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.

Linguistic Rights Support Program replaces Court Challenges Program

Sarah Rogers, Special to the Record (Sherbrooke)

A new support program has taken root to help promote and develop Canada’s French- and English-speaking minority communities.  With two official language groups sprinkled across the country, the newly-launched Language Rights Support Program aims to help those groups participate in every aspect of life in Canada – in their mother tongue.  Introduced in 2008, the Language Rights Support Program (LRSP) came on the heels of its predecessor, the former Court Challenges Program. When the latter was cancelled in 2006, the announcement was met with dissent from official language minorities across the country.  Full version…

The value of schools: Quebec English schools are key to protecting anglo culture and heritage

Robert Donnelly, QCGN President

Over the past few decades, Quebec’s English-speaking community has been under demographic stress. Signs of this are most apparent in primary and secondary education, where declining enrolment is attributed to an aging population, low birth-rates and a significant number of parents choosing to send their children to the French system. A full 21.4 per cent of children enrolled in French schools have English as their mother tongue and the vast majority of them could be attending English schools. Because resource allocation is based on enrolment, the English-school population is declining and schools are closing. What of the future? Where will parents send their children to school? How will our communities attract new families? Read more…


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.

PQ report suggests Montreal becoming too English

The Canadian Press

An attempt by the Parti Quebecois to raise the alarm about a dramatic increase in English speakers in Quebec was met with skepticism Wednesday amid concerns the party was greasing statistics to suit its political ends.  Pierre Curzi, a PQ member of the legislature, began leaking copies earlier this week of a report compiled by his office that argues English is becoming more appealing than French in the Montreal area.  Full version…

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

The Gaspe Spec

NEW CARLISLE – 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 conventionnally 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, who noted it is challenging to design projects that are structured enough for widespread delivery and efficient implementation, but flexible enough to be relevant across different communities with their unique needs. Read more…