarity with Canada’s English minority communities in Quebec as well as her partisan past and links with the Federal Liberal Party. Faced with mounting controversy, Meilleur withdrew her name from consideration in early June.

Moments before she withdrew, the QCGN joined a growing list of representatives of minority language groups that submitted complaints to the Commissioner of Official Languages regarding the process used by the government to nominate Meilleur. The basis of our complaint was that the Governor in Council had failed to properly consult “the leader of every recognized party in the Senate and House of Commons” as required by the Official Languages Act. We were informed by the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages that our complaint will not be investigated because no appointment took place, but we are on record demanding that the process to select Canada’s next Commissioner of Official Languages include consultation with our community.

Throughout the debate, and in the aftermath of her resignation, QCGN and groups representing minority language francophone communities demanded a more open, transparent and inclusive process that seeks informed opinions from all interested parties to choose a Commissioner of Official Languages. We noted that as the end clients of the commissioner’s services it makes sense to consult us and not just representatives of government and the civil service – the two groups the commissioner is called upon to watch over and call to account.

QCGN looks forward to the selection of a new commissioner who will prove to be a non-partisan champion for all official language minority communities across Canada. In the meantime, the mandate of Interim Commissioner Ghislaine Saikaley has been extended. Consult our press releases here and here and listen to QCGN vice-president Geoffrey Chambers’s interview with Susan Campbell of Quebec AM.

QCGN Concerned About Shrinking Media

The QCGN is concerned about the decline in media covering our community and has called on the federal government, which has been studying the issue for more than a year, to come up with some effective solutions, fast. It is also calling on the CRTC to ensure that Bell Media and other broadcasters respect both the letter and the spirit of their broadcasting licence conditions.

Broadcasting giant Bell Media, which eliminated CJAD’s National Assembly news bureau in late 2015, recently announced its decision to kill local sportscasts on CTV Montreal and local sportscasting across the country. (Read our press release.) Other newspapers and broadcast media covering our communities are cutting back and closing.

More than a year ago, the QCGN prepared and submitted a brief entitled Nurturing Media Vitality in Quebec’s English-speaking Minority Communities which discussed the challenge of English-speaking Quebecers to find ways to foster, support and encourage quality media content that is local and relevant even as news consumers turn evermore to digital sources.

The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, which oversaw the hearings, issued its final report entitled Disruption and Churning in Canada’s Media Landscape in July. Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly said last week she will unveil the Canadian media strategy in September.

Key to our official language minority community would be measures to support our endangered regional and local media that provide the kind of reliable and accountable community news coverage that cannot come from any other source.

QCGN AGM Held on June 15-16

As Premier Couillard was announcing momentous news for our community, the QCGN’s annual meeting kicked off Thursday, June 15, with professional development sessions for the staff and boards of our organizations and stakeholders as well as a “speed dating” event that allowed community participants to meet with representatives of various federal departments and agencies to discuss opportunities for funding and support.

On Friday June 16, we reconvened for a series of policy discussions on issues of importance to Quebec’s English-speaking communities, and applauded the premier’s commitment to creating space for our community at the highest level of Quebec’s government. Discussions ensued on Projections and the Impact on the English-speaking Community of Quebec by Jean-Pierre Corbeil of Statistics Canada; Treasury Board’s Review of the Official Languages (Communications with and Services to the Public) Regulationled by Cartsen Quell of Treasury Board Secretariat and the Development of Composite Indicators for Official Language Minority Community Vitality by William Floch, who is retiring from Canadian Heritage. There was also a discussion on the renewal of our Community Development Plan led by QCGN Director General Sylvia Martin-Laforge. Consult all the presentations.

On Friday afternoon members acclaimed a new board of directors (see photo below) and passed a resolution supporting access to broadband access in rural and isolated communities (see CRTC story below).

Meet Our New Board of Directors

From left to right: Geoffrey Chambers (Vice-president), Juan-Carlos Quintana, Clarence Bayne, Stella Kennedy, Eric Maldoff, Mary-Ellen Beaulieu, James Shea (President), Eva Ludvig, Walter Duszara (Secretary), Elise Moser, Joe Rabinovitch (Treasurer), and Linton Garner. Missing from photo: Kevin Dobie and James Hughes.

QCGN Annual Report Goes Digital

The QCGN released its 2016-2017 Annual Report in time for the annual general meeting. For the first time, it is a fully digital report with links to lots of information and moving parts that provide additional content and photos. A limited number of copies were printed to share with stakeholders. The digital report has been posted on the website and we encourage you to take a look to better understand the overarching cross-regional and cross-sectoral work of the QCGN and its advocacy role for our community of communities.


By Walter Duszara
Chair of the Priorities Setting Steering Committee

In September 2011, the Quebec Community Groups Networks launched the Strategic Priorities Forum, a five-year process to identify common priorities ensuring a vital and sustainable future for Quebec’s English-speaking communities and to collectively pursue strategies to achieve community goals.

The QCGN established the Priority Setting Steering Committee (PSSC), a permanent committee of QCGN’s board of directors to assist the community with the governance of the Strategic Priorities Forum. The PSSC’s purpose it is to collect, analyze, prioritize and articulate the common needs, priorities and issues of the community and to communicate its findings to partners and stakeholders including government.

In 2011-2012, community groups, individuals and institutions from Quebec’s English-speaking community participated in a consultative process to determine common priorities. In March of 2012, the process culminated in a Community Priority Setting Conference where community leaders achieved consensus on six evolving common development priorities that would contribute to ensuring a vital and sustainable future for the English-speaking Communities of Quebec, namely: Access to Services in English; Community Building; Economic Prosperity; Identity and Renewal; Leadership and Representation, and; Strong Institutions.

Every year the PSSC conducts a survey to see how organizations are linking to the six over-arching priorities; to determine how the community benefitted from and attached to these priorities; and to identify the program and project priorities for the coming year. Survey results provide a portrait of the activities undertaken in the current fiscal year, identify needs that are underserved and sectors of service that are under-developed, and, identify the plans to address these needs.

There remains a high degree of alignment between the six strategic priorities and the vision, mission and mandate of organizations. All six priorities are addressed in substantive ways in the activities offered in 2016-2017.

Community Building rated highest among priorities. Community Building and Leadership and Representation were considered to be a “very important” or “important” priority by all respondents.

Responses were broadly based and statistically significant: Access to Services (90 per cent); Community Building (100 per cent); Economic Prosperity (66 per cent); Identity and Renewal (83 per cent); Leadership and Representation (100 per cent) and Strong Institutions (95 per cent). Three organizations found Economic Prosperity “Not Very Important.” Again, these results represent a strong and unequivocal validation of the relevance, importance, and utility of the six strategic priorities and the alignment of community groups with them.

Community Building and Leadership and Representation projects and activities represent the greatest investment of effort and resources. Activities related to Access to Services and Identity and Renewal represent the next most important group, followed by Strong Institutions and Economic Prosperity.

Planning for fiscal year 2018-2019 reflects a continued engagement in projects and activities offered in 2017-2018. Concern is evident for people experiencing isolation and poverty, and for those young and old with special needs, with a lack of autonomy, lack of education and lack of opportunity.

Central to planning and project development efforts is assuring access to continued and proven services and programs. The multiplicity of needs of diverse English-speaking communities in Quebec represents a persistent challenge. Many organizations raised concerns related to funding stability and adequacy, both current and future. Current capacity is stretched.

There is a broadly-based concern that the youth population (White, Black, Immigrant, Indigenous and Inuit) is underserved. There is concern for access to English services in the general health and mental health, social services and education sectors, for people of all ages. The needs of recent arrivals, youth and young families with children in particular, are of concern. There is also concern for adequate support services for seniors as well as for caregivers.

The retention and attraction of young Anglophones in the regions is of vital importance.  Employment opportunities, in particular for youth, are limited and weigh heavily as concerns for the future vitality of our communities. New arrivals seeking services in English represent a new and growing challenge.

The survey indicated limited access to English-language social and cultural activities in certain regions. There is concern with regards to funding shortfalls, not only for the development of new services but also for the maintenance of existing operations for human resources, facilities, and equipment.

The concerns related to funding from traditional sources are clearly in evidence. These have also been expressed in informal exchanges with various groups throughout the year. In response to the financial constraints felt by many organizations there has been an observed tendency to increased partnerships as well as an engagement with non-traditional funding sources. For collective action to develop further, project funding from traditional sources should acknowledge these trends and encourage and support their development.

Interdepartmental and intradepartmental as well as intergovernmental cooperation continues to be needed to address evidenced gaps in policies and services. There is also a need for greater support for English-speaking community organizations from the provincial government.


By Irwin Block

English-speaking Quebecers living in rural and isolated communities are in dire need of high-speed internet access and the CRTC, Canada’s telecom regulator, should ensure that it reaches them.

This is the essential position of the English Language Arts Network (ELAN) in its request to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to testify on expanding its broadband funding regime. Hearings are to be held in the fall.

At a meeting in late March, the CRTC informed ELAN that Telecom Regulatory Policy 2016-496 adds broadband internet access service – both fixed and mobile – to the list of basic telecommunications services that Canadians receive.

“We believe that the vitality, and even the survival of the rural and isolated official language minority communities, depends on prioritizing their communications needs,” ELAN executive director Guy Rodgers, wrote the CRTC. ELAN represents more than 6,000 English-speaking media, visual, theatre and other artists in Quebec and intervenes on broadcasting issues with and on behalf of the Quebec Community Groups Network, the voice of one million English speakers in the province.

The goal, as set out by the group, is to ensure that by 2021, 90 per cent of English-speaking communities in outlying areas will have access to broadband services at 50 Megabits per second, considered fast internet.

The CRTC has declared high-speed internet access is a basic service for all of Canada. The money to extend it is available as part of a new broadband fund of up to $750 million over five years. The CRTC has said it planned to distribute $100 million in the first year, increasing the amount by $25 million annually to up to $200 million.

Getting high-speed internet to outlying areas where English speakers reside reflects the Official Languages Act, which commits Ottawa to “enhancing the vitality of the English and French linguistic minority communities, and supporting and assisting their development,” Rodgers noted.

“We want this to be a condition of licence,” Rodgers said in an interview. “Whoever receives money for high-speed internet upgrade would be obliged to consult with the English-speaking community and provide adequate service for them as well.”

Rural and isolated communities “need those services even more than denser population centres,” he said.

According to Census Canada figures cited by the QCGN, rural Quebec communities with fewer than 10,000 residents total 2.9 million, and of that 6.5 per cent, or 189,143, have English as their first official language spoken.

“This population is in decline and needs access to high-speed internet as soon as feasible,” ELAN emphasized.

Among areas most poorly served, a 2015 survey by the Community Health and Social Services Network and the CROP polling firm found that 34 per cent of respondents in the Outaouais region in western Quebec and 46 per cent in the Laurentides region north of Montreal said they did not have access to high-speed internet.

When it comes to mobile devices, 38 per cent of respondents in the Centre-du-Québec and 52 per cent of respondents on the Côte-Nord said they did not have them. It’s worse in the Lower North Shore sub-region, where four in five are mother-tongue English. They do not have cellular phone service and there is a substantial lack of broadband access. Residents there are mainly dependent on more expensive satellite broadband.

Meanwhile Quebec’s Villages Branchés program prioritized education, health, and municipal services – but did nothing for rural residents and small and medium sized enterprises, ELAN said. As a result, Quebec rural communities are disadvantaged, compared to what is provided by other provincial broadband development programs.

The issue in Quebec, as in the rest of Canada, is urban-rural dichotomy, affecting French and English language minorities to similar degrees, Rodgers observed. “Both minority communities tend to be slightly less educated, slightly poorer than the majority communities around them.”

High-speed internet access can only help residents in these areas, and that is why Quebec’s English speaking community representatives are focussing attention on broadcasting and broadband issues, which had been neglected because other language issues had priority.

Pressure on the CRTC and local broadcasters has resulted in a substantial increase in English-language production, and that is why ELAN is determined to speak out when it comes to high-speed internet access to isolated and rural communities, Rodgers said.

“The fact that we’ve gone to CRTC, and reminded them that this community has special needs, will oblige the people who are implementing these programs to take that into account: It is bound to have a positive effect.”


Over the week of Aug. 13-18, the Bishop’s Forum will present English-speaking youth from throughout the province with a program of speakers, workshops and activities offering a unique opportunity to understand and reflect upon the realities and promises of Quebec.

