English-rights group says Legault is wrong about Bill 101 and hospitals

An English rights group says Quebec Premier François Legault’s interpretation of how Bill 101 applies to hospitals is wrong and is calling for an immediate meeting with the premier.

On Thursday, Legault defended a regional health authority’s removal of English words from signs at the hospital in Lachute, approximately 60 kilometres northwest of Montreal.

The hospital began covering up English words in December after the Office québécois de la langue française said the hospital was not following Quebec’s language laws. The hospital offers services in English and French.

“I think that we have to follow the law, and they weren’t respecting the law. Bill 101 has to be respected. That’s what we’ll do,” Legault said. “As you know, anglophones will keep on having the right to have services in education and health care, so I don’t see the importance of having bilingual signs.”

But the Quebec Community Group’s Network, which represents 53 English-language community organizations, disagrees.

“It’s senseless to argue that you have access to health and social services in English if you do not know where the services are located,” Geoffrey Chambers, the president of the QCGN said in a release. “Not to have clear signage is an obstacle to services. If you cannot find the service, it is not available to you.”

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CAQ MNA promises action on Lachute hospital signage, walks back comments 17 hours later

Premier François Legault’s point man on relations with English-speaking Quebecers appears to have broken rank on Thursday night, saying he’s working privately to resolve a language dispute at the Lachute hospital.

MNA Christopher Skeete wrote on Twitter that he has been in contact with the health and culture ministers offices and suggested those concerned should “stay tuned.”

“The (premier) is correct that we must respect our laws, but healthcare is a different ball game,” Skeete said.

“Especially in areas like Lachute where we have a 17 per cent English-speaking population.”

Quebec’s language watchdog ordered the hospital last month to remove the English signs that say “emergency” and “parking” around the hospital, prompting outcry from local mayors.

Earlier Thursday, Legault said he would not protect the English signs, explaining that “Bill 101 must be protected.”

 

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Legault defends removal of bilingual signs in Lachute hospital

Quebec Premier François Legault is defending an order forcing a hospital in Lachute to remove its bilingual signs.

It comes after the Office quebecois de la langue francaise, which enforces the province’s French language charter, recently contacted the hospital and told it take down English signs inside and outside the facility.

Asked about the decision Thursday in Montreal, Legault said the change is necessary.

“We have to follow the law and they didn’t. They weren’t respecting the law. Bill 101 has to be respected that’s what we’ll do,” he said. “As you know, Anglophones will keep on having the right to have services in education in health care. I don’t see the importance of having bilingual signs.”

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QCGN Begs to Differ on Premier’s Interpretation of English Signage in Hospitals

Montreal January 10, 2019 – Premier François Legault’s statement that English-speaking Quebecers have the right to services in their language but not to English signs is wrong. Bill 101 in no way prohibits the use of English on hospital signs as they relate to health and safety, maintains Geoffrey Chambers, President of the Quebec Community Groups Network.

“It’s senseless to argue that you have access to health and social services in English if you do not know where the services are located,” Chambers commented. “Not to have clear signage is an obstacle to services. If you cannot find the service, it is not available to you.”

In a press release issued only in French, the regional health authority in Lachute, Le Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux (CISSS) des Laurentides, announced in December that it was removing English from all signs at the local hospital to be conform with Quebec’s Charter of the French Language. This decision followed an intervention by the Office québecois de la langue française.

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Quebec premier backs order telling Lachute hospital to ditch English signs

After the Office québécois de la langue française mandated a Lachute hospital remove its English-language signage, Quebec Premier François Legault says he doesn’t see the importance of bilingual signage.

“They weren’t respecting the law. Bill 101 has to be respected; that’s what we will do,” Legault told reporters.

“Anglophones will keep on having the right to have services in education, in healthcare… so I don’t see the importance of having bilingual signs.”

The Quebec Community Groups Network disagrees with Legault’s stance.

“It’s a clear violation of the law and his interpretation is mistaken,” QCGN president Geoffrey Chambers reacted.

