QCGN Response to House Leaders – October 9, 2020

Dear House Leaders:

On October 1, 2020, Government House Leader Simon Jolin-Barrette introduced a motion in the National Assembly regarding the exclusive use of French by members of the legislature in their addresses to members of the press gallery, unless dealing with issues of safety and public health. The motion was supported by all parties. English-speaking Quebecers are disappointed at this unnecessary motion, which is hurtful and divisive. Read more

 

Substantive Overhaul for Official Languages Act is Overdue

The annual report issued today by the Commissioner of Official Languages underscores the breadth and depth of the preparatory work contributed to modernizing the Official Languages Act by linguistic minority communities across Canada. “The time for talk and promises is past; a substantive overhaul is overdue,” said Geoffrey Chambers, president of the Quebec Community Groups Network.

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Government Must Not Territorialize the Equality of Canada’s official Languages

The Speech from the Throne yesterday reiterates a core Canadian value – in the spirit of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism, and the Official Languages Act.

The Throne Speech emphasizes that our two official languages are woven into the fabric of our country and reaffirms the federal government’s duty to defend the language rights of Official Language Minority Communities (OLMCs), both English and French, wherever they live in this country. To quote the Charter, “English and French are the official languages of Canada and have equality of status and equal rights and privileges as to their use in all institutions of the Parliament and Government of Canada.”

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Opinion: A reprieve for English school boards, but battle continues

The Quebec Community Groups Network is heartened by an encouraging decision last week from the Court of Appeal in our community’s fight against the imposition of Bill 40.

In August, the Quebec English School Boards Association (QESBA) had obtained an injunction from Superior Court suspending application of Bill 40 for English boards until the merits of the case could be argued. The Court of Appeal has now maintained that stay. Read more.

Vindicated by Court of Appeal Victory, QCGN Recommends Quebec Government Renounce Upheaval of English School Boards

Montreal, September 18, 2020 – The Quebec Community Groups Network is heartened that the province’s highest court upheld a Superior Court stay of proceedings placing the provincial government’s controversial education reform on ice pending a court ruling on the constitutionality of the transformation. The QCGN strongly recommends the Legault government forgo an appeal of the Court of Appeal’s robust ruling, and that it abandons its unworkable plan to strip the English-speaking minority community of its right to manage its school boards. Read more

Quebec Community Groups Network: It’s time to update the Official Languages Act

The upcoming Throne Speech provides Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with a golden opportunity to make good on a longstanding pledge – and take the final steps needed to modernize the Official Languages Act.

Time and circumstances have converged. As Parliament resumes later this month, consensus on how to update the Act has already been achieved.

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Time for PM Trudeau to deliver on his pledge to modernize Official Languages Act

As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau prepares his third Throne Speech and a return to Parliament, he has a golden opportunity to make good on his longstanding pledge to modernize the Official Languages Act and fulfill his vision of linguistic duality and strong official language minority communities.

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QCGN supports APPELE-Québec GoFundMe Campaign to Support Legal Challenge Against Bill 40

Our community has the Constitutional right to manage and control our schools. The Coalition Avenir Québec government has taken this right away from our English-speaking community – and together we must fight to take back this fundamental right. All nine of our English school boards along with the Quebec English School Boards Association have launched a legal challenge to quash Bill 40. This controversial legislation abolishes our democratically elected school boards and transforms them into government-controlled service centres. Our legal action declares that this upheaval of our education system contravenes our linguistic minority community’s right to manage and control our school system. This foundational right, under Section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, guarantees education in one of Canada’s two official languages. It is an essential element of linguistic duality, a cornerstone of our national identity. It took French parents in British Columbia five years to win another case that solidified minority-language education rights. Just like our West Coast counterparts, we are in this for the long haul. This is bound to be a long and costly fight. Please consider making a contribution to the Go Fund Me campaign to support this legal action to defend the Constitutional rights of Quebec’s English-speaking community and advance the minority-language rights of all Canadians. Any donation, big or small, is appreciated – but most importantly a large number of donors will unequivocally demonstrate to our governments that we believe in our rights and we will fight to protect them. Please contribute what you can and help us get the news out by sharing this appeal extensively throughout your networks.

https://ca.gofundme.com/f/quebec-bill-40-court-challenge

Opinion: Time for CAQ government to stop seeing anglos as a problem

By Geoffrey Chambers

The focus of most Quebecers remains the pandemic, a safe return of our children to school and the reopening of our economy. However, our government appears to have shifted its focus to language. And as it does so, it is once again minimizing the importance of the contributions to this province by Quebec’s English-speaking community.

Premier François Legault and his government recently asserted there is too much “English” in the hiring practices of Quebec businesses and municipalities. These comments were based on a two-year-old study. While French-language skills are essential, knowledge of English is an asset. Yet Legault repeatedly frames this as a problem.

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Opinion: Time for CAQ government to stop seeing anglos as a problem

Rather than picking fights with our community, we urge the Legault government to alter course, work with us, and cease defining us as a problem, writes QCGN President Geoffrey Chambers in this opinion piece for The Gazette. Chambers argues that today’s English-speaking community is invested in Quebec. We have encouraged and enabled our children to develop French-language skills. We accept and celebrate the predominance of French as the linguistic and cultural norm here. We don’t see ourselves, our language, or our culture as something bad that must be suppressed. Our community’s bilingualism is an asset to be celebrated — as multilingualism is applauded in any European country. Read more