Day 1 of the provincial youth civic engagement forum will look at what it means to be a citizen from a number of perspectives including that of Canadian, Quebecer and member of the English-speaking minority in the province, said Bishops’ Forum director James Hughes.

“Exercising political, social and legal rights in the province has changed fundamentally over the last few decades and Quebecers may be in store for further transformation in the years ahead as the world evolves in both intensively local and global ways,” said Hughes, noting our current and future leaders need to understand the process of change in order to lead it.

The Forum will begin with a talk on Citizenship in a Diverse World by Bishop’s philosophy professor Dr. Jamie Crooks, with a view to helping participants understand how the Quebec conversation about minority rights, citizenship and leading change is situated in the larger context of the various forces of identity at work in the world.

Then former Premier Jean Charest will discuss citizenship in Quebec and help youth appreciate the kind and quality of citizenship necessary to make the province richer, greener, smarter and more inclusive. One of Canada’s best known political figures, Charest is recognized for a major initiative for the sustainable development of Northern Quebec called “Le Plan Nord.”

The afternoon program will focus on Quebec’s English-speaking community which has helped this province develop for hundreds of years.

Following an historical and demographic portrait of our community presented by QCGN Policy Director Stephen Thompson, a series of speakers and an interactive panel of English-speaking politicians and leaders will help participants gain a better understanding of the history, contributions and promise of the English-speaking community of Quebec.

“Our community has changed dramatically over the last 40 years and faces both new challenges and opportunities,” said Hughes, noting the Forum will explore what it is to be a member of the English-speaking community today and where and how emerging leadership can be exercised to strengthen both the community and the province.

Panelists will include Eric Maldoff; provincial Native Affairs Minister Geoffrey KelleyMNA David Birnbaum, Parliamentary Assistant to the Ministers of Education; Rachel Hunting, Executive Director of Townshippers’ Association; and Anne Usher a longtime community development activist. The panel will be moderated by Royal Orr, a strategic communications adviser who began his career as the executive director of the Townshippers’ Association before moving on to become a radio host for CJAD and CBC.

On Day 2 youth will delve into the non-profit sector during the morning with a talk entitled The Quebec Non-Profit Sector: Promise and Potential with Kira Page, the communications and membership coordinator for the Centre for Community Organizations (COCo) followed by a discussion on Change through Advocacy with international human rights lawyer Pearl Eliadis.

In the afternoon, there will be a discussion entitled Residential Schools and Reconciliationwhich aims to awaken participants to the realities of residential school and the promise of reconciliation in Quebec. This discussion will be led by Romeo Saganash, the MP for Abitibi-Baie James-Nunavik-Eeyou. Saganash, the first Indigenous lawyer to graduate from the Université du Québec à Montréal, spent his lifetime working to uphold human rights. He was one of the principal authors of La Paix des Braves – a landmark agreement between the James Bay Cree and the Government of Quebec – and he has been a key negotiator for many national and international initiatives, including the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

After that there will be a discussion on being a young leader in an official language minority community. QCGN Director General Sylvia Martin-Laforge will introduce her counterpart from French minorities outside Quebec, 28-year-old Alain Dupuis, who now heads the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada.

“The renewal of our English-speaking community is dependant on the engagement of youth and their willingness to assume leadership positions in all regions, all sectors of our community and the greater society around us,” said Martin-Laforge. “Our ability to mobilize our youth is the key to a vital and sustainable future for our community.”

“Quebec’s political system is simultaneously fascinating and frustrating. While having some of the developed world’s most progressive social policies, it is also the fulcrum of debate in Canada around how to address diversity,” commented Hughes, noting that Day 3 of the forum will look at these realities along with the manner in which the media engages in – and influences –political discourse in Quebec.

Richmond MNA Karine Vallières, the Parliamentary Youth Secretary to Premier Philippe Couillard; Vaudreuil-Soulanges MP Peter Schiefke, Parliamentary Secretary to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Premier’s Liaison to the English-speaking community Gregory Kelley, will lead off the conversation about the complex processes and numerous players involved in policy development and political change in Quebec. Vallières was one of the architects of the Liberal government’s 15-year youth strategy that finances the forum.

This panel will be followed with two talks by political “changemakers” including Federal NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair and the newly elected head of Québec Solidaire, Gabriel Nadeau Dubois. Mulcair, the former provincial Environment Minister who became the first New Democrat ever to be elected in a federal general election, will talk about “How Quebec became the Green Province.” Dubois will give an insider’s view of how student groups led the change to overturn proposed tuition fee hikes, including interactions with politicians, police and media with a talk about what has become known as the Maple Spring.

Day 3 will end with a Media Panel on the role journalism can play in the process of change. The panel will be led by Senator Joan Fraser, former editor of the Montreal Gazette and include Mike Finnerty, Host of CBC Radio’s Daybreak; Ethan Cox, founder of Ricochet Media; Patricia Pleszczynska, Directrice générale of Radio, Audio & Grand Montréal at Radio-Canada and Louise Solomita, City Editor at the Gazette. Bishop’s Principal Michael Goldbloom, a former publisher of the Toronto Star and the Montreal Gazette, will moderate the panel and focus it on the specific example of how the media may impact the defense and promotion of English minority linguistic rights in Quebec.

On Wednesday evening filmmaker Kevin Tierney will present his film “French Immersion” and lead a discussion about culture and Quebec’s English-speaking community.

The Quebec economy is like no other in the country and its uniqueness is due, at least in part, to the nature of the relationship between the business sector and the government and the relatively strong presence of employee unions. These and other key themes including electrification of transport, the sharing economy and social enterprise will be discussed on Day 4.

Speakers on this theme include Annalise Iten from Youth Employment Services Montreal;David Berliner co-founder and CEO of CoPower, Canada’s leading clean energy investment platform; Tereska Gesing, co-founder of Urban Seedling which encourages Montrealers to grow their own food, backyard-to-table; Lauran Rathmell, co-founder of Lufa Farms who oversees all greenhouse operations, research and development; and Blair McIntosh, President of Motrec International.

The youth forum will culminate with presentations to a mock Parliamentary Commission made up of several Quebec leaders including the federal Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, Marie-Claude Bibeau, the provincial Minister for Democratic Reform, Rita de SantisMount Royal MP Anthony Housefather, former MP Marlene Jennings, former MNA Russell Copeman, Mayor of NDG-Cote des Neiges, and QCGN President James Shea. Groups will be asked to put their learning and insight from the first four days on display and answer questions about their proposals on the change they want to see.

The Bishop’s Forum has funding for three consecutive years and any member of the English-speaking community aged 18 to 24 is eligible to apply to be a participant. More information on the Bishop’s Forum can be found at


The Quebec Community Groups Network is welcoming nominations for the 2017 Sheila and Victor Goldbloom Distinguished Community Service Award and the Young Quebecers Leading the Way Award.

“These awards are designed to honor individuals, young and old, who have made significant contributions to Quebec’s English-speaking community,” said QCGN board member James Hughes, a winner of a Goldbloom Award in 2015, noting these are the only provincial level awards that reward individuals who have contributed to the vitality of English-speaking Quebec.

Goldbloom Awards

QCGN established the Goldbloom Award, which recognizes individuals who have contributed to strengthening the English-speaking community and to building bridges between Quebecers of different backgrounds, in 2009 to celebrate individuals who, like Dr. and Mrs. Goldbloom, dedicated their lives to ensuring English-speaking Quebec remains a vibrant community within Quebec and Canada.

Candidates for the Goldbloom award must have demonstrated leadership and commitment as a volunteer or as a professional in their chosen field of endeavour. Their contributions can be in any and all regions of Quebec, and in any field from business to academia; from youth to seniors; from health and social services to arts and culture; and any other area such as heritage, the environment, and sports. The guiding principle is that these individuals have provided strong and effective leadership and succeeded in improving the quality life of English-speaking Quebecers and the broader society.

Young Quebecers Leading the Way Award

The Young Quebecers Leading the Way Award was established in 2015 by Quebec Community Groups Network, the Fondation Notre Home Foundation and CBC Quebec to recognize and celebrate the outstanding achievements of young English-speaking Quebecers who are engaged in innovative initiatives that create change in our communities.

For this award, leadership is defined broadly and not limited to leaders of specific organizations and projects. The main objective of the award is to celebrate the leadership and innovative thinking of engaged young English-speaking Quebecers. Nominations must come from organizations and institutions that serve Quebec’s English-speaking minority community.

To be eligible for a Young Quebecers Leading the Way Award, candidates must be under the age of 30 and have demonstrated outstanding leadership and contributed to an initiative with measurable impact in their community.

Recipients of the Young Quebecers Leading the Way Award and the Sheila and Victor Goldbloom Distinguished Community Service Award will be invited to receive their awards at a community recognition ceremony in October.


Submitted by Diane Kameen
Jeffery Hale Community Partners

Jeffery Hale Annual Report cover

Learn more about activities available to English speakers in the Quebec City area by consulting the 2016 – 2017 annual report of Jeffery Hale Community Partners (JH Partners). JH Partners is a community-based charitable organization whose mission is to promote and contribute to the health and well-being of the English-speaking population of the Capitale-Nationale (Greater Quebec City region). JH Partners plays a leadership role in the community by helping to ensure that the region’s English-speaking population remains a priority when it comes to organizing health and social services. JH Partners is a catalyst for innovative outreach approaches to help improve community members’ quality of life, including a range of services and activities offered under its Wellness Centre banner.


The annual general meeting of the Regional Association of West Quebecers (RAWQ) held June 7, 2017, represented both renewal and a harbinger of change. In the past, board membership was rather Aylmer-centric in its make-up and the issues it represented. This year RAWQ has a much more regionally diverse board of directors with members from Shawville and Otter Lake. The board of directors (pictured above) includes: Arthur Ayers, president; Alain Guy, vice-president/treasurer; Donna Cushman, secretary; Judith O’Rourke; Stephany Crowley; Sam LaBrecque; Joe Mackevic; Ken Bernard; Chris Judd; Bryan Daly; Citlalli Elizalde and immediate past president James Shea.


By Marla Williams
CPF-Quebec Coordinator

On June 3, 2017, 38 Grade 11 and 12 French second language students – Secondary 5 in Quebec –  met in the National Capital region to participate in the 15th National Concours d’art oratoire finals.

As the top contestants from a total of over 62,000 participants nationwide, winners of the national finals obtained scholarships in excess of $25,000 from the University of OttawaUniversité de MonctonUniversité Sainte-Anne and Université de Saint-Boniface.

CPF in Quebec would like to congratulate Elizabeth Hua from Rosemere, Que., who won second place in the Early French Immersion category.

The Concours d’art oratoire is a public speaking contest organized by Canadian Parents for French for secondary students in French programs across Canada. Every spring, an estimated 80,000 students take part in this annual competition.

Here in Quebec, 44 students from the Lester B. Pearson, Sir Wilfrid Laurier and Western Quebec School Boards, as well as their parents and teachers, took part in the provincial finals on April 29 at the Cosmodome in Laval, Que.

The students were divided into groups based on their grade level, and then each group was further divided into five categories, based on their French speaking ability. Here are the winners of each category:

Secondary 1 & 2 – Core: Matteo Sorgiovanni (Rosemere High School); Enriched: Rachel Becher (Hadley Junior High School, Gatineau); Enriched plus: Aniesha Covey (Philemon Wright High School, Gatineau); Immersion: Cassandra Bedard (Beaconsfield High School); Francophone (Sec 1): James Morand (Rosemere High School); Francophone (Sec 2): Lukka Picklyk (Philemon Wright High School, Gatineau)

Secondary 3 & 3 – Enriched plus: Hope Cornell (Lindsay Place High School, Pointe-Claire); Immersion: Angelica Antonakopoulos (Lindsay Place High School, Pointe-Claire); Francophone: Neve Maltus (Philemon Wright High School, Gatineau)

Secondary 5 Core – Charlie Cockburn (Philemon Wright High School, Gatineau); Enriched plus – Jennifer Hua (Rosemere High School); Immersion: Elizabeth Hua (Rosemere High School); Francophone: Marianne Lavergne (Rosemere High School)

Better French language skills are a key aspiration for Quebec’s non-Francophone youth. The Concours program helps fulfill that aspiration by giving youth a meaningful forum in which to practice and develop confidence in their French language skills.

