English-speaking community groups used rare face time with the province’s finance minister on Wednesday to make a pitch for more funding and to reveal a litany of bureaucratic roadblocks they have encountered in trying to ensure services for the minority.
But while cagey on what he will deliver in the provincial budget to be tabled this month, Carlos Leitão argued the money may already be there and just needs to funnelled better.
“In a general sense, there will be a section in the budget that will address the issues the community has raised and will address the fact we now have a secretariat (for the English-speaking community),” Leitão told reporters.
With Quebec’s next budget just around the corner, Finance Minister Carlos Leitão asked Anglophone communities how the government should be spending its money on Wednesday.
Leitão and Minister for English-Speaking Quebecers Kathleen Weil held a private meeting with several groups at McGill University. It’s part of a series of consultations to prepare for the budget, which will be released in several weeks.
The Quebec Community Groups Network, which was at the meeting, welcomed the news, but noted that there isn’t much time for any feedback to find its way into the budget.
The provincial budget is set to be tabled later this month, and as part of his preparations, Finance Minister Carlos Leitão sat down to consult with anglophone community groups Wednesday.
In a first-of-its kind meeting with English-speaking community groups, the groups used their time to let the minister know they’re fighting hard to ensure access to public services in English – and they need more support.
The Quebec government continues to reach out to anglophones. Quebec Finance minister Carlos Leitao will be meeting with them on Wednesday ahead of his next budget.
As part of consultations preparing for the budget, he’s holding a private meeting with several anglo groups at McGill University seeking feedback on how Quebec should spend money.
“With only a single session left to go before the next October election, Kathleen Weil — Québec’s Minister in charge of the so-called ‘Anglo’ file – told The Suburban that the Couillard administration is determined to work out a “…real and concrete” action plan in order to preserve and protect the vitality of what’s left of Québec’s English-speaking communities throughout the province.”
The Minister Responsible for Relations with English-speaking Quebecers, Kathleen Weil, said she is determined to come up with a real and concrete action plan for Quebec’s English-speaking communities, reports The Suburban. Last week, Weil reached out to more than 40 English-speaking community leaders at Concordia’s University.
Among the leaders, Eric Maldoff, chair of the Health and Services Committee at the QCGN, said rights of many English-speaking Quebecers were dismissed by the government.
“Geoffrey Chambers, vice-president of the Quebec Community Groups Network talks about the new poll on anglos and the response to it”
English-speaking Quebecers feel themselves to be less welcome in Quebec, Geoffrey Chambers, vice-president of the Quebec Community Groups Network, confirms during a wide-ranging interview with CTV Montreal. A recent Léger poll commissioned by the Journal de Montréal suggested that many younger members of the community are considering leaving the province, to pursue more promising opportunities elsewhere. However, there is “a lot of determination to stay and make things better,” Chambers adds.
“Dans un revirement qui pourrait être historique, des anglophones frustrés pensent délaisser le Parti libéral du Québec aux prochaines élections provinciales. Ils s’estiment tenus pour acquis.”
Many English-speaking Quebecers expressed the possibility to vote for another party than the Liberal Party of Quebec which has gained the electoral support of the community for the last 40 years. Citizens such as Gary Shapiro and former Equality Party MNA Robert Libman talked about the issue in the article.
QCGN Director General Sylvia Martin-Laforge nuanced the possibility stating that all parties have something to offer, and that the Coalition Avenir Québec doesn’t have everything set.
“Frustrés et inquiets pour leur avenir, la moitié des jeunes anglophones du Québec estiment que leurs relations avec les francophones sont conflictuelles, au point où certains décident de quitter la province.”
Sixty per cent of young English-speaking Quebecers say they have considered leaving Quebec according to a new poll conducted by Léger for Journal de Montreal. Nearly half said they feel like relationships with francophones are tense and one out of three respondents believe those relationships will deteriorate. English-speaking youth also believe that Bill 101 should be softened, and they would like to see more bilingual signs and be greeted in both languages.
The Journal de Montréal dedicated much of its weekend editions to news and views about Quebec’s English-speaking minority community:
Bridging the Two Solitudes:
Youth and youth retention:
Bill 101 and “Bonjour, Hi”:
“Quebec’s minister responsible for anglophone issues is raising hopes that the concerns and needs of the province’s English-speaking communities will be tackled in a concrete way in Quebec’s next budget.”
Minister Kathleen Weil held an all-day forum at Concordia University to hear from about 40 leaders of groups and institutions that serve the English-speaking communities of Quebec. Weil told that the Liberal government intends to present a five-year action plan on issues they have brought to her attention in online consultations. She also said the new Secretariat will become a permanent part of the Quebec government.
