Bell Media Must Restore Local Sports at CTV Montreal: QCGN

Montreal – June 21, 2017

The Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) today called on broadcasting giant Bell Media to reverse its decision to kill local sportscasts on CTV Montreal. Simultaneously, the federally regulated broadcaster on Tuesday eliminated regional and local sportscasting across the country.

“This is simply about respect and fair play,” said QCGN President James Shea. “This same company eliminated CJAD’s National Assembly news bureau in late 2015. Clearly, the Bell empire has taken cost-cutting too far.”

“Local, professional and amateur sport knits our communities together,” QCGN Vice-president Geoffrey Chambers said. “Enough is enough. This constant erosion is being done to all of our local media. This hemorrhage has to stop.”

Federal Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly and Hedy Fry, Chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, have been studying our shrinking media for more than a year. “They are going to have to come up with some effective solutions soon,” Chambers said. “And the Conseil de la radiodiffusion et des télécommunications canadiennes (CRTC) has to step in now to ensure that Bell Media respects both the letter and the spirit of its broadcasting licence conditions.”

“If Bell Media is allowed to devalue local sports into such a one-size-fits-all, cookie-cutter national operation, then it is clear locally rooted, locally produced TV news is next on the chopping block.”

“This process has already gone too far. We are forced to remind Bell Media that its access to our public airwaves is not a right, but a privilege. Acting as it has, Bell Media has betrayed its responsibility to treat its local audience with respect.”

Speed Dating Event Creates Links Between Community Leaders and Federal Partners

Montreal – June 16, 2017 – 

More than 70 community leaders and 14 federal institutions participated in “Speed-Dating with Quebec’s English-speaking Community,” a three-hour matchmaking event during the Annual Meeting of the Quebec Community Groups Network on June 15.

With financial support from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED), and organizational backup the Community Economic Development and Employability Corporation (CEDEC), this first-ever “Speed Dating” was for many, the highlight of the two-day meeting. The room buzzed with conversation as 13 teams, each comprising five leaders from across Quebec’s English minority-language communities circulated among the tables of federal officials for two hours.

“It’s fantastic,” said Kim Hamilton of the Quebec English School Board Association. “The speed dating element is kind of fun. The idea is very well put together.”

Another participant, Charlene Sullivan of Neighbours in Rouyn-Noranda, marveled at the amount of information she’d gathered; “I have a lot to analyze now,” she said.

Lorraine O’Donnell of Concordia University’s Quebec English-speaking Community Research Network, said the event helped her identify “many possibilities” for support for university-CEGEP partnerships, “including some I wouldn’t have expected, like the Canadian Space Agency.”

“The matchmaking session was such as success with members and federal stakeholders that we plan to learn from this years’ experience, fine tune our approach, and adapt it for future events,” said QCGN Director General Sylvia Martin-Laforge. “Our federal partners were so enthusiastic, that they are hoping to use our model for building relationships with other official language minority communities.”

The Government of Canada’s 2017 budget focused on economic growth, anchored around a skilled workforce, innovation, and employment. The Speed Dating event enabled members of Quebec’s English-speaking community to meet with federal institutions focused on innovation, research, employment, and business success.

Federal Institutions and Agencies that took part in the first-ever event including Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions; Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation; Canadian Heritage; Canadian Space Agency; Canadian Broadcasting Company; Employment and Social Development Canada; Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada; Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada; Language Portal of Canada; National Research Council; Office of Small and Medium Enterprises; Status of Women Canada, and Statistics Canada.

Quebec premier promises Anglophone Affairs Office

Premier Philippe Couillard says he’s changed his mind about creating a special Anglophone Affairs Office. The idea has been floated around by both the Liberals and the Parti Quebecois since the last provincial election and now that the next election is a year away — the premier says it’s coming soon.

“John, 75 years old, lives in New Carlisle in Gaspé and has difficulty communicating in French. Does this make him less of a Quebecer than me? No,” the premier said during an end of session press conference Friday at the National Assembly.

John is a real person and it’s through conversations with him and other anglophones that Couillard said he’s come to see that he was wrong to not embrace the idea of an Anglophone Affairs Office earlier.