CPF-Quebec would also like to thank its sponsors including Canadian Heritage, the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages, French for the Future, Global Montreal, LEARN Quebec and the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN).

Network News April 2017

President’s Message

By Jim Shea
QCGN President

As winter turns to spring, the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) has been keeping busy. In March, we held a major conference on the integration of newcomers in Quebec’s English-speaking communities as well as the wrap up of our three-year Young Quebecers Leading the Way project. April promises to be just as busy as we distribute our annual survey of priorities and head into the nominations period for the renewal of our board of directors.

Toasting French at French Toast

Earlier this week I was pleased to represent QCGN at the Canadian Parents for French (CPF) French Toast on Parliament Hill to highlight the excellence of bilingual youth across the country as well as celebrate Canada 150. Hosted by Hull Aylmer MP Greg Fergus, the event provided an opportunity to hear from French Second Language (FSL) advocates including the Minister of Canadian Heritage Mélanie Joly and other MPs, Senators, representatives from Canadian Heritage and the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages as well as key CPF partners and stakeholders. Minister Joly saluted the champions of French second-language learning and commented on the importance of FSL education not only as a benefit to youth but also in fostering national unity. The CPF Network featured two of its successful projects – French for Life outreach campaign and the Where Are They Now? video series – which helped in the promotion and advancement of linguistic duality throughout Canada. It was great to chat with the Minister’s Parliamentary Secretary for Official Languages Sean Casey, his predecessor Randy Boissonnault and my MP, Greg Fergus.

Access to Justice in Both Official Languages

The QCGN also presented to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Official Languages this week for the committee’s study on the Full Implementation of the Official Languages Act in the Canadian Justice System. Accompanied by Michael Bergman of the new Association of English-speaking Jurists of Quebec, QCGN expressed support for a Supreme Court of Canada appointment process that is transparent, inclusive, and accountable to Canadians. We stated there must be a systemic capacity for justices to hear cases and render decisions in both official languages and that the language skills of judges must be sufficient to ensure the evolution of Canadian law. QCGN has three main principles regarding access to justice:

  1. Possessing rights, and having a bilingual judiciary is of limited value if the infrastructure surrounding access to justice is not able to operate to provide services in both languages;
  2. We need a shared working definition for access to justice – especially when discussing and developing evidenced-based public policy; and;
  3. We need stable funding from Justice Canada to help develop the association.

QCGN AGM to be Held on June 15-16

At a recent meeting the QCGN’s board of directors set the date for the 22nd annual meeting of the Quebec Community Groups Network for mid-June. The convention will kick off Thursday June 15 with professional development sessions for the staff and boards of our organizations and stakeholders. Using a speed dating format, the afternoon will allow participants to meet with representatives of various federal departments and agencies to discuss opportunities for funding and support. On Friday June 16, we will reconvene for a series of policy discussions on issues of importance to Quebec’s English-speaking communities, including recent Statistics Canada population projections and their impact on our community and Treasury Board’s current regulatory review of Official Languages regulations (Communications with and Services to the Public). After lunch, we will get down to the business of the Network during the annual general meeting. The convention and annual general meeting will be held in Montreal at Le Nouvel Hotel. Final details of the program will be posted, as they become available, on the QCGN convention microsite where you can also register now to take advantage of early bird rates.

11 Projects Shortlisted for Community Innovation Fund

The independent selection committee for the Community Innovation Fund (CIF) met in mid-March and has come up with a shortlist of organizations that were invited to submit a full application. The selection committee, chaired by Grace Hogg, coordinator of the George Hogg Family Foundation, has shortlisted 11 projects that improve employability or basic socioeconomic security for vulnerable youth, seniors/caregivers, and/or newcomers. Financed by the Government of Canada through the Social Partnership Initiative in Official Language Minority Communities, and managed by the QCGN, the fund is a new resource to put social innovation in action. Between April 2017 and March 2019, the fund will invest $1 million in social initiatives while building partnerships to increase funds that will be injected into the community. The CIF also has some new faces. The final application and initial funding process will be managed by Beverly Caplan, who will be ably assisted by Jordan Black in the coming months. Caplan is the former regional manager at Canadian Heritage and one of her main functions was to manage project and program funding for the department. As such, she has the expertise to move this phase of the project forward. Black, an MBA student at McGill University’s Desautels Faculty of Management with a concentration in finance and strategy, will be doing an internship at the QCGN this summer. The project is moving ahead on schedule and we look forward to working with them to make our innovative shortlisted projects get started on the right foot and progress to the benefit of our vulnerable youth, seniors and newcomers and Quebec’s English-speaking communities.


The QCGN is organizing a conference on Cracking the Quebec Code, the book written by pollster Jean-Marc Léger, marketing professor Jacques Nantel and journalist Pierre Duhamel.

Produced by Léger Research Intelligence Group, the study draws on extensive data to reveal who we are. Part social study, part marketing manual, this book unveils the character of Quebecers, both French and English-speaking. It finds differences between them, and similarities too. English-speaking Quebecers are hybrids, with attitudes a mix of English-Canadian and Québécois-francophone.

Presented by Léger Group Vice-President Christian Bourque, our conference entitled Cracking the Quebec Code: Understanding French-speaking Quebecers and English-speaking Hybrids will give participants insights into our likes and dislikes, hot buttons and soft spots.

Hosted by the QCGN and The Montreal Gazette, the event is presented in partnership with the Fondation Notre Home Foundation, the Association for Canadian Studies, the Quebec English-speaking Communities Research Network (QUESCREN) and the Thomas More Institute.

The conference will take place on Thursday, April 20 at The Montreal Gazette (1010 Ste-Catherine St. W.) This is a free event open to all of our members and stakeholders, but you must register online.


Every year in April the QCGN distributes the Strategic Priorities Forum survey to community groups that provide services to English-speaking Quebecers across the province. The goal of exercise is to gather a list of annual priorities and share them with funders and stakeholders. The task for overseeing this process is undertaken by the QCGN’s Priority Setting Steering Committee (PSSC) which monitors the six overarching common priorities for building community vitality as identified by more than 150 representatives of community sector organizations from across all regions and all sectors of English-speaking Quebec during the Community Priority Setting Conference in March 2012.

At that meeting, participants wrote a declaration of community priorities to ensure a more vital and sustainable future. The six priorities, which remain unchanged, are:

  1. Access to services in English;
  2. Community building;
  3. Economic prosperity;
  4. Identity and renewal;
  5. Leadership and representation; and
  6. Strong institutions

The survey, which is based on the declaration, asks about the annual program and project priorities of community stakeholders and QCGN members. It also looks at how organizations are linking to the priorities established by the English-speaking community and what projects they are working on. The QCGN uses the overarching and annual priorities of the community when advocating for policies and programs that will help us achieve a vital and sustainable community.

The Department of Canadian Heritage (PCH) is committed to using the priorities gathered during this process when analyzing project funding applications and making recommendations on funding allocations to the minister. As always, we strongly encourage groups to align with the annual priorities in their program and project applications to PCH and other government departments, ministries, and other funding partners. The QCGN, its members and stakeholders also employ these priorities to identify development opportunities as well as interdepartmental and intradepartmental initiatives and to engage in discussion with different levels of government and in the broader community.

If you are a representative of a community group and you would like more information or to complete the survey contact the QCGN at


Are you someone, or do you know someone, who is devoted to the vitality of the English-speaking community? Do you or they support the vision and mission of the Quebec Community Groups Network? Are you willing to help us achieve our goals?

We are seeking talented and engaged community leaders who are willing to stand for election for its board of directors in 2017. There will be nine vacancies this year including the position of treasurer. A couple of directors are at the end of their term limits so the QCGN will be saying goodbye to Irene Tschernomor and Cheryl Gosselin. Six other director seats will be up for election or re-election.

Nominations for the board of directors are overseen by the QCGN Nominating Committee, whose members were appointed by the membership during the annual general meeting in June 2016. All member organizations, regardless of category, are invited to nominate qualified individuals to the board of directors.

“The board of directors works as a team to guide the QCGN and community with leadership and vision,” said Carole Mackaay, chair of the Nominating Committee. “They provide oversight on the management of the corporation’s affairs and act as ambassadors for the QCGN and the English-speaking community of Quebec.”

Board members are required to participate in regular meetings of the board of directors usually six per year, two of which are face-to-face — and serve on one or more committees in their areas of interest and expertise.

Additionally, board members are expected to remain up to date on public policy issues affecting Quebec’s English-speaking community; remain in contact with member organizations; attend annual general meetings (usually held the second weekend in June); and participate in major QCGN functions including the Goldbloom Awards (held in October).

Mackaay said the Nominating Committee is seeking to create an engaged board of directors that is representative of the Network and balanced in terms of gender and age. It also seeks to include regional and sectoral representation (e.g. health and social services; education; economic development; justice; arts, culture and heritage; etc.). QCGN board members are elected to serve two-year terms and may be re-elected for a maximum of three consecutive terms (six years).

Directors make a commitment to volunteer an average of 10 hours per month to serve on the QCGN board. Corporate officers with additional responsibilities — that is the president, vice-president, treasurer and secretary — are expected to commit an additional five hours per month as a result of additional responsibilities. All directors are expected to be adept at communicating electronically, including through social media.

The Nominating Committee will consider all nominations properly received, and will provide QCGN Members with a report, and a slate of recommended candidates for the available vacancies, no later than 5 p.m. May 5, 2017.

Should you have any questions please contact QCGN’s Director General Sylvia Martin-Laforge 514-868-9044 ext. 225 or


Do you know any young up and coming leaders that want to make their future here in Quebec? Encourage them to participate in the Bishop’s Forum – a week-long youth leadership institute that will take place in the Eastern Townships this summer.

From August 13 to 18, 2017, dozens of English-speaking youth between the ages of 18 and 24 will converge on the campus of Bishop’s University for a week-long immersion into Quebec’s society. The youth will have an opportunity to meet Quebec’s movers and shakers, learn about how the province works and make connections that will last a lifetime.

“The Bishop’s Forum wants to make Quebec better by equipping young English-speaking Quebecers with the ideas, networks, and tools to lead change,” said the Forum’s director James Hughes. “We’re designing the Forum in an engaging and innovative way to help young people put their talents, including their leadership skills, to work to further their own careers and the quality of life in the province.”

“Quebec benefits when its younger citizens are informed and knowledgeable about how its major institutions and systems function,” commented Michael Goldbloom, the principal of Bishop’s University which is hosting the youth leadership institute. “Our goal is to enhance young English-speaking Quebecers’ capacity for and interest in civic engagement.”

This opportunity is supported by the Quebec government as part of its Stratégie d’action jeunesse 2016-2021. A cross section of Quebec’s institutional and organizational leaders will be involved in the program.

The Bishop’s Forum will provide participants an “inside look” at some of Quebec’s fundamental institutions. “Participants will get insight into how the National Assembly, political parties, business, community, not-for-profit organizations and the media influence public discourse and public policy,” Goldbloom said. “The Forum will give participants not only a sense of what it is like to work in these major sectors but also how to influence change.”

As well as meeting and engaging with high profile political, business and community leaders, participants will work in small groups throughout the week to identify a key change they want to affect in Quebec society and craft both the case for support and the road map to transformation. These efforts will culminate in a presentation by each group to a mock Parliamentary Commission made up of a blue-ribbon panel of Quebec changemakers.

The program is in part a result of the QCGN and members participating in the provincial consultation on Quebec’s 15-year youth policy.

“Thanks in large part to those efforts, the government recognized that Quebec’s English speakers need specific policies and programs. One positive result is that the government is funding the youth leadership institute at Bishop’s University,” said QCGN Director General Sylvia Martin-Laforge

The application deadline for the Forum is May 5. Participation in the forum is free of charge. Travel, residence, meals, program content and evening events are included. The Bishop’s Forum has also created a small discretionary fund to help successful applicants who might not otherwise be able to participate in the conference due to financial need. For information, please contact Denise Lauzière at


The final Young Quebecers Leading the Way forum took place from March 10 to 12 in the National Capital region as five dozen youth from the Gaspésie, Abitibi, Quebec City, Montreal and the Eastern Townships converged in Gatineau/Ottawa for the weekend.

On March 11, youth from various regions of the province were joined by Outaouais area delegates for the opening ceremonies where keynote speaker Désirée McGraw, who has devoted much of her life engaging and empowering a new generation of leaders to tackle global problems, gave an engaging speech.

