QCGN opposed to changes in Census data collection

The Quebec Community Groups Network is opposed to plans by the federal government to do away with the mandatory long Census form and replace it with a voluntary national household survey.  Our Network, which represents 36 English-language groups in Quebec, is concerned this change will make it more difficult to obtain reliable, detailed information that is essential to our work.  QCGN president Linda Leith, who has written to Industry Minister Tony Clement to express our concerns, notes that the Census is a critical source of evidence that supports our work on behalf of English-speaking Quebec and that making the completion of the long form voluntary will undermine the credibility of the data collected. “Decisions and actions that affect the legitimacy and consistency of this irreproachable data source are of great concern to the QCGN and the English-speaking Community of Quebec,” Leith noted.  Full version…

QCGN launches call for nominations for the Sheila and Victor Goldbloom Distinguished Community Service Award

The Quebec Community Groups Network is seeking individuals who have made significant contributions to the vitality of the English-speaking community of Quebec for the 2010 edition of the Sheila and Victor Goldbloom Distinguished Community Service Award.  Launched during the kick off of the QCGN’s 15th anniversary celebrations last fall, the Award was instituted to honour individuals like Dr. Victor and Mrs. Sheila Goldbloom who have gone above and beyond in contributing to the vitality and understanding of English-speaking Quebec.  Full version..

AGM Wrap Up

The Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN), which gathered in Quebec City this past weekend, honoured the founding fathers of the organization, Hugh Maynard and Martin Murphy, and elected its first woman president, literary festival organizer Linda Leith, founder of Blue Metropolis Foundation. Dr. Victor Goldbloom was also on hand for the official launch of the call for nominations for the 2010 Sheila and Victor Goldbloom Distinguished Community Service Award.  The get-together, which crowned the organization’s 15th anniversary, included a panel discussion during which Network leaders talked about where Quebec’s English-speaking community sees itself 15 years from now. The discussion launched a wider consultation process which will culminate in a community conference in the fall of 2011 that will help our Network set a clear path forward towards ensuring the continued vitality of English-speaking Quebec.   “At the end of our first 15 years, we are about to start a new chapter in the history of the QCGN and of the history of the English-speaking community of Quebec,” said Leith, who is a writer. “I look forward to working on this new chapter together with you. What we’re working on is not a novel. It’s a work of creative non-fiction, grounded in reality, fired by the imagination. The collective imagination, as is appropriate for a collaborative work. It will take a lot of brainstorming, a lot of work, and a lot of input from all of you.” 

Association for Canadian Studies (ACS) and Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) launch Canadian Diversity issue exploring Deep Diversity of English-speaking Quebec

The Quebec Community Groups Network is pleased to launch the fruit of a major collaboration with the Association for Canadian Studies as well as a handful  of dedicated community leaders, activists and researchers.  This special issue of Canadian Diversity is a follow-up to a two-part symposium entitled “Exploring Diversity in English-Speaking Quebec” organized by the QCGN, ACS and Concordia University’s Quebec English-Speaking Communities Research Network, better known as QUESCREN. The symposium, magazine and a research project on whether the English-speaking communities outside of Montreal can help to attract and retain immigrants to their regions, received some $63,000 in funding from Citizenship and Immigration Canada.  “This publication demonstrates that there has been some significant thinking within our Network and within our community about our diversity from the perspectives of health, arts, history, heritage, education and employment,” said Robert Donnelly, president of the Quebec Community Groups Network. Full version…

QCGN wants Official Languages Act protected and preserved

The Quebec Community Groups Network shares many of the concerns expressed by the Commissioner of Official Languages Graham Fraser in the first volume of his annual report (http://www.officiallanguages.gc.ca/) released Tuesday.  In his report entitled Beyond Obligations, Commissioner Fraser spoke about the importance of leadership in promoting linguistic duality and the values contained in the Official Languages Act.  “The most important thing is that the principles of the Official Languages Act are respected and acted upon,” said QCGN President Robert Donnelly, noting the Network will be watching to see how the core values of linguistic duality are translated into a real commitment by government partners.  For example, Commissioner Fraser noted his concerns about how funding delays have affected Official Language Minority Communities and he reaffirmed the responsibilities of federal institutions to the English-speaking communities of Quebec and to Francophone communities in the rest of the country. Full version…