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Anglo advocates vexed by decision to remove English from Lachute hospital signs

Critics are panning the decision to remove English from signage at the Lachute hospital, calling the move concerning and upsetting.

The regional health authority, the CISSS-des-Laurentides, announced last month that it was removing the signage to be in line with Quebec’s language law, Bill 101.

CBC News first reported that nine Lachute-area mayors are opposing the decision, calling it “deeply disappointing.”

The Liberal critic for relations with English-speaking Quebecers, Greg Kelley, says he understands why people in the lower Laurentians are upset.

“We heard feedback right away from that community, people calling our riding office, flagging things on social media,” said Kelley. “They’re extremely upset and concerned.”

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‘Emergency’ sign must go, language watchdog tells Quebec hospital

MONTREAL — An edict from Quebec’s language watchdog that a hospital northwest of Montreal must remove English from its bilingual signage has angered municipal officials.

The Office quebecois de la langue francaise, which enforces the province’s French language charter, recently contacted the hospital in Lachute, Que. and told it take down English signs inside and outside the facility.

Scott Pearce, the mayor of nearby Gore, said the language watchdog is needlessly stirring up trouble in a community that prides itself on not having any language strife.

“A lot of Quebec could learn from our region. We don’t have these language debates. We get along great. We love each other, we do things together, we work together,” Pearce said Wednesday. “Maybe that problem exists elsewhere, but it doesn’t exist here, so don’t bring your problems here is how we look at it.”

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James Shea remembered as ‘fervent advocate’ for education, language rights

James Shea of Aylmer, an educator and minority language rights advocate, died on Saturday. He was 76.

Chairman of the Western Quebec School Board and retired superintendent of the Ottawa Catholic School Board, Shea was also the former president of the Quebec Communities Group Network (QCGN) and immediate past president of the Regional Association of West Quebecers.

In a communiqué issued Monday, current QCGN president Geoffrey Chambers described Shea as “a fervent advocate for Quebec’s English-speaking community and an impassioned proponent of bilingualism,” adding he was “serving at the helm when QCGN successfully advocated for increased support from the federal government’s Official Languages strategy as well as recognition from the provincial government that fostered creation of a Secretariat for Relations with English-speaking Quebecers.”

Shea is survived by his wife, Theresa, and daughters Ann, Karen, Cathy and Lisa.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Western Quebec School Board for the James Shea Memorial Fund, in support of disadvantaged students. Donations can be mailed to WQSB at 15, rue Katimavik, Gatineau, QC, J9J 0E9.

Read the article on montrealgazette.com

James Shea, advocate for Quebec’s English-speaking community, dies

James Shea, a pioneering advocate for Quebec’s English-speaking community and former president of the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN), has died at 76.

The Aylmer, Que., native was a former teacher, school principal and school board administrator.

“No words can express the sadness of Mr. Shea’s death. Our school board, as well as the entire English community in Quebec, has lost a visionary, a leader like no other and a remarkable person who was appreciated, respected and valued by everybody who knew him,” said Mike Dubeau, director general of the Western Quebec School Board (WQSB).

“Jim was a fervent advocate for Quebec’s English-speaking community and an impassioned proponent of bilingualism,” said QCGN President Geoffrey Chambers.

Chambers notes that Shea was instrumental in helping QCGN successfully advocate for increased language support from the federal government as well as in encouraging the Quebec government to create a secretariat to improve relations with English-speaking Quebecers.

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QCGN mourns loss of James Shea, educator and advocate for linguistic duality 

Montreal, December 30, 2018 – The Quebec Community Groups Network was profoundly saddened to learn of the death this weekend of former QCGN President James Shea. Beloved throughout our Network, Jim was also the immediate past president of the Regional Association of West Quebecers.

“Jim was a fervent advocate for Quebec’s English-speaking community and an impassioned proponent of bilingualism,” said QCGN President Geoffrey Chambers. Jim led our Network during momentous times. Notably, he was serving at the helm when QCGN successfully advocated for increased support from the federal government’s Official Languages strategy as well as recognition from the provincial government that fostered creation of a Secretariat for Relations with English-speaking Quebecers.

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