“I always resisted having different government structures for English-speaking Quebecers because I say, ‘We’re all Quebecers,’” he explained.

Read the article and watch video on Global News

Swift positive reaction to Couillard’s new anglo secretariat

Conceding some of the recent tensions in the English-speaking community over health and education could have been averted, Premier Philippe Couillard has announced plans to put in place a new government secretariat dealing with the minority’s issues.

And in a significant shift from his past views, Couillard has not ruled out naming a specific cabinet minister responsible for the community.

“I resisted this for a long time because I thought we only have one class of Quebecers, but meeting (them) on the ground and talking to people — we need to do more,” Couillard said in a wide-ranging interview with the Montreal Gazette Thursday in his downtown Montreal office.

Read the article in The Montreal Gazette

Quebec Liberals trying to reconnect with Anglophones

This week the Liberals sent a letter to federal ministers about the challenges faced by English-speaking communities outside of Montreal, while Premier Philippe Couillard announced he is creating a new administrative office dedicated to anglophones.

This group will be part of the premier’s executive council and will “state and voice their concerns at the highest levels of government,” said Couillard.

The Premier has, until now, ruled out having a minister responsible for Anglophones, but he’s now reconsidering the idea.

“It’s my duty, first. Second, because I believe in it,” said Couillard.

Read the article and watch video on CTV News Montreal

QCGN Welcomes Creation of new Secretariat in Premier’s Office

Montreal – June 15, 2017

Four years ago, the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) passed a resolution requesting formal representation within the government of Quebec to give voice to the policy-development interests of the English-speaking community. Today, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard shared plans to establish a secretariat within the Conseil Executif – the highest level of government in Quebec.

“This offers our community a door on which to knock to express and explain the potential impact of government policy proposals on our community before they become set in stone,” said QCGN President Jim Shea, who heard the news as he was attending the 22nd annual meeting of the QCGN in Montreal.

“We are both grateful and delighted with the Premier’s decision and we offer our full support and collaboration for the implementation of an effective structure to respond to our community’s needs,” Shea said.

“This is an important first step towards a more inclusive Quebec. Such a structure could have also prevented the community backlash to education reforms that would have trampled the constitutional rights of English-speaking Quebecers.

In addition, the approach the Premier has adopted is likely to have several positive effects, added QCGN Vice-president Geoffrey Chambers. “In particular, we believe this could help unblock the longstanding bottleneck in the hiring and advancement of English-speaking Quebecers in the provincial civil-service. It is a sad and continuing fact that English-speaking Quebecers remain severely under-represented throughout our civil service. We hope this will help change that.”

Couillard government concerned about “assimilation” of outlying anglophone communities

The Couillard government says it’s concerned about the isolation and assimilation of anglophone communities in Quebec’s outlying regions.

Jean-Marc Fournier, minister responsible for intergovernmental affairs and the Francophonie, reportedly said in a letter to the federal heritage minister that they are concerned about the isolation and assimilation of the anglophone communities in the outer regions outside of Montreal.

Federal Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly had asked last fall for observations about issues relating to Canada’s two official languages.

Read the article on CJAD’s Website

Checking in: Should we worry about the Anglophone minority of Quebec? (FR)

The Couillard government wonders if more money should be invested in order to offer services to Anglophones who live outside of Montreal. Projections show however that their demographic weight should increase.

Between 1996 and 2011, the number of Quebecers who live outside of Montreal whose mother tongue is English decreased by 2.3%. Nevertheless, Statistics Canada projects their proportion to grow by 2036.

Read the article on Radio-Canada.ca’s Website

Quebec government calls on Ottawa to help province’s small English communities

The Quebec government is calling on Ottawa to provide help for the province’s anglophone communities outside Montreal.

Ministers say they are worried about the survival of those communities and are asking to give them a financial boost.

Canadian Heritage Minister Melanie Joly asked House Leader and Minister for La Francophonie Jean-Marc Fournier to share his observations about the country’s two official languages.

Fournier responded with a five-page letter to Joly letter expressing concerns about Quebec’s English-speaking communities outside of Montreal.

“I think we’ve got to keep in mind what are the problems to try to find, together, solutions to those problems,” said Fournier.

Read the article and watch the video on CTV News Montreal