As Canadians head to the polls Monday, English-speaking Quebecers are confronted with an unprecedented set of proposed violations of our fundamental rights and freedoms. Unfortunately, few candidates and none of the main political parties have pledged to defend our community from these recent attacks – or to safeguard Canada’s linguistic duality.
“If this bill goes through, he is implicated in the number of deaths that rise, because he is forewarned.”
Christopher Neal and Julie Barlow, a board member and president of the Quebec Writers’ Federation explain that they feel the need to speak out against Bill 96, even as allies of the French language: “While it claims to protect and promote French, [it] would do so at the expense of truth, rigour and respect for democratic values vital to writers of all languages.”
When it adopted the Charter of the French Language more than 40 years ago, the Quebec National Assembly embraced an enduring and essential commitment: to pursue the Charter’s objectives “in a spirit of fairness and open-mindedness, respectful of the institutions of the English-speaking community of Quebec, and respectful of the ethnic minorities, whose valuable contribution to the development of Quebec it readily acknowledges.”
Bill 96 fails to live up to this commitment. This proposed legislation represents a serious danger to the linguistic peace that Quebecers have worked so hard to achieve over the last half-century.
French speakers must stand up against the violation of civil rights that would occur if Bill 96 becomes law, says longtime politician Robert Libman.
Libman, who started the Equality Party in 1989 in response to anger among the English-speaking community to language laws enacted by Robert Bourassa, spoke during hearings being held by the Quebec Community Groups Network. He said he is alarmed that no one in the majority community appears to be speaking out against the proposed law, which does little to improve French and only restricts the rights of English speakers.
QCGN President Marlene Jennings delivers her opening remarks to kick off the first of the QCGN’s four days of Public Hearings on Bill 96, An Act respecting the French language, the official and common language of Quebec.
Start Date: As soon as possible
The QCGN is seeking a bilingual, dynamic, results-oriented individual with proven experience in project management, a background in community development to manage the Community Innovation Fund Project. This is a social financing initiative funded by Economic Social Development Canada (ESDC) that injects up to $1.1 million in leveraged funds on a 2:1 ratio of private-to-government funding over a 4-year period (2019-2023) into the English-speaking Community of Quebec (ESCQ). The QCGN, acting as an intermediary between the ESCQ and the ESDC has overarching responsibility for the stewardship of the Community Innovation Fund (CIF). The Project Coordinator will administer the project. Candidates must develop an understanding of the vision, mission, and mandate of QCGN and the ESDC, as the Project Coordinator’s activities and communications must be aligned with the QCGN’s and ESDC’s position on issues and policies.
The QCGN is set to host its own public hearings on the Legault government’s controversial Bill 96 this week, with testimony from lawyers, academics, former legislators and members of the Indigenous community.
The opening day on Thursday, from 10 a.m to 1 p.m., will hear from QCGN President Marlene Jennings, as well as former MNA and former MP Clifford Lincoln, and Anna Farrow of the English Speaking Catholic Council.
Virtual hearings will continue from Sept. 13-15 and will include other presenters, including human rights lawyer Julius Grey, family lawyer Anne-France Goldwater, the Dean of the McGill University Faculty of Law Robert Leckey, the Native Women’s Shelter of Montreal and the Canadian Council of Muslim Women.
The QCGN has been vehemently opposed to the new bill and said its hearings are being held “to send a clear message to the government that Bill 96 requires considerable revisions, and more thought needs to be given to safeguarding the fundamental rights of all Quebecers.”
The Quebec Community Groups Network is warning of a new threat to health and social services in English in the province.
Over the summer, the government quietly announced its intent to restructure the provincial access committee that for decades has been instrumental in monitoring where, when and how services are delivered to English-speakers across the province.
QCGN President Marlene Jennings talks about the QCGN’s plans to is hold its own hearings on Quebec’s Bill 96 in order to gather the opinions of English-speaking Quebecers and organizations who were unable to get an invitation by the parliamentary commission to the hearings at the National Assembly.
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