Exceptional Quebec leaders fêted at annual QCGN banquet

By Irwin Block
For the Quebec Community Groups Network

Activists and supporters of Quebec’s English-speaking community, including politicians from three levels of government, gathered Thursday evening 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 feted at a banquet at Montreal’s Club Saint James.

Quebec Community Groups Network (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 you 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.”

“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 an 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 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 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 Emcee 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 leading leadership role,” the QCGN said.

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. For me this is a celebration of that credo,” he said, underlining 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!”

$471 000 to Promote Civic Engagement Among Young People

Bishop’s University has received $471 000 in financial support over three years to organize the Bishop’s Forum. The event, which runs until August 18, is aimed at English-speaking Secondary V, college and university students. It is focusing on the themes of citizenship, community involvement, philanthropy, the environment, the political system, the media, entrepreneurship, the social economy, and parliamentary committees. It falls within the scope of the key objective of The 2030 Québec Youth Policy focusing on citizenship to encourage a commitment by young people to culture, the community and society.

Read the press release from the Government of Quebec

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.

22nd Annual Meeting of the QCGN – Working Together for Quebec’s English-speaking Communities

Under the theme Working Together for Quebec’s English-speaking Communities, members of the Quebec Community Groups Network will hold their 22nd Annual Meeting on June 15 and 16, 2017 at Le Nouvel Hotel in Montreal.

This year we will be holding our Members Convention and Annual General Meeting over two days. After an early breakfast on Thusday morning, the convention will begin with our professional development. Allowing all of our participants to benefit from the wisdom of our three presenters, we will begin in plenary where our trainers will each give a 18-minute presentation TED-style (Technology, Entertainment Design ). We will have three TED-like talks on a trio of themes – Building and Engaging Online Communities; Managing Workplace Environment; and Fundraising and Philanthropy. Our session will be followed by break-out sessions where participants can interact directly with our presenters, ask questions, and gain more in-depth knowledge about their topic of choice.

Following lunch, we will be hosting a free community/government matchmaking event. With financial support from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, the “speed dating” event will connect English-speaking community leaders and organizations with federal institutions that offer funding and services. The event will be sponsored by the Community Economic Development and Employability Corporation (CEDEC).

On Friday, we will reconvene early for breakfast followed by a series of information sessions. First up will be a panel about recent Statistics Canada population projections and how they will impact Quebec’s English-speaking Communities. That will be followed by a review of the Official Language Regulations (Communications with and Services to the Public) with Carsten Quell of the Treasury Board Secretariat; a talk on Measuring Community Vitality with William Floch, research Manager at the Department of Canadian Heritage; and a discussion on the renewal of the Community Development Plan for the English-speaking Community of Quebec.

After lunch, we will convene for the Annual General Meeting where we will deal with the business of our network. The AGM is free and open to all members and, once again this year, we will broaden access further by broadcasting it live via webcast. This will allow virtual participants to follow the meeting, and, if necessary, allow voting delegates from member organizations who are not on hand to vote virtually. If you are a voting delegate planning on participating via livestream, please contact Patricia Post. A link to the live webcast will be posted on the AGM website a few days before the event.

For the full schedule for the event and to register, visit qcgn.ca/qcgn-agm.
The page will be updated as additional details are confirmed.

Access to Justice in Both Official Languages

On April 11, the QCGN presented to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Official Languages for a study on the Full Implementation of the Official Languages Act in the Canadian Justice System. Accompanied by Michael Bergman of the 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 also 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.

Consult our brief in the Library section

The 7 Keys to Cracking the Quebec Code

Who are the Québécois, French and English-speaking? What makes them tick? What are their values and preferences? Produced by Léger Research Intelligence Group, and written by pollster Jean-Marc Léger, marketing professor Jacques Nantel and journalist Pierre Duhamel, Cracking the Quebec Code 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. The QCGN is organizing a conference entitled Cracking the Quebec Code: Understanding French-speaking Quebecers and English-speaking Hybrids, to get insights on our likes and dislikes, hot buttons and soft spots from Léger Group Vice-President Christian Bourque. Hosted by the QCGN and The Montreal Gazette, this conference is presented in partnership with the Fondation Notre Home Foundation, the Association for Canadian Studies (ACS), the Quebec English-speaking Communities Research Network (QUESCREN) and the Thomas More Institute.

For more details click here. http://qcgn.ca/quebec-code/

Poster for the QCGN 5 a 7

Final Youth Forum in National Capital Region

Montreal, March 13 – 

This past weekend dozens of Quebec youth gathered in Gatineau/Ottawa for the third and final Young Quebecers Leading the Way forum. Young delegates spent the weekend meeting with experts including politicians, journalists and others on six themes including Economy, Canadian identity, Indigenous peoples, Politics and Democracy, Social issues and the Environment and Canada in the World.

They presented their declaration on Parliament Hill on Sunday. Justin Trudeau’s federal parliamentary youth secretary Peter Schiefke, who was on hand to comment the work of our young participants, said he was most impressed by their engagement and forward thinking. Schiefke then took the delegates on a tour of the House of Commons where they got to sit in the seats of their favourite leaders, Ministers and MPs. Most also took a minute to sit on the Speaker’s throne for a selfie. The weekend was emceed by CBC Quebec’s roving reporter Marika Wheeler. For more photos, click here.

 

Prime Minister Responds to Our Community

The QCGN is very pleased to report that we 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.

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.

Read the letter from the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed to the Quebec Community Groups Network.

Official Languages Consultations Webcasts

The Cross-Canada official languages consultations 2016 rolled into Sherbrooke on August 5, and to Quebec City on August 23, and Montreal on August 30. English-speaking Quebec was represented at all sessions that were hosted in institutions of our community.

Watch the webcast for the Montreal consultation

Watch the webcast for the Moncton consultation