English youth ask government to focus on community vitality and sustainabilty

English-speaking youths have a strong sense of attachment to Quebec and to the English-speaking community and they wish to remain in the province. To do so they require strong schools and strong communities. “English-speaking schools are critical in forming our identity,” said Nicola Johnston, co-chair of the Quebec Community Groups Network’s Youth Standing Committee. “They are also important centers of community.”  To remain in Quebec, and to make a meaningful contribution to our community and to society, English-speakers require adequate French-language skills to integrate into the job market, Ms. Johnston argued, noting that improving levels of bilingualism will produce fluently bilingual young people who are equipped with the skills they require to stay here. Read the full press release here.

QCGN appears before House of Commons Committee on Official Languages

For the second time in a month, the Quebec Community Groups Network appeared before the House of Commons Committee on Official Languages on Thursday morning. This time, QCGN President Robert Donnelly and Director General Sylvia Martin-Laforge were there to discuss The Roadmap to Canada’s Linguistic Duality.

Click here to read Robert Donnelly’s remarks to the committee.

QCGN files complaint with Commissioner of Official Languages about Throne Speech Snub

Noting the absence of any reference to Quebec’s Official Language Minority Community in the Throne Speech, the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) this week filed an official complaint with the Commissioner of Official Languages expressing our dismay and concern about the omission.  QCGN President Robert Donnelly noted that the Throne Speech prioritized support for Francophone communities outside Quebec, but omitted any reference to that other official language minority in Canada – the English-speaking Community of Quebec. Full version of the press release here.

To read the QCGN’s reaction to the Throne Speech click here
For a copy of our letter to the Commissioner’s office, click here.

Montreal Mosaic to draw portrait of Greater Montreal

Much of this city’s history, culture, and art is appreciated by far too few.  Montreal Mosaic – www.montrealmosaic.com/ – hopes to change that by providing a place to explore, question and celebrate English-Montreal’s heritage and evolving cultural scene.

“Like a true mosaic, our web-magazine is an assemblage of small pieces that come together to create a picture of Metropolitan Montreal,” said Guy Rodgers, chairman of the Arts, Culture and Heritage Council of the Greater Montreal Community Development Initiative (GMCDI).  “And, in the image of our diverse cosmopolitan community, every piece of the mosaic maintains its own identity while contributing to the overall picture.”

“Montreal Mosaic is a place to rediscover our city. A meeting place: A place for sharing stories, a place for personal reflections and community perspectives on the past, present and future of a great Canadian metropolis,” said Guy Rodgers, noting that Montreal Mosaic is eager to look at how groups and individuals contribute to the local arts, culture and heritage scenes and to showcase the organizations and place who are active in the areas of Arts, Culture and Heritage in the Greater Montreal area. Full version… 

The QCGN appears before the House of Commons Committee on Official Languages, The Official Languages Act and the English-speaking Community of Quebec: Learning from the Past

The Quebec Community Groups Network appeared before the House of Commons Committee on Official Languages Tuesday morning to discuss the English-speaking Community of Quebec’s experience with the Official Languages Act over the past 40 years. Appearing on behalf of the Network were President Robert Donnelly and Nicola Johnston, the co-chair of the Board of Director’s Youth Standing Committee. They were accompanied by QCGN Director General Sylvia Martin-Laforge and Stephen Thompson, Director of Policy, Research and Public Affairs. Robert Donnelly spoke about how the Official Languages Act impacts the English-Speaking Community of Quebec and the barriers to our collective vitality and sustainability.  Nicola Johnston, who like so many of her peers is bilingual, well educated, and motivated to stay and participate in Quebec society, voiced the concerns and aspirations of youth and how the English-speaking community can move forward. Read their speeches following the links below.

