Explosion in number of English-speaking residents in rural areas raises doubts

An unexplained increase in the number of English-speaking Quebecers in the regions has raised doubts about the reliability of the 2016 census numbers released last week.

The population with English as their mother tongue, or as language spoken at home, exploded in cities across Quebec according to the 2016 census data analyzed by Montreal researcher Jack Jedwab.

More than half of the increase of 5,325 people in the English-speaking population was reported outside of Montreal, in cities with strong Francophone majorities, such as Rimouski (+164%), Saguenay (+115%), Drummondville (+110%), Trois-Rivières (+69%) or Shawinigan (+77%).

Jack Jedwab, president of the Association for Canadian Studies, made this surprising discovery while searching through Statistics Canada’s data, which was published online last week. This increase in the English-speaking population in rural areas seems so unlikely that he is calling for an investigation into the reliability of the data.

Read the full article in Le Devoir (in French)

Skepticism, ‘shock’ surrounds 2016 census language findings in Quebec

More results from the 2016 census were released last week, and some are finding the Quebec language results hard to believe.

One of them is Jack Jedwab, executive vice-president for the Association for Canadian Studies. Jedwab wasn’t surprised to see a 10 per cent increase in the number of mother tongue anglophones in Quebec over the past five years. The shock came, however, when he dug deeper into where those people were said to be living, and found booms of anglophones outside of metropolitan Montreal.

“A lot of increase in the 100 per cent to 200 per cent, in places that anglophones have never even heard of,” said Jedwab.

Read the full article on Global News website

New High School History Course Approved

The saga surrounding Quebec’s history course for Secondary 4 and 5 students is drawing to a close. Education minister Sébastien Proulx has just approved the final version which will be mandatory in the fall.

According to Raymond Bédard, president of La Société des professeurs d’histoire du Québec, the reform was well received by the majority of teachers who demanded that the content be presented chronologically rather than thematically, as was the case in the former curriculum.

The Quebec Community Groups Network welcomes the changes. “We see that efforts were made, and we are pleased. We can’t ignore the contribution of those who created Quebec,” said QCGN’s Director of Communications, Rita Legault. She noted, however, that the changes to the teacher’s curriculum guide will not be included in textbooks, which were printed several months ago.

Read the full article on TVA Nouvelles’ website (in French)


Plan for hearings on ‘systemic racism’ in Quebec divides province’s political left

Some critics say the consultations encourage an ideology of victimhood and demonize the province as inherently racist.

MONTREAL — Quebec is being widely criticized for its plan to launch public consultations on systemic racism, even by those who agree visible minorities face many structural barriers in the province.

Forgotten in the upcoming discussion is Quebec’s anglophone population, said Sylvia Martin-Laforge, director of the Quebec Community Groups Network. She notes how the consultations specifically do not touch on discrimination based on language.

Moreover, she deplored how the government’s documents outlining the consultations have so far been released in French only.

Read the full article on The National Post’s Website

Newly revised history course to be taught in schools this fall

The provincial government has approved a controversial new high school history course following what is being described as minor changes to the curriculum.

The new course was launched by the Parti Quebecois government of 2014 and was supposed to be a more inclusive look at how people of all ethnicities built Quebec. Instead the course rarely mentions non-francophones.

The Quebec Community Groups Network said teachers should still go beyond the basic textbook.

“We still have to be vigilant about this curriculum. This curriculum will be taught well in our English schools because we will have the resources,” said Sylvia Martin-Laforge. “What we would hope to see is that our community, both our community and the Indigenous community, will be well represented in the francophone system as well.”

Read the full article on CTV News Montreal’s website

2016 census reveals anglophone population in Quebec rising despite language laws

Quebec’s English-speaking community has grown more in the past five years than during any census period over the last four decades, says the executive vice-president of the Association for Canadian Studies.

While anglophones might be more numerous in Quebec, the Director General of the Quebec Community Groups Network, Sylvia Martin-Laforge told the Canadian Press that our community is still worried about our institutions and services in English.

“We still worry about our schools. And we also worry about the quality of services to the English-speaking community in health care.”

Read more on The Chronicle Herald’s website

Census shows more anglo, allophones living in Quebec

The number of bilingual Canadians is at an all-time high, and some people are worried about that. The 2016 Statistics Canada census shows 18 percent of Canadians speak both official languages –with the lion’s share of those bilingual citizens living in Quebec.

The Quebec Community Groups Network says while more people may be speaking English at home, it doesn’t mean Quebec has made progress in dealing with minority-language concerns. The English-speaking community needs better access to employment and opportunities in Quebec, including jobs in the provincial civil service, QCGN Director General Sylvia Martin-Laforge told CTV.

Read more on CTV Montreal’s website

Barrette agrees to consult with union leaders, patients’ group on future of MUHC

“Faced with an outcry from patients’ groups and union leaders, Health Minister Gaétan Barrette has backed off plans to appoint within days more than half the board of the McGill University Health Centre.”

