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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Bishop’s University Will Hold Civic Leadership Institute for Quebec’s English-speaking Youth

Sherbrooke, December 12, 2016 – In August 2017 Bishop’ University will welcome young English-speaking Quebecers to its Lennoxville campus for a week-long Civic Leadership Institute. This initiative is being supported by the Quebec Government as part of its Stratégie d’action jeunesse 2016-2021.

The Institute, which is part of the action plan announced on Monday by Premier Philippe Couillard and Karine Vallières, Parliamentary Assistant to the Premier (Youth) and MNA for Richmond, is being led by Bishop’s Dean of Education, Marie-Josée Berger with the support of the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN).

Read the full press release from Bishop’s University

QCGN Advocates for More Flexible Regulations for Provision of Federal Minority Language Services

Montreal, November 17, 2016 – The Quebec Community Groups Network is pleased with today’s announcement by Treasury Board President Scott Brison and Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly that the government will undertake a review of the regulations pertaining to the Official Languages Act which deal with communicating to the public.

“It is particularly appropriate that representatives from Canada’s official language minority communities have been invited to today’s announcement, demonstrating the intimate links that exist between all parts of the Official Languages Act, which aims to ensure respect for English and French as the official languages of Canada, and support the development of our nation’s English and French linguistic minority communities,” commented QCGN President James Shea, who was on hand for the announcement.

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Community Innovation Fund Seeking Proposals to Better Serve Vulnerable Youth, Seniors/Caregivers or Newcomers

Montreal, November 11, 2016 –The Quebec Community Groups Network today invited non-profit organizations that serve English-speaking Quebecers to announce their intention to apply for the Community Innovation Fund (CIF) which will finance social initiatives to improve employability or secure basic socioeconomic security for vulnerable youth, seniors/caregivers or newcomers in Quebec’s English-language communities.

“The focus of this Fund is on supporting organizations to find innovative and sustainable ways to serve the needs of our communities,” said QCGN Board Member James Hughes who sits on the Governance Committee of the Community Innovation Fund. “CIF will empower communities to develop new financial models and to diversify partnerships while deepening existing ones.”

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QCGN Discusses Concerns of English-speaking Community with Premier Couillard

Quebec City, November 8, 2016 – At a first-ever meeting with Premier Philippe Couillard at the National Assembly Tuesday afternoon representatives from the Quebec Community Groups Network had a frank and positive discussion about Quebec’s support to its English-speaking minority community.

Top of mind were reforms to education and health and social service networks that had major impacts on our institutions; the scarcity of English-speaking Quebecers in the provincial civil service; as well as the importance of retaining youth so they can bolster our communities, support our elders and make positive contributions to the future of Quebec.

Crédit photo: Claude Hurens

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Educational Institutions Must Tie Their Activities to the Vitality of the Communities They Serve

Montreal, September 21, 2016 – The Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) recognizes that schools are a cornerstone of the vitality of English-speaking communities and believes that Education Act should enhance the responsibility of our educational institutions to serve their communities.

In a brief submitted to the Committee on Culture and Education this week, the QCGN argues that school boards, schools, as well as adult and vocational centres must support the development and vitality of their respective communities. QCGN, which represents 48 groups across Quebec, insists that this responsibility should be clearly defined within the Education Act rather than being discretionary on the part of educational institutions.

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Read our Brief on Bill 105

Awards Recognize Exceptional Community Leaders

Montreal, September 9, 2016 – The Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) is pleased to announce that Montreal jazz legend Oliver Jones, former social worker and community volunteer Miriam Green and Townshippers’ Association president Gerald Cutting will be honoured with the eighth annual Sheila and Victor Goldbloom Distinguished Community Service Award in October. Community advocate Dafina Savic will receive the second annual Young Quebecers Leading the Way Award.

A week before he passed away on Aug. 16, the Goldbloom Awards jury also decided to extend a special honour to federal MP Mauril Bélanger for his lifelong commitment to linguistic duality and his groundbreaking work in empowering the Official Languages Act. Under Bélanger’s leadership, Canadian parliamentarians voted to amend Part VII of the act to oblige federal institutions to take “positive measures” to translate the government’s commitment to promoting linguistic duality and community development into action.

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Read the Montreal Gazette article

QCGN issues a statement following the passing of Mauril Bélanger

Montreal – August 17, 2016

The Quebec Community Groups Network today expressed its deep sadness at the passing of MP Mauril Bélanger. a true champion for language rights in Canada.

Bélanger was a beloved politician, winning by landslides in eight successive elections in Ottawa-Vanier. Appointed to Cabinet in 2003, not only did he follow the illustrious footsteps of former Senator Jean-Robert Gauthier in the same riding, but he carried on one of the Senator’s ambitious private member’s bill to amend the Official Languages Act. Under Mauril’s keen leadership, Canadian parliamentarians voted to enhance the Act for the first time since 1988 by amending Part VII in November 2005. As a result of this transformative change, Federal institutions are now obligated to take “positive measures” to translate the government’s commitment to promoting linguistic duality and community development into action. As the Commissioner of Official Languages Graham Fraser noted in this 2006-07 Annual Report at the time “this legislative change ushers in a new era for Official Languages in Canada.”

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QCGN Welcomes Canadian Heritage Minister and Bids Adieu to President and Commissioner

Montreal – June 3, 2016

Members of the Quebec Community Groups Network bid a fond farewell to President Dan Lamoureux, who stepped down after four years at the helm; and to Canada’s Commissioner of Official Languages, Graham Fraser, whose extended three-year mandate ends in the fall.

“For Quebec’s English-speaking community the best testament to Fraser’s time in office is the careful attention he always gave to English-speaking Quebec as a minority,” said former QCGN President Martin Murphy, who chaired the QCGN when Fraser was appointed almost a decade ago. “Commissioner Fraser understood us and he often dared to tell Canadians and majority Quebecers what they did not want to hear.”

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Tastes of Notre Home “FriendRaiser” Promotes Quebec Products

Montreal – June 1, 2016

The new charitable organization, which is raising funds for self-starting efforts by English-speaking Quebecers to promote their culture, entrepreneurialism and connections to Francophone Quebec, is launching the initiative at 6 p.m. Thursday, June 2, with a “FriendRaiser” at which nearly 20 Quebec restaurateurs and food producers will offer up their culinary specialties…

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QCGN Praises Commissioner Fraser for a Decade of Support to Quebec’s English-speaking Community

Montreal – May 19, 2016 – 

Governments should do more to protect the language rights of Canadians argued Graham Fraser, Canada’s Commissioner of Official Languages who delivered his tenth and final annual report on Thursday.

“Governments, including the government of Quebec, must find better ways to protect and support their linguistic minority communities,” agreed QCGN President Dan Lamoureux, noting that getting recognition for the needs and priorities of Quebec’s English-speaking minority is a challenge at all levels.

Read the full press release