Montreal – October 11, 2017 – The Quebec Community Groups Network is very pleased that Kathleen Weil has been named Minister Responsible for Relations with English-speaking Quebecers. She will be leading the charge to create a Secretariat that will respond to the policy and program needs of Quebec’s English-speaking community.
“She is an experienced and capable minister who will be strong advocate for our community with her cabinet colleagues,” said QCGN President James Shea, noting that he is satisfied that Premier Philippe Couillard has opened a meaningful channel for the community to interact with the provincial government. “This is an indication that the Premier is listening to us and our concerns.”
“It’s important for our community to have someone that we can talk to who really understands the needs and priorities of our community,” commented Vice-President Geoffrey Chambers, adding that the QCGN has an excellent relationship with Weil. “We all face serious policy issues in a wide range of areas, including health, education, employment, youth, as well as regional challenges. Having a minister directly responsible for the community, and a Secretariat to back them up, will allow the government to avoid making mistakes of the past in areas like health and education reforms.”
“Our community has been asking for an interlocutor in government for many years,” said QCGN Director General Sylvia Martin-Laforge, noting the Secretariat will be an important mechanism to get serious and sorely needed policy input from our community. “Minister Weil bring with her deep knowledge of the community and she will be able to get right to work.”
MONTREAL, September 20, 2017 – Remarkable members of the English-speaking community will be honoured in late October for their singular contributions and outstanding community leadership, the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) announced Wednesday. Clifford Lincoln, Sid Stevens and Earl De La Perralle, as well as James Carter have been named winners of QCGN’s ninth annual Sheila and Victor Goldbloom Distinguished Community Service Award. In addition, Claudia Di Iorio has been chosen for the third annual Young Quebecers Leading the Way Award.
“In their individual ways, and in far different fields of endeavour, our Community Award winners have proven to be extraordinary leaders who have made exceptional contributions to our Community of Communities,” QCGN President James Shea said. “All have been visionaries, dedicated to their communities and their causes. They not only inspire social change—they embody it through their actions and their commitment.”
A passionate and principled advocate for fairness, Clifford Lincoln is a bridge-builder and a consensus maker. He has been an instrumental and inspiring leader, within the ranks of the provincial cabinet, in the House of Commons and far beyond. Driven by his unerring sense of justice, and adept at balancing the needs and aspirations of differing communities, he has made and continues to make a real and lasting difference in such areas as English-language rights; the environment; education; public transit; health and social services; and the rights of the intellectually handicapped.
Since the tender ages of 13 and 9, co-awardees Sid Stevens and Earl De La Perralle have nurtured, built and led Sun Youth Organization. This unique Montreal community group has, since 1954, developed street-level programs to meet an array of serious and often underserved community needs. These range from sports activities and summer camp for at-risk and other youth to a year-round food bank and other significant support work. The best testimony to this group’s effectiveness is the number of individuals who return to Sun Youth as adult volunteers, to give back of themselves after having received a Sun Youth helping hand during their own youth.
James Carter has been a tireless and exceptionally effective advocate for improved access to health and social services in English. He remains a community pillar, thanks to the determination, vision and negotiating skills he honed over the years. His patience has also proven a hallmark; as a result, his long-term mentoring has exerted quiet, positive influence through English-speaking communities right across Quebec. He strategically harnesses the talent and dedication of individuals within diverse community organizations. With steady guidance, he quietly empowers many to successfully tackle and succeed at leadership roles.
Claudia Di Iorio is a brilliant, resilient and courageous young woman who overcame adversity to become a highly visible and influential proponent for safe driving. Beginning in 2010, during the summer of her 16th birthday, she battled back from devastating injuries caused by an impaired driver. A spokesperson for the Cool Taxi coupon initiative since 2012, she participates in numerous school presentations, documentaries and media interviews and also speaks for the Fondation Neuro-Trauma Marie-Robert. Recognizing her extraordinary road-safety advocacy and inspirational influence, the Quebec government nominated her to the Board of Directors of Quebec’s automobile insurance board, the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ). She thus became the youngest member in Quebec history of the board of directors of a crown corporation.
The Sheila and Victor Goldbloom Distinguished Community Service Award honours individuals who have gone above and beyond in contributing to the vitality and reputation of the English-speaking community and who have built bridges of understanding between Quebecers of different backgrounds. The Young Quebecers Leading the Way Award was created in 2015 by QCGN, the Fondation Notre Home Foundation and CBC Quebec to recognize and celebrate the outstanding achievements of English-speaking Quebecers under the age of 30.
Winners have been invited to receive their awards at a community celebration taking place Thursday, October 26, 2017, at Montreal’s prestigious St-James Club. Co-sponsored by the Fondation Notre Home Foundation, the evening will be emceed by CTV Montreal lead anchor Mutsumi Takahashi, who was recently honoured with a Radio Television and Digital News Association (RTDNA Canada) lifetime achievement award for more than three decades of journalistic excellence. Details and tickets at http://qcgn.ca/community-awards/
Montreal – September 18, 2017 – The Quebec Community Groups Network welcomes the appointment of a new Board of Directors at the McGill University Health Centre. We strongly hope that this will allow the resolution once and for all of systemic issues and the ongoing standoff between one of our most important institutions and the Quebec government.