“There is no magic formula for becoming a leader and no appropriate age at which you are suddenly recognized as a changemaker,” McGraw told youth, adding that each one of them must trace their own path. “It is important to note that all paths have their share of obstacles, curves, unexpected intersections and false shortcuts.”

Young Quebecers Leading the Way is a three-year project launched by the Quebec Community Groups Network to include young Quebecers in the lead up to Canada’s sesquicentennial.

The final forum, emceed by CBC reporter Marika Wheeler, was launched by councillor Mireille Apollon, who said a few words on behalf of the city of Gatineau, and Hull-Aylmer MP Greg Fergus, who spoke on behalf of Mélanie Joly, the Minister of Canadian Heritage which funded the project.

Following the opening ceremony, participants had the opportunity to meet and talk with some prominent politicians and eminent experts including NDP leader Thomas Mulcair and CBC journalist Nick Gamache (Politics and Democracy); Native leader Romeo Saganash and indigenous columnist Jenn Jefferys (Indigenous Peoples); Canadian Press Ottawa Bureau Chief Heather Scoffield and Global Affairs Canada advisor Marcy Grossman (Economy); former ambassador Todd Kuiack and journalist Christopher Neal (Canada in the World); NDP youth critic Anne Minh-Thu Quach and Roma activist Dafina Savic (Canadian Identity); as well as National Observer managing editor Mike De Souza and student leader Élyse Tremblay-Longchamps (Environment and Social Issues).

The next morning, participants reconvened and split into six groups to draft youth declarations stating their views on the future of Canada based on the six themes discussed throughout the weekend and preparatory regional workshops before the forum.

The high point of the weekend was the presentation of the declarations on Parliament Hill. There was a lot of excitement in the air, given that they were in such a symbolic place.

Welcoming youths to Parliament were Pontiac MP William Amos, whose office helped organize our visit to the Hill, as well as Peter Schiefke, Parliamentary Youth Secretary to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“Everything that you spoke of today are ideas that are discussed here (in the House of Commons),” said Schiefke, who commented on the declarations. Following an inspiring speech on civic youth engagement, Schiefke surprised everyone by inviting us to take our group picture in the House of Commons.

“The QCGN was inspired by the quality of our young participants and what they presented,” said QCGN Director General Sylvia Martin-Laforge. “This weekend proved to us that our young Quebecers are indeed leading the way!”

Martin-Laforge said the QCGN joins with youth participants in extending a special thank you to our six regional coordinators: Anthony Beer, Kelly Lacroix, Alice Lam, Guillaume Lévesque, Olivier Mutegetsi, and Citlalli Zepeda who did a great job at mobilizing the participants before, during and after the forum. “On behalf of all of our youth participants, the QCGN would also like to thank the Department of Canadian Heritage’s Youth Take Charge which funded our program, as well as our project partners the Institut du Nouveau Monde (INM) and the Association for Canadian Studies (ACS).”

The QCGN would like to thank this year’s sponsors including Via Rail Canada, CBC Quebec, the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages, Neighbours Regional Association of Rouyn-Noranda, the Committee for Anglophone Social Action (CASA), the Morrin Centre, Carleton University, Fédération étudiante collégiale du Québec (FECQ), Tourisme Outaouais, Blue Metropolis, Staples, The National Observer, The Montreal Gazette, and Canadian Parents for French.

Finally, QCGN would like to thank all the MPs and MNAs who contributed financially to our forum including William Amos, Frank Baylis, David Birnbaum, Marc Carrière, Jacques Chagnon, Anju Dhillon, André Fortin, Marc Garneau, Maryse Gaudreault, Anthony Housefather, Angelo Iacono, Alexandre Iracà, Mélanie Joly, Geoffrey Kelley, David Lametti, Alexandra Mendès, Marc Miller, Pablo Rodriguez, Francis Scarpaleggia, Peter Schiefke, and Kathleen Weil.


The Quebec Community Groups Network is welcoming nominations for the 2017 Sheila and Victor Goldbloom Distinguished Community Service Award and the Young Quebecers Leading the Way Award.

“These awards are designed to honor individuals, young and old, who have made significant contributions to Quebec’s English-speaking community,” said QCGN board member James Hughes, a winner of a Goldbloom Award in 2015, noting these are the only provincial level awards that reward individuals who have contributed to the vitality of English-speaking Quebec.

Goldbloom Awards

QCGN established the Goldbloom Award, which recognizes individuals who have contributed to strengthening the English-speaking community and to building bridges between Quebecers of different backgrounds, in 2009 to celebrate individuals who, like Dr. and Mrs. Goldbloom, dedicated their lives to ensuring English-speaking Quebec remains a vibrant community within Quebec and Canada.

Candidates for the Goldbloom award must have demonstrated leadership and commitment as a volunteer or as a professional in their chosen field of endeavour. Their contributions can be in any and all regions of Quebec, and in any field from business to academia; from youth to seniors; from health and social services to arts and culture; and any other area such as heritage, the environment, and sports. The guiding principle is that these individuals have provided strong and effective leadership and succeeded in improving the quality life of English-speaking Quebecers and the broader society.

Young Quebecers Leading the Way Award

The Young Quebecers Leading the Way Award was established in 2015 by Quebec Community Groups Network, the Fondation Notre Home Foundation and CBC Quebec to recognize and celebrate the outstanding achievements of young English-speaking Quebecers who are engaged in innovative initiatives that create change in our communities.

For this award, leadership is defined broadly and not limited to leaders of specific organizations and projects. The main objective of the award is to celebrate the leadership and innovative thinking of engaged young English-speaking Quebecers. Nominations must come from organizations and institutions that serve Quebec’s English-speaking minority community.

To be eligible for a Young Quebecers Leading the Way Award, candidates must be under the age of 30 and have demonstrated outstanding leadership and contributed to an initiative with measurable impact in their community.

Recipients of the Young Quebecers Leading the Way Award and the Sheila and Victor Goldbloom Distinguished Community Service Award will be invited to receive their awards at a community recognition ceremony in October.


By Rita Legault
Quebec Community Groups Network

On March 15, 2017, the Quebec Community Groups Network held a successful one-day conference on community engagement and the integration of immigrants, refugees, and migrants into Quebec’s English-speaking community.

Even Mother Nature could not stop theenthusiasm for our first major conference entitled Community Engagement and the Integration of English-speaking Newcomers in Quebec. Despite the biggest snowstorm of the season, dozens of participants braved the weather to participate in the conference which gave us an opportunity to not only tell, but to show our government partners how we are successfully integrating newcomers into Quebec. Read coverage in The Montreal Gazette.

This important discussion on how immigrants, refugees and migrants integrate into Quebec society through our English-speaking communities and institutions is a precursor to the work the QCGN is undertaking with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), which sponsored the conference.

“We heard how our language and our community act as an important bridge to ensure immigrants who speak a wide variety of languages – and a little bit of English – can successfully integrate Quebec and, as some pointed out, be included as contributing members to society,” said Sylvia Martin-Laforge, Director General of the QCGN.

The bonus is that successful integration of English-speaking newcomers – immigrants, refugees and migrants from other provinces – will bolster the vitality of our community.

“Over the coming months, we aim to work with IRCC to find innovative ways the department can develop policies, programs, and collaborative initiatives to help foster the vitality of our English-speaking minority communities through the successful integration of newcomers,” said Martin-Laforge. “We also plan to work with them on interdepartmental and intergovernmental initiatives that involve other partners, including our provincial government.”

Following the success of last week’s event, we hope to host an annual “newcomer” event for and about English-speaking communities where our not-for-profit organizations, service providers, and government representatives can get together to reflect on the important role that newcomers play in defining our communities and our society as well as the wide-ranging policy challenges and opportunities that arise from integration and ethnocultural diversity. Stay tuned for more on this file.

Official Minority Community Groups Share Best Practices

QCGN’s immigration and integration conference occurred on the eve of the National Metropolis Conference, a major annual event that brings together hundreds of researchers, policy makers, representatives from community and settlement organizations to share and exchange knowledge and experience in the field of immigration and settlement.

Organized by the  Association for Canadian Studies and the Canadian Institute for Identities and Migration, the 19th annual conference in Montreal, which coincided with Montreal’s 375th and Canada’s 150th anniversary, was the biggest ever.

Among the dozens of workshops and conferences was a bilingual roundtable on Immigration and Community Engagement in Official Language Minority Communities which brought together representatives from Quebec’s English-speaking community and French-speaking communities from the rest of Canada, including QCGN’s national sister organization the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada (FCFA).

Much of the roundtable discussion by our francophone counterparts centered around the Réseau de soutien à l’immigration, which fosters immigration to Francophone minority communities and is funded by Canadian Heritage through the Interdepartmental Partnership with Official Language Communities (IPOLC).

The French-language immigration network aims to maintain the demographic weight of Francophone communities at a minimal level of 4.4 per cent; to improve the capacity of Francophone minority communities to receive French-speaking newcomers and to strengthen their reception and settlement infrastructures; to ensure the economic integration of French-speaking immigrants into Canadian society and into Francophone minority communities in particular; to ensure the social and cultural integration of French-speaking immigrants into Canadian society and into Francophone minority communities; and to foster the regionalization of Francophone immigration.

“The issues from one minority community to another are very similar, but our challenges here in Quebec are very different,” commented Martin-Laforge, explaining that in Quebec, federal powers are devolved to the province and official efforts to attract immigration are mainly limited to French speakers. “That means the QCGN has to tread delicately as we attempt to influence changes to federal and provincial policy and funding programs.”

Preventing Brain Drain from Quebec

Immigration was certainly a hot topic in mid-March – even outside of the Metropolis convention. As discussion and debates were lively at the conference,  Le Devoir reported how 1,300 immigrants abandon their careers each year due to frustration at having their diplomas and experience not being recognized in Quebec.

Le Devoir reported that of the 4,500 candidates who try to integrate a professional order each year, nearly 3,000 receive recognition for their achievements provided they are trained or participate in a complementary course, however, the demands for the courses are often inaccessible and too long, resulting in an approximate 28 per cent drop-out rate.

That was one of the issues raised during a QCGN-sponsored workshop on factors related to foreign student retention and integration in Quebec and Canada. The results of two new studies were presented including one by Paul Holley, Association for Canadian Studies and another by Kareem El-Assal from the Conference Board of Canada.

The ACS study, entitled Push-Pull Factors Related to Student Retention and Integration in Québec, makes a number of recommendations to encourage foreign students to remain in Quebec. They recommend improved access to French-language instruction for English-speaking students; the creation of social networking opportunities for English-speaking students; improving students’ welcoming experience with the university’s administration. They also suggest developing and improving the foreign credential recognition program for newcomers and making access to permanent residency after studies easier for international students.

The Conference Board study entitled Bringing the World to Quebec: Six Suggestions to Attract and Retain More International Students suggests that international post-secondary students offer much value to Quebec: educational, social, cultural, demographic, and economic.

“To strengthen its economy, Quebec could use more of their skills, knowledge, and global connections. But Quebec’s recruitment and retention of international students could be more effective,” the study says while recommending six ways the province could promote its unique features in the competitive world market for international students and encourage their immigration to Quebec and integration into the workforce.

“It is helpful for our Network to understand the socioeconomic and linguistic factors that drive foreign English-speaking students to leave Quebec upon completing their studies,” commented Martin-Laforge. “We want more of them to remain here since they bolster our community and contribute to the economic prosperity of Quebec.”


A recent policy by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) declares high speed internet access a basic service for all Canadians and sets out the actions the commission must take to help meet the needs of Canadians so that they can participate in the digital economy and society.

“This is big news for QCGN members living in rural and remote communities, and the new broadband fund to support increased internet access is also big – up to $750 million over five years,” said Guy Rodgers, Executive Director of the English Language Arts Network, noting the fund will be launched this spring.

ELAN and the Quebec English-Language Production Council (QEPC) are members of a minority languages working group with the CRTC. At a meeting in late March, the CRTC informed them that Telecom Regulatory Policy 2016-496 adds broadband internet access service – both fixed and mobile – to the list of basic telecommunications services that Canadians receive. View a PowerPoint summary of the CRTC’s strategic objectives.

