Anglos warm to new cultural funding

Organizations serving English-speaking Quebec say that a new national funding program for arts, culture and heritage has the potential to nurture a cultural renaissance among official language minority communities across the country. Full version…

Que.’s anglophones battling ‘brain drain’: Group

Canwest News Service, Mike De Souza

OTTAWA – English communities, institutions and services in Quebec have weakened over the past four decades, and are in need federal support to stop a brain drain, an umbrella group for the province’s anglophones said in Parliament on Monday.

”English-speaking Quebec faces the particular challenge of being a minority within a minority which, let’s face it, is not always recognized as such by key decision-makers and opinion-leaders,” said Robert Donnelly, president of the Quebec Community Groups Network at a Senate hearing on Canada’s official languages. ”The answer is not to divide the existing pie differently because the francophone minority is also in need of fair funding. We just need a bigger pie.” Read more…

QCGN appears before the Senate Standing Committee on Official Languages

If the Roadmap for Canada’s Linguistic Duality is to be truly effective for the English-speaking community of Quebec, investments here will require a high level of commitment by politicians and policy and program architects. That was among the messages the Quebec Community Groups Network delivered to Senators on March 23, 2009. QCGN President Robert Donnelly and Director General Sylvia Martin-Laforge appeared before the Senate Standing Committee on Official Languages in Ottawa just after Senators heard from the Honourable James Moore, Minister of Heritage and Official Languages.  Donnelly also noted that federal institutions must find innovative ways of supporting our community. “While priorities apply nationally, policies can be adapted in such a way as to implement them differently in Quebec,” he said, noting there is a real appetite for change in the English-speaking community of Quebec.

Read the QCGN’s Brief to the Senate Committee here.

New program to defend minority language rights

Canwest News Service, Mike De Souza

OTTAWA – The Conservative government has told Canada’s English- and French-speaking minority communities it will create a watchdog panel to defend their language rights when ti launches a new $1.5-million legal support program, Canwest News Service has learned.

The new program, which would replace a court challenges program for minority rights that was scrapped by the Stephen Harper government in 2006, is expected to be up and running by the end of 2009. Officials from the Department of Canadian Heritage provided some of the details during a recent meeting with board members of an umbrella group representing Quebec’s anglophone population.

”The news is looking pretty interesting,” said Robert Donnelly, president of the Quebec Community Groups Network. ”The announcement will be made, we’re told, in the next few days.” Read more…

Linguistic minority program still in limbo

Canwest News Service, Mike De Souza

OTTAWA – A $1.5 million program supporting English and French-speaking minority groups in Canada is still in limbo, nearly a year after it was introduced.

The Harper government announced the initiativelast June as part of a settelement over its decision to scrap a court challenges program for minority rights. But it has not yet announced details of the program or set up an expert panel that is required to manage it.

Representatives of anglophone and francophone groups said they are pleased the government has consulted them extensively in recent months to develop the structure of a new program, but they are growing impationt about the pace of progress.

”Obviously, anything that gets a priority could be moving faster than this,” said Robert Donnelly, president of the Quebec Community Groups Network, an umbrella organization that represents the province’s anglophone community. Read more…

Biliterate is the new bilingual

The McGill Daily, John Lapsley

‘McGill students’ French stagnates in all-anglo environment’

McGill students seeking to integrate themselves into Quebec culture should strive for biliteracy, not simply bilingualism, according to a recent report released by a Quebec community group that represents the anglo minority in Quebec.
The report, Creating Spaces, was commissioned by the Quebec Community Group Network, and called biliteracy “a powerful tool to tackle many multi-faceted barriers English-speakers face in participating fully in Quebec society.” It also declared full biliteracy for Quebec youth as one of its top goals. Bilingualism designates functionality in both languages without specifying the user’s full capacity in either, and biliteracy is best described as full spoken, reading, and written fluency in two languages. Read more…

Encouraging news about young-adult anglos

The Gazette, David Johnston

Another stereotype up-ended: Most young anglophones born and raised in Quebec do not want to head off to better-paid pastures elsewhere.
This news appeared in statistical form in survey results made public last month, and in personal form in a Gazette series which began yesterday.

Reporter David Johnston, talking to a number of young-adult anglos, found that most of them speak better French than their parents’ generation, and so find it easier to plan their lives here. That attitude is surely linked to 2006 census data, which said decades of decline in Quebec’s anglophone population finally stopped between 2001 and 2006, when the anglo population actually increased a bit.

It resonates, too, with what the anglo-organizations umbrella group called the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) is reporting. The QCGN’s survey of 400 English-speaking Quebecers between the ages of 16 and 29 found that a clear majority want to remain in Quebec, and to move past the old “two solitudes,” truly embrace bilingualism, and share their lives with franco-phone friends and work colleagues. In their different ways, many of the people our man Johnston interviewed said the same things. Read more…

Here to stay: the hip Anglo

The Gazette, David Johnston

Ask a couple of twentysomething anglophones like Ryan Bedic and Brian Abraham hot many of their friends have left Quebec and you are likely to draw a long pause. it isn’t that they need time to count up all of those who have left. It’s that they have trouble coming up with the name of anyone in their largely English-speaking entourage in Montreal who has left.

[…] ”This psycology, this sense of persistent losses, has been broken,” says [Jack] Jedwab. Anglo community leaders aren’t so sure. They’re not comfortable with the notion of a renaissance. Their worry, as Jedwab sees it, is that governments will respond to the census findings of growth by reducing financial support to all the different little anglophone community groups in Quebec.

”That’s the concern some people have,” Jedwab says. ”And so the good news, in a perverse sort of way, is really bad news. People are afraid that governments will say, ”Well, the anglophones are doing very well, thank you very much. What kind of support do they really need anymore”?

Robert Donnelly, president of the Quebec Community Groups Network, the main umbrella group for all the anglophone community organizations in Quebec, says the census results need to be interpreted with caution. Read more…

Brain drain, brain gain

The Gazette, David Johnston

Although the anglophone community of Quebec has started to grow again after four decades of decline, concerns about a brain drain continue.

The most recent study that looked at the education levels of “leavers” and “stayers” found a clear correlation between years of schooling and the likelihood of leaving Quebec.

The study, of 2001 census data, by researchers William Floch of the federal Heritage Department and sociologist Joanne Pocock of Carleton University, found two in every three Quebec-born anglos with master’s degrees were no longer living in Quebec in 2001. For Ph.D.s, the brain drain was equal to three in every four. Read more…

Economic downturn might keep young anglos here

The Gazette, David Johnston

Although political and linguistic uncertainty is receding in Quebec, a new era of economic uncertainty is beginning to take hold. The unfolding new economic downturn has brought a new dimension to the decision of young anglophones to stay or leave Quebec.

“This time around, the grass won’t be any greener on the other side of the hill,” says Carlos Leitao, chief economist at Laurentian Bank Securities in Montreal. Jobs likely won’t be any easier to find in the rest of Canada, he says. In fact, he says employment prospects could turn out to be better here. Read more…