Speech from QCGN President, Robert Donnelly.

Speech from the co-chair of the Board of Director’s Youth Standing Committee, Nicola Johnston.

QCGN reacts to Throne Speech – English-speaking Quebecers need to be recognized as a valued part of Quebec and Canada Following yesterday’s Throne Speech, the linguistic minority of Quebec feels invisible.

English-speaking Quebecers are one of the two national linguistic minorities recognized in Canada.  We are the largest linguistic minority within a linguistic minority in the country.  We possess strong relationships and ties to our fellow Québécois citizens, the francophone majority outside Quebec, as we do to all Canadians.  Then why do we feel left out?

We live linguistic duality every day.  We have the highest level of bilingualism in the country. Yet, when the government discussed linguistic duality in the Throne Speech yesterday, it pledged only to further strengthen Canada’s francophone identity.  While we strongly support Francophones in Quebec and in Canada, English-speaking Quebecers also want to feel secure in their own identity.  Full version…

Vitality of English-speaking Quebec at stake; QCGN pleads for caution in finding right remedy for Bill 104

In light of the opinion made public today by the Conseil Supérieur de la langue française, the Quebec Community Groups Network is worried about legislative measures that could adversely affect the short- and long-term viability of our institutions, including our schools. While we agree with the Conseil’s opinion that the primacy of the French language and social cohesion in Quebec must be maintained, the government must take into account the impact that implementing the Conseil’s recommendation would have on the English-speaking community.
We know the government of Quebec must apply the Supreme Court ruling on Bill 104 and we see the difficulty in finding a solution that will satisfy the Supreme Court justices, Francophones who are concerned about the survival of their language, and English-speaking Quebecers who are worried about the future of English schools. However, we question if the prescription the Conseil suggests is stronger medicine than what is needed to cure the problem. Full version…

QCGN partners release toolkit for building leadership in rural Quebec Montreal, Gaspé, Low, Netagamiou

Quebec’s English-speaking communities face multiple types of isolation and young women in these communities who are emerging as new leaders experience unique challenges that conventionally designed projects fail to effectively address.  “Supporting these young women while contributing to effective community development in the official language minority context is a complex task,” commented Sylvia Martin-Laforge, Director General of the Quebec Community Groups Network, at the launch of a toolkit for building leadership in rural Quebec today in Montreal.  ”The toolkit we are launching today is the result of the documents that were assembled during the process”, said Mrs. Martin-Laforge, noting the toolkit is aimed at linguistic minorities interested in best practices for rural community development; individuals or groups who want help developing their rural communities; young women wishing to develop their leadership or community development skills; as well as community organizers, project coordinators, and other professionals.  Full version…

QCGN seeks young leaders for leadership project

The Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) is currently seeking a dozen youths aged 18 to 29 to participate in a project to develop leadership skills among young English-speaking Quebecers.  The group of 12 young leaders, who will be selected from eight regions across Quebec, will meet for two days of skill building and leadership training. Topics will include youth engagement strategies, publicity and outreach, facilitation skills, introduction to community development and workshop planning and implementation. The 12 leaders will work together to develop a custom workshop to teach community development and leadership skills to their peers.  In collaboration with the Department of Canadian Heritage, the QCGN hopes to give to 132 youth the opportunity to develop their leadership skills.  Full version…

Two Quebecers to sit on Panel of Experts for Language Rights Support Program

The Quebec Community Groups Network is pleased to announce that two representatives of Quebec minority English language community have been named by the Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, to serve on the Panel of Experts of the Language Rights Support Program (LRSP).  
Montreal attorney Richard McConomy and Gaspé health-care advocate Brad McDonald were both named to the panel that will administer the LRSP which replaces the Court Challenges Program. The Panel of Experts, which is made up of lawyers, specialists in alternative dispute resolution, and minority language community representatives, will be responsible for guiding Program efforts and selecting files to be supported.  Full version…