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.

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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

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.

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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

Couillard government has taken anglophone decline to heart, group says

QUEBEC — Representatives of Quebec’s English-speaking community are welcoming news the Quebec and federal governments are having a fresh look at ways to deal with the decline and fragile future of rural minorities.

“I’ve never seen a letter quite like this, which appears to address and recognize some of the concerns we have been talking about over a period of time,” James Shea, president of the Quebec Community Groups Network, said in a phone interview.

“They’ve taken things to heart. There is no question there is a sense of isolation in our more senior community. We do have a generation which is pretty much unilingual English-speaking.”

Read the article in The Montreal Gazette

Madeleine Meilleur withdraws as candidate for language commissioner

“Madeleine Meilleur has pulled out of the running for the job of Canada’s language commissioner, saying the controversy surrounding her candidacy has compromised her ability to do the job.”

Faced with increasingly difficult question about the process of her nomination, Madeleine Meilleur recused from her bid to the Official Languages post via a letter to Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly. Minister Joly expressed her deception for this turn of events.

Her lack of knowledge about the minority situation in Quebec was also questionable. Three complaints were filed to the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages, and another was in the plan from the QCGN. The English-speaking group was surprised to learn from Meilleur’s lack of understanding.

Read the article in the Montreal Gazette

 

Madeleine Meilleur takes herself out of the running for languages commissioner job

“Federal Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly says her controversial pick for the position of official languages commissioner is withdrawing her candidacy.”

In a letter to the Minister, Madeleine Meilleur expressed regrets for the controversy surrounding her nominations, and also concluded that her ability to perform would have been compromised. Opposition Leader, Andrew Scheer, mentioned that such appointment embarrassed the current government.

Community groups from both minority languages in Canada welcomed Meilleur’s decision to back down. Vice president Geoffrey Chambers felt relieved of such conclusion, since the process itself was the problem. Starting it over again might lead to less disappointment if all parties are consulted, he added.

Read the article on CBC News website