Senate committee highlights key points in language reform document

Prior to the federal government tabling Bill C-32, an Act for the Substantive Equality of French and English and the Strengthening of the Official Languages Act, the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages studied the original proposed reform document.

Although they were unable to meet in the senate, the committee managed to hold two meetings to study the divisive document, working with federal minister responsible for official languages, Mélanie Joly, and the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN).

And while the QCGN acknowledged the importance of protecting French language minority communities in Canada, they also voiced concerns about the effects the reform document would have on the English language minority population in Quebec.

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Lack of anglo representation at Bill 96 hearings is ‘deplorable,’ groups say

Quebec anglophone groups say they will be dramatically under-represented at this fall’s Bill 96 hearings.

Out of 50 speakers invited to take part in the hearings for the government’s proposed overhaul of language legislation, Sept. 21 to Oct. 7, there are just three groups representing the anglophone community.
“We’re calling for broader participation in those hearings,” Jennings said. “I think it’s deplorable that the government has cherry-picked who it wants to hear from across Quebec.

Bill C-32 as seen by Quebec Anglophones

Bill C-32, which amends the Official Languages Act, has been welcomed by groups representing francophone communities outside Quebec. For Quebec Anglophones, the reception has been much more mixed, although most of their concerns are focused on the Quebec government’s Bill 96 (the reform of Bill 101).

Francopresse spoke – in French – with Marlene Jennings, President of the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN).

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Joly, Skeete address language “anxiety”

Federal minister of official languages Mélanie Joly and MNA Christopher Skeete, parliamentary assistant to Premier François Legault for relations with English-speaking Quebecers, are trying to reassure members of the English-speaking community concerned about recently tabled language legislation.
Skeete and Joly spoke on June 22 during a conference organized by the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) entitled “Our Place in Quebec and Canada.”
he QCGN has expressed objections to Bill 96, stating that the bill “creates a rights-free zone” in the name of the protection of French and places tough compliance obligations on small businesses and on some court litigants.

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QCGN Highly Critical of CAQ Government’s Bill 96

Panelists suggest Trudeau’s support is motivated by ‘political calculation’

After more than a half-century of rising and falling tensions between Quebecers over the use of English and French, concerns are rising among stakeholders that some rights and protections Quebec anglophones fought for since the introduction of Bill 101 more than 40 years ago are threatened by Quebec’s proposed Bill 96 and changes to Ottawa’s Official Languages Act.

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Joly and Skeete address Anglo Concerns at QCGN Conference

During a panel discussion moderated by former Alliance Quebec president and radio host Royal Orr at the Quebec Community Groups Network Zoom Conference themed “Our Place in Quebec and Canada,” former MNA and MP Clifford Lincoln says he believes the CAQ government’s long-term plan is to “make Quebec an independent state with French as the language and minorities are secondary. “They’ve been very cunning and clever in putting out this bill as a defense of a threatened French language, which is a total myth. But people believe this and are being brainwashed to a degree.”

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Robert Libman: This summer is no time for Quebec anglos to relax

This weekend marks the unofficial end of the political season. The National Assembly and House of Commons have broken for their summer recesses, and politics takes a deep breath for two months.

For Quebec’s anglophone community, however, this is no time to sit back and relax. In the fall, the community will be facing one of its greatest political challenges of the past 50 years as Bill 96, which injects steroids into Bill 101, will be going through parliamentary hearings and debate in the National Assembly. At the same time, there may be a federal election campaign. The Liberal government’s plan to enact changes to the Official Languages Act that dilute minority language rights of Quebec anglophones, would probably figure prominently.

The QCGN is gearing up for the public hearings through coalition-building and highlighting the impact of Bill 96 on individual freedoms.

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Anglo-Quebecers also reject Bill C-32, but on completely different grounds than the Bloc Québécois.

The asymmetrical approach of Bill C-32, which recognizes French as the more endangered of the country’s two official languages, is “a clear attack on the equality of Canada’s official languages,” according to the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN)

“Traditionally, the Official Languages Act gave life to constitutional official language rights. These rights largely define the relationship between Canadians and our federal government. The Act was founded on the principle that English and French are equal in law,” the QCGN said in a statement released earlier this week.

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Bill 96: English rights group decries draconian details

If the current draft of Bill 96 passes, language police can come into businesses without a warrant to search through phones, computers, and documents to ensure that communications are in French.

This was a main point of discussion during English language advocacy organization Quebec Community Groups Network’s conference on draft Bill 96 on June 21.

The network – QCGN – said the waves this bill will make in Quebec society and culture remain to be seen, but will be far-reaching. “Bill 96 calls for the most sweeping use of human rights overrides in the history of Quebec and Canada,” QCGN president Marlene Jennings said during the conference.

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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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