“It will be essential for our communities to be involved in the validation of this new policy and, more importantly, in its implementation,” said Rodgers, explaining the first step will be a conference call information session.  “You are all busy, but this new policy has major significance for rural and regional communities, so please take a minute to sign up for a conference call information session,” he said.

To participate in a conference call within the next two weeks, contact ELAN at

The next steps will be to participate in CRTC public hearings and to contact regional internet providers.


By Marla Williams
CPF-Quebec Coordinator

Following the success of the initial tour, Canadian Parents for French-Quebec (CPF-Quebec), in partnership with Bishop’s University, the Community Learning Centres/LEARN Quebec and the Quebec Federation of Home and School Associations, is pleased to bring you the second French Second Language (FSL) Virtual Choir in the province.

Students from across the program perform Mon ami m’a raconté!, a playful song that was written and arranged by Chantal Gosselin and Jamie Crooks which reminds us of a time before the internet existed.

The Virtual Choir project was created to foster an appreciation of the French language and culture among the English-speaking and Allophone communities in a fun and meaningful way, as well as to bring diverse communities together through song.

Students had fun with this song, which got them to think about how we could manage without the internet or electricity.

Susana Elmaliotis, music teacher at Parkdale Elementary School, said her students had a thought-provoking conversation about times when they had experienced power outages during extreme weather events and enjoyed delving into questions about their own social media use.

For more on the Virtual Choir project, please click here.

2017 Quebec Concours d’art oratoire

CPF Quebec’s provincial Concours d’art oratoire will take place on April 29 at the Cosmodome in Laval.

The Concours d’art oratoire is a French-speaking competition for secondary students throughout the province for which students write an original three to five-minute speech on a topic of their choice, and present it in front of a panel of judges, parents and peers.

Students may participate through their schools or as independent contestants. Participants are grouped according to their level of French and have the chance to win several prizes and scholarships.

Open to high school students from across the province, Secondary V winners are invited to participate at the National Concours finals in Ottawa on June 3, where they will spend a weekend with French-second language students from across the country. During the finals participants compete against Provincial Concours winners from across Canada for a chance to win scholarships to the University of Ottawa and other Canadian universities (some in excess of $20,000).

Posters are currently available for secondary schools. For more details, please contact Marla Williams or Gabrielle Guillon

O’Poesie – CPF-Quebec Launches its First Poetry Contest

O’Poésie is a French as a Second Language poetry contest open to youth in Quebec aged 10 to 17. This provincial poetry contest provides an opportunity to foster social emotional learning, and for FSL students to share their experiences by using words creatively and to use the French language in an entirely new way.

Send your poem by May 12, 2017, by mail or email to Gabrielle Guillon at (with O’Poesie Contest in the subject heading). For more details and rules, please visit


MCDC Book Launches

Submitted by Megantic English-speaking Community Development Corporation

The Megantic English-speaking Community Development Corporation, (MCDC) is proud to announce the official launch of a collective book I read therefore I am aimed at promoting literacy among the youth. The book was produced in collaboration with St. Patrick Elementary and A.S. Johnson High School in Thetford Mines.

The book is a collection of stories written by the students. Each student from Kindergarten to Secondary V contributed to the book either by drawing a picture (for the little ones) or by writing a story based on one of themes suggested by their teacher.

Additionally, students in the art class were asked to illustrate each section of the book. It was a complete collective effort by all involved – students, teachers, the school, MCDC staff and volunteers – to make this book come true.

In addition to the book, other activities took place during the year to promote literacy and encourage students to read. This included volunteers (students and seniors) reading stories to little ones, visiting the “Salon du Livre” in Quebec City, and attending a conference by Literacy Quebec.

“MCDC is so proud to have initiated this project in collaboration with the school. In this age of electronic devices and social media, fewer and fewer young people read. Yet, good reading skills play such an important role in pursuing post-secondary studies and find good employment,” said MCDC President Ann Marie Laughrea Powell. “We really hope that our project has contributed, at least to some degree, to give the desire to read to our youth and to help them experience the joy that a good book can bring.”

“This book, the culmination of a year-long literacy project, has given our students advanced opportunities to listen, speak, write and read,” added Stephen Renaud, Principal at St. Patrick Elementary and A.S. Johnson High School. “I can’t thank MCDC enough for allowing every St. Patrick’s and ASJ student the opportunity to publish their work. “

If you would like to purchase a copy of the book for $10, contact Estelle at MCDC (418-332-3851) or Brenda at the English school (418-335-5366).

MCDC is grateful to the Government of Canada for providing the funding that made this project possible. We also thank St. Patrick Elementary and A.S. Johnson High School students and teaching staff, Principal Renaud, and the volunteers who read to young students for their enthusiastic participation in this project.


Parkinson Canada – Québec, a relatively new member of the Quebec Community Groups Network, is working with member organizations and stakeholders to bring more awareness about the neurodegenerative disease to the public.

Parkinson Canada, which joined the Network in September 2016, is a pan-Canadian, bilingual organization servicing the Parkinson community since 1965. It has eight regional offices including one in Montreal that serves the province of Quebec in both English and French.
Last week, the organization worked with D’Arcy-McGee MNA David Birnbaum to bring Parkinson’s awareness to the National Assembly.

On April 6, the Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Education and the Minister of Higher Education, made a declaration in support of Parkinson Canada for Parkinson Awareness Month. The statement discussed the 200th anniversary of the first report of the disease by James Parkinson, the far-reaching effects of this condition and Parkinson Canada’s initiatives to help people in Quebec living with the disease.

“Parkinson’s is the second most important neurodegenerative disease and the population affected by it is expected to double within the next 15 years,” Birnbaum said. “I thought it necessary to put on the record of the National Assembly this vital concern and to apprise Quebecers of the importance of research and treatment.”

Some 100,000 Canadians, including 25,000 Quebecers, live with Parkinson’s disease. One out of five of them is under 50 and more than half will need formal or informal assistance for their daily living. Health care professionals from a dozen specialties may be needed to treat the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Motor symptoms include: rigidity, slowness, posture and gait changes as well as tremors. There are about 20 possible non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, ranging from sleep disorders, depression and incontinence to speaking and swallowing difficulties.

Also for Parkinson Awareness Month, Parkinson Canada and the Cummings Center will be hosting a bilingual symposium for people with Parkinson’s and their loved ones. The conference, which was funded in part by Canadian Heritage, will focus on medications used to treat Parkinson’s and the impact of exercise on managing symptoms. The symposium will be held at the Gelber Conference Centre in Montreal on April 26, 2017. Details at

The Quebec chapter of Parkinson Canada recently presented an information session on Parkinson’s disease in Chateauguay, hosted by Montérégie West Community Network and will present another in Greenfield Park, hosted by the South Shore Community Partners Network on April 13.

Parkinson Canada offers phone and email information and referral services for persons with the disease, members of their family, and/or their caregivers; monthly support groups; education and awareness through conferences and training sessions. Its vision is a better life for Canadians living with Parkinson’s today; a world without Parkinson’s tomorrow.


On Thursday, March 30, 70 people shared some good food and good conversation during the Voice of English-speaking Québec’s Spring Fest. Community members were invited to the 5 à 7 to kick winter to the curb and to celebrate the culmination of the Collaborative Community Mural and the Digital Memories projects, both funded by Canadian Heritage. A real size replica of the mural was on site for people to view and copies of a commemorative book created along with the paintings was handed out. The Digital Memories DVD was also distributed and the video was viewed during the event which was a great success.

Network News – February 2017

President’s Message

By Jim Shea
QCGN President
I am very happy to report that the QCGN have just received a letter from the Prime Minister unequivocally reiterating his personal commitment to the rights of our English language minority community and to those of the French language minority outside Quebec. The letter was gracious and heartening, as it was clear our Prime Minister understands the importance of speaking to minority language communities in their own language. You can read the letter here. The QCGN has in turn responded to the Prime Minister’s letter expressing gratitude for his continuing support and the collaboration demonstrated by the Government. We have also extended an invitation on the community’s behalf to meet at his convenience to discuss the special challenges English-speaking Quebec faces. I understand that the letter will be shared with the Liberal caucus and I encourage you to share it with other members of the English-speaking community.

Government of Canada Restores and Expands Court Challenges Program

Court Challenges Program and James Shea

I was also happy to be on hand in early Feburary to represent the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) at a press conference and briefing where Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly announced the resurrection of the Court Challenges Program of Canada. QCGN is pleased that the program that funds legal challenges for language and equality rights cases, is not only being reinstated, but improved in response to joint recommendations made by the QCGN and Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada (FCFA). Read our press release. The QCGN looks forward to ensuring English-speaking Quebec’s full participation in the governance of the improved program. Represented by former MP Marlene Jennings and lawyer Eric Maldoff, the QCGN participated in the study of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights (JUST), which produced a series of recommendations on which the new Court Challenges Program is modeled. The testimony by Maldoff and Jennings mirrored recommendations and principles QCGN and FCFA developed jointly to advise the Government of Canada on the reinstatement of the program. I would like to extend a special thanks to Marlene and Eric as well as Townshippers’ Association President Gerry Cutting and Jeffery Hale Executive Director Richard Walling who, along with Marlene, represented our community in these discussions with other minority rights advocates.

QCGN Meets New Parliamentary Secretary for Canadian Heritage

On Wednesday February 15, QCGN Vice-President Geoffrey Chambers and I had the pleasure of meeting Charlottetown MP Sean Casey, the newly appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage. Mr. Casey is assigned to assist the Minister of Canadian Heritage across the breadth of her responsibilities, including official languages, except for multiculturalism, which will be covered by Parkdale-High Park MP Arif Virani. Casey and Virani are two parliamentary secretaries who were recently named by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. On behalf of the QCGN, I would like to thank outgoing parliamentary secretary Randy Boissonnault, who did a tremendous job during the recent consultations on official languages. Boissonnault was appointed as a special adviser to the prime minister on LGBTQ2 issues. QCGN also welcomes Serge Cormier, MP for Acadie-Bathurst, as the new Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. Other MPs from our community were also promoted from the backbench including Sherry Romanado, MP for Longueuil-Charles-LeMoyne (Veterans Affairs); Marc Miller, MP for Ville Marie-Le Sud-Ouest-Île-des-Soeurs (Infrastructure and Communities) and Joel Lightbound, Louis Hébert (Health), who we ran into this summer during the Cross-Canada Consultation on Official Languages when it touched down in Quebec City. The QCGN looks forward to working with these new appointees.

QCGN Meets with Premier Liaison Officer Gregory Kelley

QCGN Meets Gregory Kelley

On February 11, fellow Board member Geoffrey Chambers and our Director General Sylvia Martin-Laforge met with Gregory Kelley, who Premier Philippe Couillard appointed as his liaison officer with Quebec’s English-speaking community, following a promise made during a bilateral meeting with the QCGN last November. “I want to make sure that we hear all the issues before they come to the surface, prevent and act upstream, engage with the communities in Quebec, English-speaking Quebecers all across Quebec,” Couillard told reporters on Tuesday. Kelley has been working in Quebec City for the last five to six years, most recently as a political aide to Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Jean-Marc Fournier. The QCGN has an excellent working relationship with him and now that he is in the Premier’s office we trust that he will be a real asset in moving the priorities of our community forward. At this initial meeting many priority files were discussed including: the community’s request for a formal contact within the Conseil exécutif; strong representation at the senior levels of the Ministries of Health and Education where community governance and other matters are critical; and, representation of English-speaking Quebecers in the civil service. Kelley told the QCGN he wants to be where the community is and so we urge organizations serving English-speaking Quebec to get on his dance card by inviting him to all the major events in our community. The QCGN is anticipating having monthly meetings with Greg to identify avenues for development, discuss potential projects, and exchange general information.

Minority Language Finnish Swedes Visit the QCGN

QCGN Meets with Swedish minority from Finland

On February 9, QCGN was delighted to host the board of the Svenska Folkskolans Vänner (SFV), a foundation that supports the Swedish-speaking linguistic minority population of Finland. Founded in 1882 to cater to basic schooling and libraries and to publish educational books for the Swedish-speaking population of Finland, the mission has grown. The foundation now owns educational centres and vocational schools, supports cultural venues, publishes a cultural magazine, and encourages people with prizes and scholarships. Each year SFV is also a big benefactor to a varying array of cultural and educational events and projects. On hand for our discussion with the SFV board were Jack Jedwab from the Association of Canadian Studies, Lorraine O’Donnell from the Quebec English-Speaking Communities Research Network (QUESCREN), Guy Rodgers from the English-Language Arts Network and Marcus Tabachnick from the Quebec English School Boards Association as well as Walter Duszara from the QCGN Board. The Finnish Swedes were in Montreal as part of a Canadian visit to study bilingualism in our country. They visited our sister community in Ontario and were prevented from travelling to New Brunswick by a typical Canadian snowstorm. After meeting with the QCGN, they had a videoconference with New Brunswick’s Commissioner of Official Languages Katherine d’Entremont, before having dinner with some English-speaking representatives of the Quebec government including David Birnbaum and Geoffrey Kelley.

