Hanes: QCGN conference reveals game plan for opposing Bill 96

Quebec anglophones have always walked a tightrope when it comes to asserting our rights.

This is the conundrum Quebec’s English-speaking community is up against in what may be the fight of our lives — even after 50 long years of language wars.

The two bills — Bill 96 and Bill C-32 — were the subjects of a virtual conference Tuesday titled Our Place in Quebec and Canada. Organized by the Quebec Community Groups Network, the main umbrella group representing anglophones in the province, the event revealed the game plan for opposing Bill 96, which was introduced in May but won’t be the subject of consultations until fall.

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What will new language bills mean for English-speaking Quebecers? Advocacy groups aims to find out

An English-rights advocacy group is looking into what Quebec’s Bill 96 and Ottawa’s Bill C-32 will mean for the province’s English-speaking community.

The Quebec Community Groups Network hosted a conference Tuesday morning with participants from both Ottawa and Quebec taking part.

Federal Official Languages Minister Melanie Joly defended Bill C-32, which includes the strengthening of the Official Languages Act.

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Les Anglo-Québécois entendent lutter contre la loi 96

It is with the rhetoric and strategy of a beleaguered minority that Quebec’s English-speaking community intends to fight the CAQ government’s Bill 96, which it considers to be an infringement of its rights in several respects.

Under the umbrella of the Quebec Community Groups Network, some 150 people attended a conference on the subject on Monday evening and Tuesday morning. On Tuesday, federal Minister responsible for Official Languages Mélanie Joly and Parliamentary Assistant to Premier François Legault for relations with English-speaking Quebecers Christopher Skeete gave speeches, and participants heard preliminary survey results and panel discussions on the subject.

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Official Languages Act reform draws mixed reviews

Earlier this week the Government of Canada introduced its proposed update of the Official Languages Act, Bill C-32. If passed, the bill will result in the first changes made to the act since 1988, but in the days since its introduction, the proposed legislation has already drawn criticism from a number of groups including the Quebec Community Groups Network and its member organization, Townshippers’ Association.

Bill C-32 was introduced on Tuesday by Melanie Joly, Canada’s Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages as a clear demonstration of the Federal Government’s commitment to five specific language communities: French speakers outside Quebec, English speakers inside Quebec, French speakers in Quebec, English speakers outside Quebec, and Indigenous language communities.

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QCGN says Bill 96 creates ‘rights-free zone’

The Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) has warned that if Bill 96 becomes law, it has the potential to create a “rights-free zone” in the province in the name of the protection of the use of French.
QCGN president Marlene Jennings made the statement during a bilingual virtual press conference on June 10. The QCGN has repeatedly raised concerns about the legislation since it was tabled in mid-May.

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Lametti taking a ‘wait and see’ approach to Bill 96

Asked about the issues highlighted last week by the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) regarding the province’s proposed language reform, Bill 96, Canada’s Minister of Justice, David Lametti, shared that he plans to continue to study the bill carefully but generally downplayed worries.

“We’ll continue to watch the situation, but we’re comfortable to let the process move forward,” Lametti said, explaining that although he does have concerns about the way the bill makes use of the notwithstanding clause, he also considers the proposed legislation to be in a very early stage at this point.

“It’s early days. The bill hasn’t even been tabled in the National Assembly,” he observed. “We’ll see where the final wording of it lands.”

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Allison Hanes: For Legault, minority Quebecers are notwithstanding

Since winning power in 2018, Premier François Legault has become a much savvier leader, dialling down his divisive rhetoric from a few years back.

But that doesn’t mean he’s changed his stripes.

Now that he’s in charge, Legault is pretty much doing all the things he threatened to do when he was a raging populist, he’s just presenting it in a much more statesmanlike manner.

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Montrealers honoured for work preserving sacred Irish burial ground

For over a decade, a dedicated team of volunteers has fought tirelessly to preserve the burial ground of 6,000 Irish migrants who perished after their arrival in the 1800s.

At the time, 70,000 Irish refugees arrived in Montreal after leaving their homeland during the potato famine. Many died of typhus either on the boats or once they arrived.

The group’s hard work was recognized with the Richard Evans Award from the Quebec Anglophone Heritage Network.

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English-rights group QCGN sounds the alarm over Quebec’s Bill 96

The Quebec Community Groups Network is seriously concerned about the impact of Bill 96 on Quebec’s English-speaking community and minorities in general. “We need to ask over and over and over: Why does protecting the French language require the blanket suspension of human rights? asks QCGN President Marlene Jennings.

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Quebec’s new language bill creates ‘charter-free zone,’ English rights group warns

The Quebec Community Groups Network says Bill 96 is wide-ranging, complex and represents a significant overhaul of Quebec’s legal order.

QCGN head Marlene Jennings told reporters today the bill seeks to modify 24 provincial statutes as well as the Constitution Act of 1867.

Jennings says the government’s pre-emptive use of the notwithstanding clause to shield the bill from certain constitutional challenges creates a “charter-free zone” involving a wide array of interactions between citizens and the province.

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