Health Minister hopes to name members to the MUHC board by the end of the summer, although he will continue to consult with union leaders and patient-rights representatives. According to Barrette’s press attaché, Thursday’s meetings were described as “positive and constructive”.

The patients’ group were worried about the invovlement of the QCGN is reshaping MUHC leadership, while arguing they didn’t represent the broader diverse members of the MUHC and McGill communities. The article also points out to possible discussions between Eric Maldoff on potential names to sit on the MUHC board.

Read the article in the Montreal Gazette

Gaétan Barrette calls emergency meeting with unions amid turmoil at MUHC

“Health Minister Gaétan Barrette will hold an emergency meeting early this morning with unions representing workers at the McGill University Health Centre amid an administrative crisis at the province’s largest hospital”

Following the departure of MUHC’s 10 independent board members, Barrette said he will hold a meeting at 7:30 a.m. to discuss with unions and the patients’ committee. Denyse Joseph, president of the MUHC nurses union, worries that new members might not be challenging Barrette’s opinions.

In the meantime, responding to questions from former board members of the MUHC, the QCGN denies they advised Barrette to reshape MUHC, although they have discussed with the health minister.

Read the article on CBC Montreal website

Health minister to meet with MUHC workers, committees this morning

“Health Minister Gaetan Barrette has called a meeting for Thursday to deal with the administrative problems at the MUHC.”

In the wake of this week’s mass resignation, Gaetan Barrette will meet unions repesenting employees and with members of various committee at the Glen Site.

Meanwhile, the English-speaking rights group QCGN said it is ready to help out in any way possible. While some question QCGN’s proposal on the terms that half the users of that hospital are French-speaking, the QCGN maintains that lots of good talent in the community are available to put together a great board.

Read the article on CTV Montreal’s website

You may also watch this feature on the subject:


What is the QCGN, the anglophone-rights group working quietly to reshape MUHC?

“Montrealers learned this week that the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) has been quietly working behind the scenes with Health Minister Gaétan Barrette to reshape the leadership of the embattled McGill University Health Centre”

This article features the key elements of the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN), such as their source of funding, their member groups and the multiple positions it has taken in the past year.

Read the article in the Montreal Gazette

Anglo-rights group working with Barrette to replace MUHC board

“Quietly behind the scenes, a prominent anglophone-rights group has been working with Health Minister Gaétan Barrette to reshape the leadership of the McGill University Health Centre, the Montreal Gazette has learned.”

The involvement of the QCGN has rankled some managers of the MUHC who fear that the QCGN might have grown too close to Barrette. In an interview, vice-president Geoffrey Chambers claimed that the organization was in touch with the minister and his office, while siding with the minister’s opinion. Chambers also mentioned that Eric Maldoff, chair of the Health and Social Services committee, had some names in mind for potential replacements.

Some MUHC managers claimed the organization seemed to pop out of nowhere, and that they never discussed any issues with patients. Barrette’s immediate priority is to appoint 10 independent members, a task that might be done soon.

Read the article in the Montreal Gazette

MUHC board resignations leave ‘1st-class institution’ facing leadership void

“Health Minister Gaétan Barrette’s top-down management style is coming under scrutiny following the resignation of more than half the board members at the McGill University Health Centre.”

The resignation of 10 independent board members reflects the counterproductive approach Barrette takes with health care institutions. Board members have complained about ignored meetings and failed correspondence. However, it was the revealed reports on the MUHC that made them decide on resignation.

Glenn Rourke, one of the board members who stepped down, disputes Barrette’s claims that the MUHC had chronic deficits. QCGN vice-president Geoffrey Chambers said he’s hopeful about potential resolution to the “crisis” with these resignations.

Read the article on CBC Montreal website


Ten independent board members of MUHC resign en masse

“The 10 independent members of the board of directors of the McGill University Health Centre resigned en masse Monday, saying they have been hamstrung by Quebec Health Minister Gaétan Barrette”

The board said it cannot function effectively with a health minister who threatens trusteeship, especially since it can’t even name its chair or CEO. This exodus was a reaction on a series of hurtful events, one of which was the media release of several reports on the MUHC commissioned by the Health Department.

Parti Québécois health critic Diane Lamarre said the MUHC showdown demonstrates Barrette absolute authority over health institutions. The QCGN welcomed the mass resignation as a way of resolving the crisis of governance.

Read the article in the Montreal Gazette

MUHC independent board members resign, cite conflict with health minister

“Concerns are growing over the future of the MUHC after a mass resignation of the board’s independent members. As Global’s Tim Sargeant reports, union leaders say it’s a sign of bad relation that’s having a negative impact on patient care.”

The volunteer members who have resigned cited a lack of dialogue over the last two years with Quebec Health Minister Gaétan Barrette as the reasons for their resignations. MUHC Users’ Committee also tried to meet with the minister about improving care.

For QCGN vice-president Geoffrey Chambers, naming new board members might help end this chapter for this English-speaking health institution.

Read the article on Global Montreal website