QCGN AGM to be Held on June 16

At a recent meeting the QCGN’s board of directors set the date for the 17th annual meeting of the Quebec Community Groups Network for June 16. The convention and annual general meeting will be held in Montreal at Le Nouvel Hotel. Details on the program will be announced in the coming weeks. In the meantime, we are asking members of the network and the community to start thinking about who they want to see representing them on the QCGN board. An official call for nominations will be circulated in April.


By Tamara Hart
Community Innovation Fund Project Assistant

The Community Innovation Fund has received many great project proposals and has recruited a blue- ribbon panel of independent experts to undertake the selection process.The Fund received 43 applications from community organizations across Quebec – great projects and programs that aim to serve the most vulnerable members of Quebec’s English-speaking communities. These are the vulnerable populations targeted by the fund which was set up to finance social initiatives to improve employability or basic socioeconomic security for vulnerable youth, seniors/caregivers, or newcomers.

Managed by the Quebec Community Groups Network, the Community Innovation Fund is a new resource for Quebec’s English-speaking communities to put social innovation in action. Financed by the Government of Canada through the Social Partnership Initiative in Official Language Minority Communities, the fund will invest more than $1 million in social initiatives while building partnerships to increase funds that will be injected into the community.

The independent selection committee that will be choosing which organizations to invite to submit a full application is being led by Grace Hogg, grants coordinator of the George Hogg Family Foundation.

“I am honoured to chair the Community Innovation Fund Selection Committee, and am excited about the creative approach the Fund is taking,” commented Hogg. “The project’s emphasis on building organizational capacity and resilience through a circle of knowledge sharing is uniquely daring. It offers not just the obvious opportunity to provide much needed funding to organizations working with vulnerable people, but also to help these organizations learn, grow and, together, build a more cooperative and inventive community sector.”

Sitting on the selection committee with Hogg are Eva Ludvig, former Quebec representative of the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages, and Beverley Caplan, former regional manager at the Department of Canadian Heritage. They both bring a wealth of knowledge about the challenges of Quebec’s English-speaking official language minority communities all across the province.

Also on the committee are Jordan Black, an MBA student at Desautels School of Management at McGill University studying nonprofit consulting and management, as well as Sunil Manjunath and Madeline Doyle, who are consultants with the Community Service Initiative of the John Molson School of Business at Concordia University.

Organizations serving Quebec’s English-speaking communities were invited to submit preliminary proposals in December. All letters of intent and documentation are being thoroughly reviewed in accordance with selection criteria and based on the requirements of the Innovation Fund and Economic and Social Development Canada. A shortlist of 10 to 12 applicants will be announced in April.

“We have been working diligently to put in place a process which is fair and transparent, which includes creating a selection committee of unbiased individuals who are knowledgeable of the community sector in Quebec,” said QCGN board member James Hughes, who sits on the Governance Committee of the Fund.

“Building this type of committee has taken more time than anticipated, but is integral to the process,” he added, noting that for reasons of transparency the selection committee members all have experience working in the community, without being directly involved in organizations.

“As a result, we have a strong selection committee of people from diverse backgrounds representing the private, public and academic sectors with experience in community development,” he said. “We look forward to announcing the selected projects and organizations in the coming weeks.”

Hughes noted that measures have been put in place to ensure organizations will be supported through various stages of development.

“The full project proposal is an innovative and inclusive process and the likelihood of short-listed projects receiving funding is very high,” said Maria Rivas-Rivero, manager of the Community Innovation Fund, who explained that phase two of the selection process will include the submission’s full application based on the Community Innovation Fund community development model. “Applicants will be briefed and accompanied as they put together their final project proposals and detailed budgets.”

If all goes according to plan, projects will be ready to begin in the spring.

For more information on the Community Innovation Fund, please contact Maria Rivas-Rivero at 514-868-9044, ext 230 or


By Lisanne Gamelin
QCGN Youth Coordinator

Interesting discussions and lively debates are anticipated as dozens of youth prepare to convene in the National Capital Region for the third and final Young Quebecers Leading the Way forum from March 10 to 12.We have an exciting lineup of knowledgeable and influential workshop leaders with NDP leader Thomas Mulcair who will co-lead the Politics and Democracy workshop with political reporter Nick Gamache, producer of CBC Radio’s federal political affairs show The House and author of Inside Politics blog.

Our latest Young Quebecers Leading the Way Award winner Dafina Savic, a Roma rights activist who is also the Human Rights Coordinator at the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre, and MP Anne-Minh Thu Quach, one of three Vietnamese Canadians elected to the House of Commons, will address shifting Canadian Identity in 2067.

Our Indigenous Peoples workshop will be co-led by Millennial Suffragette Jenn Jefferys, an Ottawa-based feminist activist and writer, and Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou MP Romeo Saganash, the first MP from an indigenous community to be elected in Quebec. Saganash also founded the Cree Nation Youth Council in 1985.

Our Social Issues and the Environment workshop will be co-led by National Observer managing editor Mike de Souza and Elyse Tremblay-Longchamps, vice-president of the Fédération étudiante collégiale du Québec (FECQ), who was recently named as a member of the Prime Minister’s Youth Council.

Other participants include former Canadian ambassador to the Dominican Republic, Todd Kuiack, an Algonquin from Pikwakanagan who spent 11 years in the foreign service in Latin American (Canada in the World) and Canadian Press Ottawa bureau chief Heather Scoffield (Economy), an award-winning journalist.

Désirée McGraw to Deliver Keynote

The two-day forum will kick off Saturday morning with a keynote speech delivered by Désirée McGraw, who was the first female president of Pearson College in British Columbia in its 40-year existence. McGraw, who is passionate about the civic engagement of young Canadians, is the former executive director and president of the Jeanne Sauvé Foundation and Sauvé Scholars Foundation, whose mission is to connect, engage and empower a new generation of public leadership in Canada and around the world to address key global challenges. A co-founder of the Canadian branch of Al Gore’s Climate Project, she was a youth activist in the ’80s when the arms race was at its peak.

On Saturday night, we will be screening Québec My Country Mon Pays, a documentary by John Walker. The film explores Walker’s personal story through the lens of a cast of characters including three generations of his family, childhood confidantes and artistic contemporaries such as renowned Quebec filmmaker Denys Arcand, authors Jacques Godbout and Louise Pelletier. Christina Clark, a young English-speaking Quebecer whose experience today mirrors Walker’s own in the 1960s and ’70s, will be on hand for a post-movie conversation about the challenges of young English speakers in modern Quebec.

The film will be screened at the Wakefield Film Festival on Feb. 25 and 26 and on The Documentary Channel on March 22.

During our closing ceremony, which will be held on Parliament Hill on Sunday afternoon, we will be joined by both the federal and provincial parliamentary youth secretaries who will be commenting on the declaration prepared by our participants. Peter Schiefke, Justin Trudeau’s youth secretary, and his provincial counterpart Karine Vallières. They are both making a second appearance after being with us for last year’s forum in Montreal.

The opening and closing ceremonies, as well as the Saturday evening’s post-movie chat with Christina Clark, will be emceed by CBC Quebec’s roving reporter Marika Wheeler, who travels across the province telling people’s stories for CBC Radio One and CBC News. She recently covered the mosque shooting in Quebec City.

Not Too Late to Register

In preparation for the provincial forum in March, regional workshops were held in January and February. Even if you weren’t present for the workshops, there are still limited spaces available for the forum. So, if you are interested, register now.

You can find out more on our project website or follow the Young Quebecers Leading the Way social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

For additional information, please email


By Rita Legault
QCGN Director of Communications

On March 15, 2017, the Quebec Community Groups Network will be hosting a one-day conference entitled Community Engagement and the Successful Integration of Newcomers.This pre-forum to the National Metropolis Conference aims to bring together representatives from various sectors and regions to discuss how newcomers – immigrants, refugees and migrants – integrate into Quebec society through the province’s English-speaking communities and institutions.

The conference, sponsored by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), will kick off with a workshop/panel entitled Faith-based Organizations as Integrating Factors for Newcomers that will discuss how churches, synagogues, and faith-based groups are integrating newcomers into our communities. This panel was organized in cooperation with QCGN member organization the English-speaking Catholic Council whose executive director, Anna Farrow, will moderate.

For more than three decades, Quebec’s Catholic community has transformed from one largely composed of English speakers of Irish and English descent to a community that is comprised of a wide swath of cultural and linguistic backgrounds.

During the past 35 years, many of the English-speaking parishes in Montreal, Laval and the South Shore have operated as de facto landing pads for newcomers where English is the language of worship and interaction. Though most of these immigrant populations are neither French nor English-speaking, and though they are rightly working towards integration into French-speaking Quebec, many have English as their First Official Language Spoken (FOLS) and are integrating into Quebec through the English-speaking community through churches.

Other faith-based organizations in our community are also engaged in newcomer integration and supporting asylum seekers – most recently in the welcome of Syrian refugees. Our multi faith panel will include Alessandra Santopadre from the Archdiocese of Montreal; Pastor Eric Dyck from St. John’s Lutheran Church; Fr. Francis McKee from Jesus Light of the World Parish; Rabbi Lisa Grushcow from Temple Emanu-el-beth sholom; and Norbert Piché, the director of Jesuit Refugee Service – Canada.

Following a networking lunch, the afternoon will begin with a panel entitled The Role of Municipalities in Welcoming Newcomers that will discuss the growing role of our cities and towns in welcoming and integrating migrants, immigrants, and refugees and how they can partner effectively with community institutions and non-profit organizations for success in retaining newcomers.

Confirmed participants in this panel include Vera Dodic, the director of the City of Toronto’s Newcomer Office and Sherbrooke city councillor Annie Godbout, who presides over the city’s intercultural relations diversity committee Le comité des relations interculturelles et de la diversité de la Ville de Sherbrooke. Panelists from the City of Montreal and Quebec City have yet to confirm their participation. This panel will be moderated by Brigitte Dugay-Langlais, the coordinator of the Réseau de soutien à l’immigration francophone de l’Est de l’Ontario (RSIFEO).

The conference will wrap up with a roundtable entitled Fostering the Vitality of English-Speaking Communities in Quebec Through the Successful Integration of Newcomers. Along with participants, this plenary panel hopes to uncover innovative ways that our communities can – with the support of municipal, provincial, and federal government institutions – foster the vitality of English-speaking communities in Quebec through the successful integration of newcomers and how partnerships with community groups and institutions can better lead to positive settlement outcomes for newcomers.

This panel, moderated by Cynthia Ralickas of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, will include David O. Johnston, Quebec representative of the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages. Other panelists will be announced soon.

For details of QCGN’s conference and the registration link, visit our webpage.

The QCGN is also sponsoring a conference during the main Metropolis event that will talk about attracting and retaining foreign students. Entitled Pathways to Permanent Residence: Factors Related to Foreign Student Retention and Integration in Quebec and Canada, the workshop will bring together researchers and experts to discuss the principal factors that drive foreign students to remain in or leave Canada or their host province upon the completion of a university education.

With a focus on Quebec, participants will look at the socioeconomic and linguistic factors that attract students to Canada and contribute to their retention. This workshop will also examine the programs that facilitate international student mobility to Canada, the initial motivations for studying and living in Canada, what kind of support students secure from the university community across their period of study, and the conditions that might motivate them to remain upon the completion of their studies.