“We congratulate Peter Kruyt and the other members of the new MUHC board who have taken on this formidable task. We look forward to helping and supporting them in dealing with the major challenges facing the MUHC,” said QCGN President James Shea. “Quebec’s English-speaking community counts on the new board and Health Minister Gaétan Barrette to provide the MUHC with all the tools it needs to thrive and continue to serve all Quebecers with the high level of specialized and super-specialized care they require.”
“For many months now, the QCGN has been concerned about the deteriorating situation at the MUHC and the inability of its leaders to come to a workable arrangement, along the same lines many other institutions which had been facing tough negotiations with Health Minister Barrette and his ministry officials,” said QCGN Vice-President Geoffrey Chambers. “But we remain troubled that the process to name the new board does not appear to have included input from members of the community who have in-depth knowledge of the community and of our health and social services network.”
Following July’s unexpected mass resignation of independent MUHC board members, the QCGN expressed strong expectations that successor board members would be selected on the basis of strong community involvement, coupled with a profound understanding of and familiarity with the operational characteristics of Quebec’s health and social-services system.
“Over the last two months, the eight-member search committee did not reach out to the QCGN, to the Community Health and Social Services Network (CHSSN) or to patient groups and others. Consequently, the new board is an impressive group of people with experience in business and finance. However, we know little of their experience with Quebec’s health and social services and our community structures. “This,” he emphasized, “bodes ill for the long-term connection of these institutions and the community.”
“When Bill 10 was introduced and passed two years ago, QCGN was deeply concerned with the drastic reduction in the number of institutions and governing boards,” said Shea. “We were even more worried about the powers it conferred on the Minister to directly appoint those leading the mega-merged health care consortiums that are managing the many hospitals and social service centres that were created and, for decades, supported by our community.”
Chambers added that the search for candidates was too narrow. From the QCGN’s perspective, the final board does not reflect the full range of skills needed or the necessary understanding of the community and its needs. “These are all financial and pharmaceutical folks with no broad sense of how health and social services really work in and for our communities. But these are all good people and the community will provide all possible support.”
“A funeral service will be held at 11 o’clock on Saturday, the 16th of September at Saint Léon de Westmount. In lieu of flowers, donations to Centraide would be gratefully appreciated http://bit.ly/GiveGretta”
Montreal – September 9, 2017 – The Quebec Community Groups Network is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of community leader and trailblazer Gretta Chambers. She died Saturday morning, at the venerable age of 90.
“Her contributions to Quebec were nothing short of outstanding,” said QCGN President James Shea. The insights Mrs. Chambers provided during more than four decades as a social commentator for The Gazette and the CBC, from the mid-sixties to the early 2000s, helped shape the province’s understanding of itself during some turbulent times. “As a journalist, she explained French-speaking Quebec to English-speaking Quebecers and Canadians,” Shea noted. “In so doing, she became an important bridge builder between Quebec’s Two Solitudes.”
“I just always felt the importance of explaining, English and French, one to the other, of who we were,” Mrs. Chambers said in an interview upon winning the QCGN’s Distinguished Community Service Award in 2012.
“Gretta Chambers was une ‘Grande Dame’ of Quebec,” said QCGN Director General Sylvia Martin-Laforge. “She was a force of nature, blazing trails wherever she went. Chambers was the first female chancellor of a major university in Quebec (McGill) and the author of a seminal report on English education in Quebec that led to the creation of the Advisory Board on English Education, of which she was named the first chair. Many of the recommendations brought forward in her report, which aimed to preserve the vitality of English-language school boards, remain relevant today.”
“She was a woman with influence, vision and power, and a role model for me and many of my contemporaries,” added Martin-Laforge. “She was feisty and did not take no easily for an answer.”
Mrs. Chambers and her late husband, Egan Chambers, a former MP, were models of leadership in many circles, including family. Their son, Geoffrey, is vice-president of the QCGN.
“The QCGN wishes to extend its deepest sympathies to Geoffrey as well as to the rest of the Chambers family and many friends,” said Shea. The style, grace and verve which Mrs. Chambers exemplified, he added, will very much be missed.
The Quebec Community Groups Network is a not-for-profit organization bringing together 53 English-language community organizations across Quebec. As a centre of evidence-based expertise and collective action it identifies, explores and addresses strategic issues affecting the development and vitality of the English-speaking community of Quebec and encourages dialogue and collaboration among its member organizations, individuals, community groups, institutions and leaders.
For further information:
Rita Legault, Director of Communications and Public Relations | firstname.lastname@example.org
Telephone: 514-868-9044, ext. 223, cellular: 514-912-6555
Sherbrooke – August 10, 2017 – Next week, between August 13 and 18, Bishop’s University will host 50 young leaders at the inaugural Bishop’s Forum – a week-long conference where young English-speaking Quebecers will engage in discussions about Quebec society.
