Tradition Allows MNA Coiteux to Speak English in National Assembly

Montreal, April 25, 2017 – After being parachuted into a safe majority English-speaking riding in the last provincial election, Municipal Affairs Minister Martin Coiteux refused to speak the language of his constituents in the National Assembly this afternoon.

“I am going to stick to tradition in this Assembly and I will answer in French,” Coiteux said after being asked a question in English by opposition MNA Amir Khadir.

“This is an affront to his constituents and to the English-speaking community of Quebec,” said QCGN President James Shea. “The tradition in the National Assembly is Section 133 of the 1867 Constitution Act which clearly states that French or English may be used in debates in the National Assembly.”

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French Language Study Program: Immigration and Education Officials Need to Find Solution, Not Cast Aspersions on Students and English School Boards

Montreal, April 18, 2017 – It’s unacceptable that the future of hundreds of immigration candidates is in limbo despite graduating from French courses that were approved by Quebec’s Ministry of Education. It is up to the provincial Ministries of Immigration and Education to find a remedy rather than sacrificing the future of would-be Quebecers and tarring the reputation of Quebec’s English school boards.

The Programme de l’expérience québécoise (PEQ), a vocational and French-language study program, provides foreign students with a Quebec selection certificate – the first step towards becoming a permanent resident. But 18 months after passing their classes, many of them are being called in for interviews by Quebec’s Ministry of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusiveness (MIDI) to evaluate their French. Hundreds of those who graduated from the Lester B. Pearson School Board and the English Montreal School Board have had their immigration applications rejected.

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QCGN Hopeful About Opportunities for Official Language Minority Communities in Federal Budget

Montreal, March 23, 2017 – The Quebec Community Groups Network is cautiously optimistic about opportunities for Quebec’s English-speaking Community contained in this week’s federal budget.

“The budget’s emphasis on skills development, innovation, and job growth are a good fit to our community’s strategic development goals of economic prosperity,” commented QCGN President James Shea. “We know that achieving economic prosperity – a key component of our collective vitality – depends on greater access to employment and educational opportunities for youth and adults alike, especially through skills training, and encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship.

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Community Innovation Fund announces shortlisted projects

Montreal, March 21, 2017 – The independent selection committee for the Community Innovation Fund (CIF) met last week and has come up with a shortlist of organizations that will be invited to submit a full application. The selection committee, chaired by Grace Hogg, Grants 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. Some tackle more than one of these vulnerable populations that are targeted by the fund which was set up to finance social initiatives for community organizations providing direct support to English-speaking Quebecers.

The projects, from six regions of Quebec, include eight that address the needs of English-speaking youth, including youth with special needs; two that address the needs of seniors; and two that address the needs of newcomers. Financed by the Government of Canada through the Social Partnership Initiative in Official Language Minority Communities, and managed by the QCGN, the Community Innovation Fund (CIF) is a new resource to put social innovation in action. Between April 2017 and March 2019, the fund will invest more than $1 million in social initiatives while building partnerships to increase funds that will be injected into the community.

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View the list on the Community Innovation Fund webpage

For more information on the Community Innovation Fund, please contact 514-868-9044, ext. 230 or go to cif@qcgn.ca.

QCGN to Host Conference on Community Engagement and the Integration of Newcomers

Montreal, March 13, 2017 – 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. The one-day event on the eve of the National Metropolis Conference will bring together dozens of 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.

Sponsored by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), the one-day conference kicks 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 the English-speaking Catholic Council.

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View the conference’s website for details and registration

Bilingual Young Quebecers Leading the Way to Canada’s Future

Montreal, March 10, 2017 – This year marks the 150th anniversary of Confederation. What does that mean to Quebec’s youth? What are the hot issues for youth with regards to Canadian identity, social issues, the environment, the economy, Canada’s role in the world? How do they see the future of this country and their role in it?

Interesting discussions and lively debates on these themes are anticipated as dozens of youth aged 15 to 25 descend upon the National Capital Region this weekend for the third and final Young Quebecers Leading the Way forum from March 10 to 12.

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Quebec must drop plans to abandon the riding of Westmount-Saint-Louis

Montreal, February 10, 2016 –  The QCGN is disappointed that the Commission de la représentation électorale du Québec (CRE) apparently failed to follow the criteria related to the delimitation of electoral divisions by eliminating the Westmount-Saint Louis electoral division.

“The proposed electoral divisions of Ville Marie and Westmount-Notre-Dame-De-Grace will not provide effective representation for the natural community of Westmount, whose unquestionable cultural and historical heritage goes back generations,” commented Geoffrey Chambers, Vice-president of the QCGN.

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View the proposed electoral division

QCGN Welcomes Resurrection of Independent Court Challenges Program

Montreal, February 7, 2017 – The Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) is pleased with the reinstatement of the Court Challenges Program of Canada and delighted that the Government of Canada is establishing an independent program in which funding for linguistic rights cases will be protected.

“The defense and advancement of Constitutional equality and linguistic rights benefits all Canadians, and this program will provide the financial assistance necessary for ordinary people to fight for these rights,” said QCGN President James Shea, who was on hand today in Ottawa for the joint announcement by Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly and Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould.

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QCGN Demands Apology From Prime Minister Trudeau

Montreal, January 18, 2016 – The Quebec Community Groups Network is shocked and appalled that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau steadfastly refused to speak English during a stop in Quebec’s Eastern Townships yesterday and is demanding an immediate apology and a meeting.

During a town hall meeting in Sherbrooke, Que., Trudeau did not utter a single word of English, even when questions were addressed to him in the language of Shakespeare. Responding to one woman who asked what the federal government intended to do to address the lack of mental health services for English-speaking Townshippers, he replied in French: “Thank you for your use of both official language, but we’re in a French province so I will answer in French.”

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English-speaking Quebec Must Have a Stronger Voice in Conversation About Official Languages

Montreal, December 15, 2016 – The Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) is generally pleased with the House Standing Committee on Official Languages’ report Toward a New Action Plan for Official Languages and Building Momentum for Immigration in Francophone Minority Communities however it is concerned that our community was somewhat sidelined by the study and one of its major recommendations.

“We are particularly pleased to see the Committee’s recommendations related to transparency, accountability, and involvement of official language minority communities in the Government of Canada’s official languages’ strategy,” said QCGN President James Shea. “The federal government must partner with linguistic minority communities in a real way. After all, this strategy is for the support of community vitality, and must therefore be developed and implemented by the community sector providing direct services to individuals. We want a seat at the table.”

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