Dr. Paul Zanazanian, a history education specialist at McGill University, is seeking research participants for a study that examines the workings of English-speaking teachers’ historical consciousness and its impact on the ways they understand and teach the Quebec/Canadian history program to students. If you know history teachers in your community, the QCGN encourages you to make them aware of the opportunity to participate in this study.Dr. Zanazanian notes that the teaching of history is important for helping English-speaking youth develop a sense of identity and belonging to Quebec. Given the presence of a conventional master narrative in the provincial history program, the study will look at a variety of questions including how do teachers make room for the perspectives of English speakers and other minority groups? Twenty participants are currently needed from Montreal, Gatineau, Quebec City, and Sherbrooke. This study is funded by the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et culture (FRQSC) and Dr. Zanazanian is the principal and sole investigator of the study. For further information, please contact Dr. Zanazanian at You can also reach him directly by phone at 514-398-4527 ext. 00495


Submitted by Canadian Parents for French in Quebec

Over the past few years, Canadian Parents for French in Quebec has been busy engaging youth and community members in a wide variety of activities including its Virtual Choir project and running the provincial semi-finals for CPF’s national Concours d’art oratoire. They have also conducted several information sessions for parents who want to learn more about supporting their children with their FSL learning.

In November, CPF held a conference examining the outcomes of FSL learning among English-speaking youth in Quebec 50 years after the creation of the first French immersion program by a group of dedicated parents on Montreal’s South Shore.

CPF’s Concours d’art oratoire provides the opportunity for students in English schools across Canada to write an original three- to five-minute piece and recite it in front of their peers and a panel of judges.

This year’s Provincial Concours, open to secondary students in Quebec, will take place on Saturday, April 29, 2017 at the Cosmodome in Laval. Provincial winners have the chance to win cash prizes and medals and Secondary 5 winners will travel to the National Concours in Ottawa to compete for scholarships (many in excess of $20,000) from the University of Ottawa and other universities across Canada.

CPF is also repeating its successful Virtual Choir project. This year’s choir features a short, fun song entitled Mon ami m’a raconté that allows youth to explore what life was like before the internet existed. There are still a few spots left. If your school or community choir is interested in taking part, please contact Marla at

In the meantime, CPF is looking for individuals and organizations to help continue to bring quality French second-language activities to English-speaking communities around the province. If you are interested in becoming a member, please click here for more details.


Submitted by Townshippers’ AssociationTownshippers’ Association’s Make Way for YOUth Estrie project will hold its first Discovery Day exploratory weekend from March 17 to 19. Plans are also taking shape for two other activities in summer and autumn giving participants a chance to take in the Estrie region in all its seasonal splendor.

Make Way for YOUth’s Discovery Days are the perfect way for busy post-secondary students and graduates and/or families who are considering a move to the Eastern Townships to be introduced to the people, places, and services of the Estrie English-speaking community.

Figuring out where to move before making the commitment can be overwhelming. But Make Way for YOUth’s activities makes it easier and even exciting.

“The interesting places they visit and the amazing food they enjoy during these weekends are great at helping to introduce participants to the region. But what is particularly wonderful is the networking activities that give participants a unique opportunity to experience the friendliness of our community first-hand,” explained project coordinator Holly McMillan.

“By welcoming them into our community, they leave feeling as though they are already a part of it,” McMillan added. “That sense of belonging is important when choosing where to call home and it helps make the decision so much easier. The best part? All costs relating to the activities – lodging, meals, and transportation – are covered through the project so people are free to enjoy the activities.”

Located in southeastern Quebec an hour east of Montreal, with the U.S. border to the south, the Estrie region is home to a charming all seasons playground with urban delights at its core. It is home to the adventurous with a vibrant English-speaking community where bilingual opportunities abound in a wide range of industries including agriculture, arts, culture, information and technology, education, healthcare, and manufacturing, and it welcomes innovative entrepreneurs.

The Project

Make Way for YOUth’s Discovery Days include free activities that help young professionals, under the age of 35, meet new people, see new places, learn new things about the Estrie. Conferences, workshops, visits to businesses and tourist attractions, savouring a meal at exceptional local restaurants and networking opportunities, are among the activities they will experience.

Other free Make Way for YOUth services include long-distance individual support to help young, English-speaking professionals find a job and get settled in a new community, and access to the weekly Accro des regions e-bulletin, which lists jobs that require knowledge of English or consider it an asset.

Make Way for YOUth can also help local employers, by providing free job postings, excellent visibility and networking opportunities that allow local businesses to find qualified employees, make new business contacts and increase their visibility in the English-speaking community. Both job seekers and employers can also use, which offers postings of jobs requiring English for all parts of the Townships.

Registrations are now being taken for the March Discovery Days, but spaces are limited. Those interested in taking part should register by Feb. 28, 2017, to guarantee their spot.

To qualify for MWFY’s activities or services you must be a graduate, or a soon to be graduate, from a post-secondary institution (college, university, vocational school) between the ages of 18 and 35 and eligible to work in Canada.

Make Way for YOUth Estrie is an initiative of the province-wide Place aux jeunes en region, which encourages the migration and settlement of youth in areas outside of Québec’s large city centres, and is offered to the English-speaking community by Townshippers’ Association. The activities of Make Way for YOUth are made possible thanks to the financial support of the Secrétariat à la Jeunesse and numerous businesses and organizations throughout the Estrie region.

To register or for more information, contact Holly McMillan, Make Way for YOUth Migration Agent, by phone at 819-566-5717 (toll-free: 1-866-566-5717) or by e-mail:

Network News December 2016

Please note that the QCGN office will be closed for the holidays from 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 16 and will be back in the office on Tuesday, Jan. 3.

President’s Message

By James Shea
QCGN President

Last week the QCGN was in Ottawa to participate in the final roundtable for the Cross-Canada Official Languages Consultations hosted by the Minister of Canadian Heritage Mélanie Joly and her Parliamentary Secretary Randy Boissonnault. It was great to see a strong delegation of our member organizations and stakeholders at the table defending the interests of our community of communities from Quebec. Participants in the forum and the consultations are seeking to bolster the vitality of Official Language Minority Communities, more promotion of official languages and more concrete measures for boosting bilingual and second-language learning across the country. The federal government’s strategy on official languages is essential to the vitality of our minority community and we are looking forward to increased support for our minority communities in the next action plan. (See full story below.)

House Committee Report on Official Languages

The next action plan was also the subject of a recently released report from the House Standing Committee on Official Languages. Entitled Toward a New Action Plan for Official Languages and Building Momentum for Immigration in Francophone Minority Communities, the report includes a number of excellent recommendations with regards to transparency, accountability, and the involvement of official language minority communities in the Government of Canada’s official languages strategy. However, the QCGN was somewhat concerned about a recommendation that could let federal institutions off the hook in areas that require intergovernmental cooperation because of the need to “respect Quebec’s prerogatives.” Good relationships between the federal and provincial government are key to supporting official language communities and we are disappointed our community was somewhat sidelined by that recommendation. To read the report click here. For more on the QCGN’s reaction read our press release here.

Moving Closer to Provincial Liaison for English-speaking Community

Speaking of the Government of Quebec, the media have been pressuring Premier Philippe Couillard on what he plans to do to better liaise with the English-speaking community since the QCGN met with him in Quebec City in early November. While reporters seem stuck on the notion of what they have dubbed a “Minister for Anglo Affairs,” the QCGN is most concerned about having a door in Quebec City to knock on to discuss the concerns of Quebec’s English-speaking community at a policy, not a political level “so the government doesn’t come up with something (policies, bills, regulations) that doesn’t respect our communities’ histories and needs,” QCGN vice-president Geoffrey Chambers explained to Global Montreal. Premier Couillard said that when he met with the QCGN, he was asked to undertake specific action and that he committed to doing so. He also told reporters that he would like to have someone on his staff that would act as a contact person for the English community rather than having us “knock at all the doors in order to get results.” When pressed on the issue of a minister, Couillard replied, “I’d rather have a broad engagement of my government, including in my staff, towards issues that are important for the English-speaking community.” He also said that “a lot of people are interested, interestingly enough, to play that role.” The Premier also said “rather than Anglophones, I’d rather say English-speaking Quebecers which for me reflects the reality much better and in a much more positive way. The QCGN could not agree more on his choice of designations for our community that we consider far more inclusive and reflective of the individuals we serve. Click on The GazetteGlobal Montreal, and CTV to see the coverage.

QCGN Holidays Open House

Despite the inclement weather last Monday, about three dozen members and stakeholders of the QCGN were on hand for our staff’s Third Annual Holiday Breakfast and Open House. While I was unable to attend, our guests included Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre, Pierrefonds-Roxboro Borough Mayor Dimitrios (Jim) Beis and D’Arcy-McGee MNA David Birnbaum. Our staff-led holiday tradition which is coupled with a fundraising activity to support one of our member organizations, collected more than $150 to support the activities of Tyndale St-Georges Community Centre. More donations were made online by guests who had to send their regrets because of the weather or because they were under the weather. If you want to show your support for Tyndale St. Georges, you can donate online at the following link.

Quebec Invests in English-speaking Youth

While staff served breakfast at the QCGN office, our Director General Sylvia Martin-Laforge was in Quebec City with Bishop University’s Principal Michael Goldbloom, Bishop’s Dean of Education Marie-Josée Berger and representatives from the Community Health and Social Services Network (CHSSN) for the unveiling of the provincial government’s 2016-2021 youth strategy. The five-year $200-million plan, announced by Premier Philippe Couillard and his Secretary for Youth Karine Vallières, includes measures to help young English-speaking Quebecers. Among our projects that received the green light was a civic leadership institute in collaboration with Bishop’s University in Lennoxville. (Read our joint press release with Bishop’s here). Additional funds, distributed via CHSSN, will support a pilot project that would foster links between our youth and the employability services offered by Carrefours jeunesse-emploi (CJE) and help the government-run youth employment centres better serve English-speaking youth. I congratulated CHSSN, Townshippers’ Association, and the Committee for Anglophone Social Action (CASA) for their successful pitch to the Secrétariat à la jeunesse du Québec and making this project possible. More details on the government’s youth strategy can be found by clicking here.

Treasury Board Reviewing Official Languages Regulations

In mid-November, I was on hand with Treasury Board President Scott Brison and Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly for an announcement that the federal government will undertake a review of the regulations pertaining to the Official Languages Act which deal with communicating to the public. The QCGN was pleased to be invited to attend the announcement and welcomes an open process that ensures the regulatory framework supporting our Official Languages Act remains relevant, and flexible while preserving continuity of the federal government’s duty towards the linguistic rights of Canadians. Read our press release here. Click here to read our opinion piece on this issue that was published in The Hill Times.

Early Bird Registration Open for Metropolis Montreal 2017

Registrations are now open for the National Metropolis Conference that will be held in Montreal from March 16-18, 2017, under the theme Looking Forward: Migration and Mobility in 2017 and Beyond. Metropolis Montreal 2017, which is being organized and hosted by the Association for Canadian Studies (ACS), is expected to be the biggest, best and most important Metropolis conference to date, attracting delegates from every part of Canada and every sector of society. The National Metropolis Conference is an annual forum for researchers, policy makers, representatives from community and settlement organizations to get together to share and exchange knowledge and experience in the field of immigration and settlement. The 2017 National Metropolis Conference will focus on future immigration trends and policies and the challenges and opportunities that they create for Canadian society. The conference will include plenary panels with distinguished speakers and workshop and roundtable sessions on a wide variety of topics related to immigration and diversity. Participating this year will be federal and provincial immigration ministers John McCallum and Kathleen Weil as well as Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre. For details about Metropolis click here. To register click here. (Program will be posted on the site on Tuesday.)

Pre-forum to Focus on English-speaking Community

The QCGN is working with ACS and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to prepare a pre-conference on March 15 that will focus on the issues of newcomers and Quebec’s English-speaking communities. Details on that part of the event will be available in early January.


By Rita Legault
QCGN Director of Communications

Canada-wide consultations on official languages wrapped up last week in Ottawa as the Minister of Canadian Heritage Mélanie Joly and her Parliamentary Secretary Randy Boissonnault met with representatives of key organizations from the English-speaking communities of Quebec and francophone minority communities as well as organizations promoting linguistic duality, bilingualism, and second-language learning.

“French and English are at the heart of our identity,” commented Joly as she launched national roundtable discussions seeking concrete measures on how to rally all Canadians to the cause.

Participants in the final one-day forum on Dec. 8, including three dozen representatives from English-language organizations in Quebec, were invited to share their concerns and propose solutions. Many highlighted the issue of stable, predictable and flexible funding to strengthen the capacity of organizations supporting the vitality of official language minority communities. This issue came up often during consultations across the country.

