Federal Elections 2011: QCGN Seeks Commitments From Federal Parties

For Immediate Release

Federal Elections 2011: QCGN Seeks Commitments From Federal Parties

Monday, April 11, 2011 – As Quebecers prepare to head to the polls on May 2, the Quebec Community Groups Network is asking federal parties, their leaders and their candidates in Quebec to make a firm commitment to fulfill the Federal Government’s duties to Quebec’s English-speaking communities.

The Government of Canada has an obligation under the Official Languages Act to enhance the vitality of the English-speaking Community of Quebec, to support our communities and to assist in their development. It also has the duty to ensure that Canadians can enjoy their Constitutional language rights.

“As Federal leaders and Quebec candidates hit the campaign trail, the QCGN wants to ensure they understand their obligations and that they are willing to support and assist in the development of English-speaking communities with concrete measures,” said QCGN president Linda Leith. “English-speaking Quebecers are not concerned about the survival of their language, but the vitality of their communities,” she added. “Our communities are under stress in all major indicators of vitality including education, economic opportunity, youth retention, senior care, access to health and social services, poverty and renewal.”

Those concerns were corroborated by a recent report by the Senate Committee on Official Languages. The report states that Quebec’s English-speaking Community is one of two Official Language Minority Communities in Canada and that the Federal Government has an obligation under the Official Languages Act and the Constitution to enhance the vitality of our communities. The Senators, who spoke to more than two dozen English community groups and numerous government and outside experts over a span of almost two years, concluded the Federal Government is not adequately meeting its responsibilities to enhance the vitality of Quebec’s English-speaking minority.

Leith said this federal election is particularly important to Quebec’s English-speaking Communities because work has begun on the Government of Canada’s next five-year strategy that sets priorities for Official Minority Language Communities. “It is therefore imperative that our community knows that federal leaders are listening to our concerns,” she said, noting the QCGN wants to ensure that English-speaking communities get access to a complete range of federal policies and programs that take into account the specific needs and challenges.

Last week, the QCGN forwarded a questionnaire to the main parties asking them to state what their parties plan to do for our community, said Leith, noting the QCGN will publish the results of the questionnaire on its website and will follow through once the election is over.

PDF Version of the Press Release

The Quebec Community Groups Network (www.qcgn.ca) is a not-for-profit organization bringing together 36 English-language community organizations across Quebec. Its mission is to identify, explore and address strategic issues affecting the development and vitality of English-speaking Quebec and to encourage dialogue and collaboration among its member organizations, individuals, community groups, institutions and leaders.

For further information: Rita Legault, Director of Communications, rita.legault@qcgn.ca
Telephone: 514-868-9044, ext. 223, cellular: 514-912-6555