Vues et Voix – “Expression anglaise” Series: Segment #1

The Quebec Community Groups Network is working with Vues & Voix, formerly la Magnétothèque, on a series of reports on Quebec’s English-speaking community. The idea behind the weekly conversations with our community is to talk about our preoccupations, our successes, and our challenges. Listen to the first segment introducing Sylvia Martin-Laforge, Director General of the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN).

Quebec’s ‘Angloman’ wants to talk about language

The Globe and Mail, Antonia Maioni

This week in Quebec, Pauline Marois formally opened the fall legislative session with a firm tone on two priorities: the fight against corruption, and drafting a budget in the context of a difficult economic situation.

But, with a PQ government, identity and culture can’t be far behind. It’s also expected that before the year is out, a new Charter of the French Language will be unveiled, which will include major reforms to Bill 101 “while respecting the anglophone community” – although Ms. Marois seems to have backtracked on the more controversial of her electoral

In fact, something interesting is happening on the language front. The first signal was the appointment of Jean-François Lisée as minister with a hat trick of new responsibilities: international affairs, the Montreal region, and relations with anglophones.

Mr. Lisée, a former adviser to Jacques Parizeau and architect of Lucien Bouchard’s famous Centaur Theatre address to the English-speaking community in the wake of the 1995 referendum, is a well-known journalist and author. Shedding his former image as an intrepid “Tintin,” ready to solve any backroom problem, he emerged as a star candidate for the PQ this year with his heated rhetoric about the fate of the French language on the island of Montreal.

While Ms. Marois’s forays in la Francophonie, and the inquiry into corruption in Montreal’s construction industry have been keeping the multitasking minister busy, Mr. Lisée – with a new nickname of “Angloman” – is popping up all over the place in the anglophone community. He made a surprise visit to the English Montreal School Board – to the shock of its members, who rarely get such attention. He has sought out the Quebec Community Groups Network, which represents English-language minorities across the province. And, for the past few weeks, he has been holding informal, in camera sessions with English-speaking leaders from a wide swathe of sectors and institutions.

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Marois lacks transparency on Charter intentions says QCGN

Montreal, October 31, 2012 – Setting out the legislative program of her Parti Québécois government, Pauline Marois announced Wednesday that she intends to strengthen Bill 101, but failed to give any details about how she plans to do achieve that goal.

“Throughout her inaugural address Mme Marois gave plenty of details about wooden houses but she gave no level of detail surrounding an issue as important and as divisive as reinforcing the Charter of the French language,” said QCGN President Dan Lamoureux. “Our community needs to know what our government is going to propose.” 

Read the full version here…

Census 2011: Most English-speakers in Quebec homes in decades

The Gazette, Lynn Moore

MONTREAL – Slice them, dice them or drill down into Statistics Canada census figures and the bottom line remains encouraging for English-speaking Quebecers.

There are even “good news” numbers, say those who follow the evolving demographics of the province.

The 2011 census “shows continued growth in real terms” in Quebec’s English-speaking communities, said Jack Jedwab, executive director of the Association for Canadian Studies.


The stability in the number of English-speaking Quebecers, as shown in the census figures, may reflect “the social capital” of its community, said Sylvia Martin-Laforge, director of the Quebec Community Groups Network.

“Our institutions are still here to service the English community, so people feel that there is more to gain in staying than in leaving,” she said.

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QCGN Board member and school commissioner James Shea optimist about Census results on language

James Shea, School commissioner in the Outaouais and QCGN Board member is confident towards Census 2011 results on language. “New comers know that there are two official languages in Canada and want to learn them”.

See the clip here:

Census: Quebec’s English-speaking community remains stable

Montreal, October 24, 2012 – The number of English-speaking Quebecers has remained steady between the 2006 census and the numbers from the 2011 census which were released by Statistics Canada today. The census numbers also show an increase in bilingualism in both Quebec and Canada thanks in large part to the number of Quebecers able to carry on conversation in both of Canada’s official languages.

“These numbers are good news for the English-speaking community whose numbers have remained stable in both Montreal and in the regions,” said Dan Lamoureux, President of the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN), noting he is pleased with the increase in bilingualism which bodes well for communications between official language communities in Quebec and Canada. “This is a positive step towards greater social cohesion.”

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French-only is lonely in Quebec: census

Global News

Quebecers are adding new languages to their repertoires, leading to a decrease in the proportion of French-only households in the province, according to the latest language data released by Statistics Canada on Wednesday. 

A greater proportion of Quebecers are speaking more than one language at home – a nationwide trend that is sure to play into the province’s perennial, and often divisive, language debate. 

Five per cent of Quebecers reported speaking French and another language other than English at home in 2011, up from 3.8 per cent in 2006. 


An English-language organization in Quebec said francophones should welcome the language duality shown in the census. 

“That’s good news for Quebec’s French-speaking majority,” commented Sylvia Martin-Laforge, Director General of the QCGN, noting the numbers demonstrated that immigrants are integrating into the Francophone community by choosing French as a second language. 

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Embracing bilingualism will improve communications between minority and majority communities

Montreal, October 16, 2012 – More Quebecers and Canadians should be able to communicate with each other in both of the country’s official languages.  

“English-speaking Quebecers want to overcome linguistic barriers,” said Dan Lamoureux, President of the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN). “Bilingualism is a unifying force. The more interaction there is between our minority and majority communities in Quebec and Canada the better we will understand each other.”

Most French-speaking Canadians outside Quebec and English-speaking Quebecers can converse in the language of the majority community.  Encouraging majority language communities to communicate with their minorities would be a positive step that would lead to greater social cohesion, notes the QCGN.

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PQ under fire after minister calls English a ‘foreign language’

The Parti Quebecois’ attacks on the English language are a sign of intolerance and desperation, say critics.

Education Minister Marie Malavoy suggested cutting back on English classes for first-grade French students. She also floated the idea of scaling back intensive English courses taught to Grade 6 students in French schools.

But it was the words Malavoy used to describe the English language itself that caused the most outrage among critics.


English groups are also concerned that the PQ might have them in the crosshairs.

Sylvia Martin-Laforge, whose umbrella group represents 41 English associations in Quebec, says Malavoy’s rhetoric risks dividing English and French youth.

“What chance is there for bridge-building?” asked Martin-Laforge, director-general of the Quebec Community Groups Network.

“They’re just exacerbating the problem of two solitudes.”

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QCGN congratulates Bernard St-Laurent on winning the Award of Excellence from the Commissioner of Official Languages

MONTREAL, OCTOBER 11, 2012 – The Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) congratulates CBC Broadcaster Bernard St-Laurent on winning the Award of Excellence—Promotion of Linguistic Duality from the Commissioner of Official Languages.

“We think Bernie, as he is known to most of his friends and listeners, is the personification of the award which was created by the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages to honour individuals who promote linguistic duality or who contribute to the development of Canada’s official language minority communities,” said QCGN President Dan Lamoureux. “In his career as a journalist and broadcaster Bernard St-Laurent has accomplished both of these tasks with authority and style.”

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