“The Bishop’s Forum aims to give young English-speaking Quebecers an enhanced understanding of how Quebec society functions and greater insight into some of the key challenges we face,” said Bishop’s Principal Michael Goldbloom. “Our hope is that this conference will help equip the participants to be engaged citizens who will choose to make their lives here in Quebec.”
Montreal, July 10, 2017 – The crisis in governance and leadership at the McGill University Health Centre has moved a substantial step closer to being resolved following today’s mass resignation of independent board members, said the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN).
“Each of these board members deserves to be commended for having done the right thing,” said QCGN Vice-president Geoffrey Chambers. “The English-speaking community acknowledges the sincere effort and hard work that each has given during their Board service. They have earned our respect and our thanks, in equal measure.”
Montreal, June 21, 2017 – The Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) today called on broadcasting giant Bell Media to reverse its decision to kill local sportscasts on CTV Montreal. Simultaneously, the federally regulated broadcaster on Tuesday eliminated regional and local sportscasting across the country.
“This is simply about respect and fair play,” said QCGN President James Shea. “This same company eliminated CJAD’s National Assembly news bureau in late 2015. Clearly, the Bell empire has taken cost-cutting too far.”
Montreal, June 15, 2017 – Four years ago, the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) passed a resolution requesting formal representation within the government of Quebec to give voice to the policy-development interests of the English-speaking community. Today, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard shared plans to establish a secretariat within the Conseil Executif – the highest level of government in Quebec.
“This offers our community a door on which to knock to express and explain the potential impact of government policy proposals on our community before they become set in stone,” said QCGN President Jim Shea, who heard the news as he was attending the 22nd annual meeting of the QCGN in Montreal.
Montreal, June 7, 2017 – The Quebec Community Groups Network is appreciative that Madeleine Meilleur has decided to withdraw her name from consideration as Canada’s next Commissioner of Official Languages. We hope an open, transparent and inclusive process is enacted to choose a Commissioner of Official Languages
“We congratulate Mme Meilleur for her wisdom and grace in withdrawing under difficult circumstances,” said QCGN President James Shea. “Despite years of yeoman service to Francophone minority communities in Ontario and across Canada, it was increasingly evident that she did not have enough of an understanding or a deep commitment to our English minority community here in Quebec.”
Montreal, June 1, 2017 – The initiative launched today by Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard – establishing a non-confrontational process of mature reflection allowing Quebec and Canada to more constructively frame our future as a nation – received a rapid, positive welcome from the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN).
QCGN steps forward to encourage and enable this dialogue and take a constructive role in the process, known as Quebecers: Our Way of Being Canadian / Québécois – notre façon d’être Canadien. We note that the premier’s announcement and its accompanying document is an important but preliminary step in what will inevitably be a complicated, challenging journey aimed at achieving consensus.
Montreal, May 26, 2017 – The Quebec Community Groups Network is concerned about the uproar surrounding the nomination of a new Commissioner of Official Languages and suggests once again that official language minority communities should be part of the selection process.
“A questionable process has produced results that can be questioned,” said QCGN President James Shea, noting that the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages confirmed Friday that it had already received two complaints regarding the nominations process. “We will find out next week if the complaints are admissible, but it is certainly uncomfortable that the office may be put in the difficult position of investigating the appointment of their new boss.”
Montreal, May 19, 2017 – The English-speaking community should be reassured this morning that major parties now acknowledge the leadership vacuum that exists within the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) and are agreed on the urgent need to resolve it. In particular, the Quebec Community Groups Network warmly welcomes the admission by the MUHC Foundations that such a crisis exists.
Both the Foundations and Quebec Health Minister Gaétan Barrette agree with us that recent developments have opened up the way to a constructive approach. We must all work together to remedy the systemic MUHC problems. The situation cannot simply be allowed to further deteriorate.
Montreal, May 16, 2017 – The Quebec Community Groups Network extends its congratulations to Madeleine Meilleur, who has been nominated to be the next Commissioner of Official Languages by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. She is slated to replace Graham Fraser who retired at the end of last year after more than a decade a yeoman service.
Recognized for having participated in the battle to save Ottawa’s Montfort Hospital in the late 1990s, Meilleur was Ontario’s Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs between 2003 and 2016. As Minister, she oversaw the expansion of Montfort Hospital; the creation of Ontario’s Commissioner for French Language Services and the establishment of a provincial Advisory Committee on Francophone Affairs; as well as an increased number of provincial institutions and regions designated to provide French language service. She also oversaw the designation of September 25 as Franco-Ontarian Day.
Montreal, April 27, 2017 – The Quebec Community Groups Network today announced the selection of 10 projects that will improve employability or secure basic socioeconomic security for vulnerable youth, seniors/caregivers or newcomers in Quebec’s English-language communities.
These projects will be financed under the Community Innovation Fund (CIF), which will invest $1 million in federal funds between May 2017 and March 2019 for social initiatives that build job skills and develop partnerships across the non-profit and private sectors.
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.”