Ottawa’s choice for Official Languages post hits wall of criticism

“The Trudeau government’s nominee to be the next Commissioner, former Ontario cabinet minister Madeleine Meilleur, has not impressed Quebec’s primary English-speaking organization. QCGN’s Geoffrey Chambers explains why to Susan Campbell.”

In this radio interview on Quebec AM, QCGN Vice President Geoffrey Chambers expresses his doubt on Madeleine Meilleur’s nomination and the possibility of a Senate blockade for her appointment.

Listen to the interview on Quebec AM

Former candidates for bilingualism post criticize nomination process as harmful, divisive

“After losing their bid to become Canada’s next official languages commissioner, former candidates say the nomination process has divided official language minority communities and undermines the office of the bilingualism watchdog.”

Opposition parties have fiercely criticized the appointment since there were mentions of Meilleur speaking with two advisers from the prime minister Office. Both opposition parties claimed they were not properly consulted on the appointment.

Meilleur’s nomination also splits minority language communities especially since the nomination of the Commissioner of Official Languages should not be avertly political. The FCFA and the QCGN have both congratulated Meilleur before worrying at the appearance of partisanship.

Read the article on CBC News website

Mélanie Joly will meet with FCFA (FR)

“La ministre du Patrimoine canadien, Mélanie Joly, a indiqué qu’elle allait rencontrer la Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne (FCFA) du Canada mardi 30 mai, en matinée, pour parler de la nomination de Madeleine Meilleur au poste de commissaire aux langues officielles du Canada.”

Following concerns about the nomination process of the next Commissioner of Official Languages, Canadian Heritage Minister Melanie Joly agreed to meet with FCFA to discuss. Many opposition MPs criticized the Minister for a partisan nomination which divided the Francophone minorities, especially since Acadians expected a new Commissioner from their region.

Rallying the English-speaking community of Quebec, the Quebec Community Groups Network also expressed their concerns about the nomination process. Melanie Joly still backs Mme Meilleur as the best candidate for the job.

Read the article in #ONfr

CTV Montreal anchor Mutsumi Takahashi receives RTDNA lifetime achievement award

“Mutsumi Takahashi has earned a lifetime achievement award for her work as lead anchor of Montreal’s top-rated newscast. The Radio Television Digital News Association, RTDNA Canada, honoured Takahashi at a ceremony in Toronto Friday night for her work as the familiar face and voice behind CTV Montreal news for more than three decades.”

Viewed as a pillar of the English-speaking community of Montreal, Mutsumi Takahashi delivered a vibrant speech on the state of journalism as she received the lifetime achievement award for her work as lead anchor at CTV Montreal.

She also has a strong foothold in the anglophone community in Montreal. Sylvia Martin-Laforge, QCGN DG, praised her commitment and her understanding of the community. Many others, such as Bill Brownstein from the Montreal Gazette and Kent Nagano, also commented on her achievements.

Read the article on the CTV News website

Health Minister pushes back on claims MUHC is underfunded

“The Health Minister is disagreeing with claims that the MUHC is underfunded. Seven foundations at the MUHC called on Gaetan Barrette this week, asking him to meet with the McGill University Health Centre to stabilize funding.”

This in-depth article about the different sides in the story of MUHC’s underfunding brings forward how the arguments on both the ministry and the health-care facility sides created a crisis in management. In a statement on the subject, the QCGN underlines how the MUHC was poorly managed until it reached that boiling point.

The MUHC is a revered English-speaking institution, especially for the English-speaking community, specified Sylvia Martin-Laforge.

Read the article in CTV News Montreal

‘There is a crisis’: QCGN pushing for solutions after budget cuts to health care

“Quebec Health Minister Gaétan Barrette is denying he ever proposed a merger of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) with other health institutions.”

Responding to this statement, the QCGN applauded MUHC Foundations’ acknowledgement that the possible changes may have an impact on access to quality care to its patients. In a press release, QCGN VP Geoffrey Chambers declared that there is a crisis, but the importance is to shift the focus on the underlying issues.

Minister Barrette insisted that any changes need to come from the community, and not from his ministry since he never put forward the possibility of structural changes at the MUHC.

Read the article on Global Montreal website

Your role is not to manage, Gaétan Barrette tells MUHC foundations

“Health Minister Gaétan Barrette is declining to say whether he will take part in an urgent meeting with stakeholders of the McGill University Health Centre on the fate of the troubled institution.”

The hospital network’s predicament has devolved into a full-fledged crisis, declared QCGN VP Geoffrey Chambers in a statement. Minister Barrette reminded the MUHC Foundations that their role is not to manage health-care institutions.