The Cross-Canada Official Languages Consultations, which ran from June to December, included a series of 22 roundtables held in the country’s main regions including Sherbrooke, Quebec City and Montreal. Chaired by Joly or Boissonnault, more than 370 participants and more than 130 observers participated in the roundtables.

Not surprisingly, the issue of funding for minority language organizations has largely taken centre stage. By the end of the consultations, there was a clear expectation that the current envelope of $1.1 billion over five years be expanded.

“This is important because it has been 10 years since there has been no increase,” commented Boissonault during the hearings. “But for any request for additional funding we must provide a solid case and these consultations were important to give us arguments to put on the table.”

Bringing the two major linguistic communities closer together was among the most often repeated themes during the roundtables, including the final one in Ottawa. Participants suggested that the government should promote both official languages as a Canadian value that is rooted in Canada’s identity and history. They also suggested that more efforts be made to promote the benefits of bilingualism as an economic and cultural asset for individuals and society as a whole.

Also suggested was the creation of more opportunities for exchanges and networking between English- and French-speaking Canadians; more second-language learning resources to meet growing demand; and the creation of opportunities to practice one’s second official language outside of school. Supporting the creation and dissemination of minority-language cultural content to the majority-language public was also a common suggestion.

Over and above the important issue of adequate and stable funding, English- and French-language groups prioritized further investments in education and social infrastructure, including schools, school daycares, community and cultural centres and post-secondary institutions. These investments should consider the remoteness, distance and northern context of some communities.

Issues specific to the English-speaking communities of Quebec included building bridges with the Quebec government and working to achieve recognition of the specific realities of English-speaking communities; supporting employability and improving access to employment for young people in these communities — particularly in the regions, so that fewer of them leave; providing greater support for organizations supporting the integration of newcomers for whom English is their first official language spoken; as well as further support for economic development, entrepreneurship and skills recognition.

Other issues discussed included the revitalization of Indigenous languages, the state of the French language in Quebec and linguistic peace; linguistic insecurity, particularly among young people, and community diversity, multiculturalism and plurilingualism.

More than 6,000 Canadians completed an online questionnaire — three times more than the previous consultation on official languages. Of that, more than 1,800 were from Quebec. Half of that number identified themselves as English-speaking and 11 per cent said they were bilingual.

Preliminary results of the online questionnaires indicate that 53 per cent of respondents backed better support for Official Language Minority Communities; 44 per cent supported promotion of official languages as languages for integrating Canadians and new arrivals of diverse backgrounds; and 39 per cent said there should be more ambitious targets and more concrete measures for boosting the bilingualism rate throughout the country.

Respondents noted the advantages of being bilingual were 1) Better job prospects (66 per cent); 2) A greater appreciation and understanding of the other’s culture (42 per cent); and 3) Easier communication among us (35 per cent).

On the best ways to promote second official-language learning, respondents agreed with making regular school second-language programs more effective (57 per cent); supporting learning initiatives in schools, from primary through university levels (43 per cent); and increasing access to second-language immersion programs (40 per cent).

On the best ways to promote the vitality of official-language minority communities, respondents listed 1) Education in the minority language, from early childhood through post-secondary level (62 per cent); 2) Access to quality public services in the language of one’s choice (58 per cent); and 3) Access to quality federal services in the language of one’s choice (43 per cent).

Additionally, more than 90 briefs and other correspondence were submitted by representative and community organizations, individuals, experts and institutions. For preliminary results from the Official Languages consultation, click here. For a list of our community’s expectations for the next action plan on official languages, click here. For more information about the consultations, click here.


By Alan Hustak

Father John Walsh, the former pastor of Saint John Brebeuf parish in LaSalle marks the 50th anniversary of his ordination with the launch of his forthright autobiography, God is Calling, Don’t Leave him on Hold.

Perhaps best known as the CJAD talk show host who once served as an Episcopal Vicar of Saint Jean-Longueuil, he continues an active social ministry although he retired five years ago.

“The church in which I minister today is not the same church that it was then and I am not the same person or the same priest,” he writes in his memoirs. “There have been times over the past five decades when I wondered why I remained in the priesthood.”

Walsh, who admits to “disappointments” but “no regrets,” chronicles his progressive ministry over the past 50 years. The book traces his childhood growing up in the Villeray district of Montreal, talks about his decision to go into the priesthood, and details the subsequent studies in Rome and in Israel that shaped his tolerant views.

As a CJAD talk show host he built a faithful listening audience and befriended Jews and Muslims alike with his practical approach to ecumenical and inter-faith dialogue. “Ministry for me has always been a question of multi-tasking, of taking risks. Risk is everywhere,” he writes. “Throughout my ministry the call to serve has meant attempting to do unexpected things. Consequently I have never had only one ministry.”

Walsh has lived through five papacies, celebrated Eucharist at the Vatican with pontiff Saint John Paul II, and tells how each of the popes, beginning with John XXIII, have influenced, inspired and at times frustrated his ministry.

The book is a battle cry for the church to become subversive and to build itself up from the bottom instead of following the top-down hierarchal approach.

“There is a spiritual revolution going on when we realize that the Word of God is subversive, the message of Jesus is subversive, and now as the People of God, the Roman Catholic Church, is becoming subversive,” he says.

God’s message is there inscripture, he says, but few care to listen.

“It is a book that is at once lyrical and meditative, comical and philosophical,” says Peter Stockland, editor of Convivum Magazine. “It is the story of a life lived in eyes open, totally engaged love of Christ’s church. It is in all its layers, Father John Walsh.”

Copies of the book are on sale at the author’s discount for $20 through the office of QCGN or for $24.95 at Paragraphe books on McGill College Avenue.

Reprinted with permission from Le Metropolitain


By Lisanne Gamelin
QCGN Youth Coordinator

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Parliamentary Secretary for Youth Peter Schiefke will be on hand for the closing ceremony of the third and final Young Quebecers Leading the Way forum on Sunday, March 12 in Gatineau.

Entitled A Plan for the Future: Quebec Youth and Canada in 2067, the third year of this bilingual project will provide dozens of youth from across the province with an opportunity to offer their views on the significance of youth engagement in shaping the future of their country.

When Schiefke came to our second annual forum at Montreal’s Concordia University last spring, he expressed an interest in coming back to meet with youth and he kept his word. Schiefke will be part of a lineup of special guests, including provincial and federal politicians, who will be on hand to engage with youth.

Our six regional youth coordinators — some of whom are finishing their fall semester — have begun recruiting delegations from their regions and preparing for their first of three regional workshops that will take place on Jan. 25 from 6 to 9 p.m. Our regional coordinators are Anthony Beer, Gaspésie; Citlalli Elizalde, Outaouais; Kelly Lacroix, Abitibi-Témiscamingue; Alice Lam, Greater Montreal area; Guillaume Lévesque, Eastern Townships; and Olivier Mutegetsi, provincial capital region.

Youth can register online and we will put you in contact with your regional coordinator. Act now because some of our delegations are already close to capacity.

The project is open to English- and French-speaking youth between the ages of 15 and 25. Participation requires the attendance of three regional workshops on Jan. 25, Feb. 15, and March 22 from 6 to 9 p.m. (dates and times may vary depending on region) as well as our third annual provincial youth forum that will be held in Gatineau from March 10 to 12, 2017.

Although attending the three workshops is free, a $25 fee for transportation and accommodation will apply this year for attendees from outside the Gatineau area.

Participants must be between the ages of 15 and 25 and be a Canadian citizen.

More details on the Young Quebecers Leading the Way website by clicking here. For additional information, please contact Lisanne Gamelin at


Submitted by the Committee for Anglophone Social Action

Seventy-two young leaders from the English-speaking community gathered at the Youth 4 Action Summit in Paspébiac to help shape the future of the region.

Carried out by Committee for Anglophone Social Action (CASA) and funded by the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Sociétés d’aide au développement des collectivités (SADC), the project has been ongoing for the last 18 months.

During this time, project coordinators Kathy Gallon and Shannon Marsh met with youth in each MRC to hold roundtable discussions and gather information on the five main topics that affect youth in the region — education, employment, community life, bilingualism and identity and belonging. The summit was the culmination of this work.

Designed by young people, for young people, the purpose of the evening was to allow 18 to 35-year-olds to speak up on the issues they cared about by sharing ideas, developing solutions, and engaging in open discussions.

Although priorities differed in each MRC, participants came together to discuss concrete ways for the community to move forward.

CEDEC was a key partner in the event and CEDEC Youth Start-Up Animator, Lori Albert, spoke on the importance of entrepreneurship, including how to deliver an elevator pitch. Many of the participants’ ideas for start-ups were validated by Albert, who felt that several ideas were “doable.”

“Change is possible, and it is only by working together that we can attain a better future for everyone,” commented participant Justin Flowers. “Last night we proved it was possible, now let’s continue to move forward in unity and hope.”

“Great job on the event tonight, this felt like a breath of fresh air,” added Dean Boudreau, commenting that there were “lots of great ideas from the youth and the older people. I would love to see more communities do this; it’s definitely an idea worth sharing.”

Project coordinator Kathy Gallon was overwhelmed with the participation rate, quality of discussions and the positive feedback from participants — not only at the summit but at all of the meetings held throughout the region. “The sense of pride in being an English-speaking Gaspesian was, and is, apparent,” she said.

CASA will now begin work with these young leaders and community partners to create an action plan based entirely on the solutions and ideas that these young leaders have put forward.


Submitted by the Committee for Anglophone Social Action

Entries are now open for the youth entrepreneurship contest Le Grand Défi : Bâtir ma région! The 2016-2017 edition will enable participants from the region’s English-speaking community to participate for the first time.

Students from the elementary, secondary, adult education and trade level are invited to register as soon as they have an idea for a social or entrepreneurial project which can improve their community. They then engage themselves in a project management process with the support of their local Carrefour jeunesse-emploi and an accompanying adult such as a teacher or a member of the community. More than $40,000 will be given out as cash prizes throughout the Gaspé and Magdalen Islands. Entries will be accepted until Jan. 20, 2017.

To improve the participants’ experience even more, the Grand Défi: Bâtir ma région team will offer them new material as of this year. A new “participant’s handbook” will help guide students and their accompanying adult though the project by offering useful information and activities adapted to the students’ age.

As an added perk, the activities proposed in the handbook will help make entries easier for the students wishing to participate in Défi Osentreprendre, a provincial-wide entrepreneurial contest which can offer even more recognition and chances to win more cash prizes.

This year, Carrefour Jeunesse Emploi de La Côte-de-Gaspé, in partnership with the Committee for Anglophone Social Action (CASA) and the Eastern Shores School Board, will take part in a pilot project to extend entries to English-speaking students in the MRC de La Côte-de-Gaspé. This partnership will enable the translation of contest materials such as the website.

Carrefour Jeunesse-emploi de La Côte-de-Gaspé will also benefit from the help of the Community Economic Development and Employability Corporation (CEDEC) to ensure the success of this initiative. This pilot project should lead to access region-wide for ESSB students in the 2017-2018 school year.

The contest was created to help integrate entrepreneurship in schools. Participating students carry out a project with a positive impact on their community as well as develop their entrepreneurial skills with the support of local resources. Established in 2012 in the MRC de La Côte-de-Gaspé, the contest has since been opened to students from the MRC of Rocher-Percé, of Avignon, of Bonaventure and of the Madgalen Islands.

Le Grand Défi : Bâtir ma région! is coordinated by the Carrefours jeunesse-emploi MRC La Côte-de-Gaspé, Avignon-Bonaventure and Des Îles; as well as Carrefour Jeunesse Option Emploi Rocher-Percé in partnership with René-Lévesque, des Iles, Chic-Chocs and the Eastern Shores School Boards.

It’s also made possible by the support of major partners including CASA; CEDEC; Défi de l’entrepreneuriat jeunesse; Complice Persévérance scolaire Gaspésie–Les Îles; Réseau de développement social Rocher-Percé; the MRC of Avignon, Bonaventure, of the Gaspé Coast and of Rocher-Percé; Hydro-Québec; the Société d’aide au développement de la collectivité de Baie-des-Chaleurs, of the Gaspé Coast and of Rocher-Percé; the Caisses populaires Desjardins of Secteur Chaleurs, Secteur de la Côte-de-Gaspé, Centre-sud gaspésien and Littoral gaspésien; as well the Collectif action-jeunesse Rocher-Percé and the Groupe en persévérance scolaire GPS des Îles-de-la-Madeleine.