QCGN President James Shea said Weil’s commitment is a real, true agreement to engage the English-speaking community. Sharlene Sullivan, executive director of the Neighbours Regional Association of Rouyn-Noranda said she is concerned about a “backlash” against the new-found attention English-speakers are getting from the government.
“Anglophone groups got a chance to air their grievances and suggest solutions on Friday at an all-day forum at Concordia University.”
English-language groups discussed their grievances and suggested solutions last Friday during a forum at Concordia University. The Minister Responsible for Relations with English-speaking Quebecers, Kathleen Weil, says the priorities for the communities are clear – access to health-care services, employability and youth retention. When asked about easing the educational requirements around Bill 101, Weil said it was not an option.
The QCGN was one of 50 English-language groups that participated in the event. James Shea, the president of the QCGN, said the community was pleased to be heard and felt there were positive steps towards a real positioning of the English-speaking community.
“With English-speaking Quebecers bluntly saying they feel like a “square peg in a round hole,” a cabinet minister says a plan to deal with the community’s frustration and angst will go beyond symbolism and offer concrete ideas to ensure its vitality.”
On the eve of a Montreal forum gathering minority English-language groups from across the province, the Minister responsible for relations with English-speaking Quebecers, Kathleen Weil, reported productive discussions about the future of the community during her visits of the past two months across the province. The list of grievances that has emerged: breaking the myth of wealthy privilege; increasing the number of English-speaking Quebecers within the Quebec public service; and others.
The Quebec Community Groups Network welcomed news of the forum and the promises, but said successive government have failed to act on those promises. Communications director Rita Legault said the QCGN is counting on the Minister to come up with an action plan that will make a real difference for English-speaking Quebecers.
“The Plante administration recently announced that it will hold public consultations on its new Municipal Action Plan for Seniors 2018-2020. It has since been criticized (rightly, in my opinion) by two research organizations based at Concordia University for developing a plan using a process that excludes some of Montreal’s most vulnerable and marginalized seniors, including unilingual anglophones, immigrants and people with limited mobility.”
Celine Cooper argues that the Plante administration is not trying hard enough to reach Montreal’s most vulnerable in consultation on how to make Montreal more senior-friendly. Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante added a new English consultation meeting on Feb. 26 at the Cummings Centre, but the consultation website remains entirely in French.
While noting she was research project manager for a QCGN study, Cooper explains how Montreal’s English-speaking seniors do not form a uniform group and that they have needs and priorities that are unique and not like their French-speaking counterparts.
“The next Quebec election is still eight months away, but already it’s starting. The quadrennial flirtation between political parties and Quebec anglophones, that most awkward and unfulfilling of courtships, is upon us again.”
Montreal Gazette columnist Allison Hanes is asking Quebec’s political parties to do better if they hope to gain the vote of English-speaking Quebecers. Notably, Hanes presents Coalition Avenir Québec leader François Legault promises at a radio interview to CJAD’s Leslie Roberts as disconnected and the Quebec Liberals’ past actions on Bill 10, school boards reform and Bill 62 as far from heartfelt for the English-speaking community.
Hanes refers to an editorial board meeting with the Quebec Community Groups Network where the organization suggested the new Secretariat must be enshrined in law by the National Assembly. The QCGN said the secretariat is key to ensuring community interests are considered, especially by people in the civil service who draft policy and design programs.
“The Coalition Avenir Quebec is meeting in Ste. Adele this week to prepare for the spring session of the National Assembly — but more importantly, to lay the groundwork for this year’s provincial election.”
Coalition Avenir Québec leader François Legault presented Dr. Lionel Carmant as the potential candidate to be health minister in a CAQ government. Members of the party gathered in Ste. Adèle for a two-day meeting to prepare for the spring session. They also discussed some proposals for the election, such as a plan to abolish school boards which drew a lot of ire from English-language groups.
The QCGN said in a statement that the CAQ displayed little knowledge of the English-speaking community. The Quebec English School Boards Association also reacted to the plan.
“There is now a formal investigation into the case of a man who said he was mistreated by a doctor at the CHUM because he didn’t speak French”
A retired Canadian citizen of Polish origin was allegedly mocked in French because he asked to be served in English at the CHUM, Montreal’s French-language superhospital. His daughter, Suzie Malysa, says a urologist denied him critical medical attention. Malysa shared the story on Facebook which garnered hundreds of responses. The hospital’s spokesperson said the CHUM is not designated to provide services in English.
Chair of QCGN’s Health and Social Services committee, Eric Maldoff thinks the problem was an issue of professionalism and not language. Maldoff said clear guidelines are still not sufficient in providing efficient health services in English.