Read the article in the Montreal Gazette

MUHC can and must do better for our community

By James Shea and Geoffrey Chambers

The English-speaking community is being challenged to ensure that during decades to come, our McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) is provided with all the tools it needs to flourish. This applies equally to the front-line network of institutions through which most of our patient care is delivered. In many ways, we already have first-class institutions. We must act now to ensure they have a first-class future.

Our first move should not be to vilify a Quebec cabinet member who quite justifiably is calling on community leadership to address and solve the MUHC’s obvious problems. Quebec Health Minister Gaétan Barrette is grappling “to make sure that the MUHC is stabilized.” He is understandably cautious about funding a profoundly dysfunctional system in the absence of a plan for corrective action.

The era of MUHC business as usual must be declared over. The forces of the MUHC status quo refuse to acknowledge this. Instead, they are trying to set Barrette up as the villain, the core cause of the problem. Let’s be blunt. Within the MUHC and across Quebec, English healthcare isn’t working to its full potential. The MUHC is afflicted with morale, managerial and other chronic issues. Holdovers from the Dr. Arthur Porter era have utterly failed to build the case for what we have long needed — a well-thought-through organizational redesign that is patient-centred. To accomplish the turnaround in governance and accountability that the MUHC so sorely needs, we require active engagement.

Whining is pointless. The Quebec Community Groups Network wants a productive debate and positive results on this and a variety of issues such as history curriculum, government services in English, bilingual signs, electoral map changes… the list is long. The way to achieve such progress is through evidence-based arguments, hard-nosed, fair-minded bargaining and a viable plan.

In health care, we need a system that doesn’t regularly drop the ball or needlessly escalate levels of care. One that doesn’t rule out the most promising option for oncology treatment because of the postal code of that patient’s home.

Most patients who have been through our system readily attest to the first-class care show by overburdened staff. Their best efforts are constantly being tripped up by infuriating systemic problems including organizational inefficiency, duplication, bureaucratic turf wars and lack of communication. These defects are only partly rooted in the unfortunate era embodied by the now-disgraced Porter. We shouldn’t be slapping the minister of health around to avoid tackling Porter’s thorny internal-management legacy head-on.

The MUHC needs an integrated, patient-centred approach that fosters continuity of care. Leading healthcare systems are taking full advantage of available technology, techniques and tactics. Ours is most definitely not.

A modern system prevents or minimizes hospital stays. It delivers appropriate services as close to the front lines as possible. It allows and motivates staff to do better what they do best. It heals, not hinders. It encourages, not impedes. It also saves taxpayer dollars. Instead, the MUHC status quo argues that coordination with the rest of the network is an imposition. They are way off base, taking the outdated, self-centred approach that hospitals are the centre of the network. The MUHC leadership needs to get its act together and accept that it must work with our other institutions.

The MUHC is an institution that literally for each of us—not just in the Montreal region but for the English-speaking community across the province—may well one day mean the difference between our life and our death.

So let’s get on with the job. We can and must do better, for all in the system now and for all our generations to come.

James Shea is president and Geoffrey Chambers is vice-president of the Quebec Community Groups Network, which brings together 53 English-language community organizations across Quebec.

This op-ed was featured in the Montreal Gazette.

La grande séduction; to make the anglo vote move away from the Liberals

“Il y a certains mots français que même les Anglo-montréalais-es unilingues ont intégrés à leur vocabulaire — dépanneur, cinq-à-sept, terrasse et anglophone pour n’en nommer que quelques-uns. Lors d’une récente table ronde majoritairement anglophone organisée à Montréal par Québec solidaire, plusieurs autres ont fait surface, dont altermondialiste, projet de société et même… indépendantiste.”

This article presents a review of a few reasons why English-speaking Quebecers constantly vote for Quebec Liberals. Most of them revolve around rejecting another referendum. Yet, as Quebec Solidaire and the Parti Québécois try to woo the “Anglo” vote, the debate has changed.

Some English-speaking Quebecers express their discontent towards Liberals which many believe they are taking the community for granted. Lately, Martin Coiteux’s language flap also reveal a deep neglect about what is important for English-speaking Quebecers, as mentioned by QCGN President James Shea in his press release.

Read the full article on Ricochet Media’s website

Quebec Anglophone community groups get $1M in federal funding

“The Quebec Community Groups Network, an Anglophone umbrella group, has chosen 10 organizations to receive $1 million in federal funding.”

The Community Innovation Fund is supporting the projects to create opportunities for youth, newcomers and seniors. Many Montreal organizations will receive funding from May 2017 until March 2019 which could go a long way for the communities they help support.

Read the full article on Global Montreal website