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…

Pearson hears parents out

The Chronicle, Raffy Boudjikanian

About sixty parents showed up a lively evening discussion at Macdonald High School focusing on Lester B. Pearson school board’s French-language, special needs and magnet school progams. (Chronicle, Éric Carrière) Teaching French at English schools, tending to children with special needs and the magnet school program were the three main topics discussed by a group of about 60 parents and Lester B. Pearson officials at a “town hall”-style meeting held yesterday night at Ste. Anne de Bellevue’s Macdonald High School. “It’s quite difficult to meet every child’s needs,” said Karen Jones, a Grade 7-8 teacher at Macdonald High School, adding it is “ridiculous” to expect teachers and parents to be able to do so, as she garnered applause from several sitting in the audience around her. Of the three issues discussed during the evening, opinions seemed to differ most sharply on the school board’s inclusion policy for children with special needs.

[…] However, one parent who did not reveal his name when speaking pointed to a recent Quebec Community Groups Network study that revealed many anglophone youth in the province want to learn more French. The network, a non-profit organization that advocates English minority rights across the province, surveyed 400 English-speaking youth in different anglophone communities and found they were looking to learn more French, he said. Read more…

Anglo youth in QC insecure about French skills, employment: report

The Chronicle-Telegraph, Scott French

Anglophone youth in Quebec are insecure about their French language skills, a new report by the Quebec Community Groups Network indicates. According to a Quebec City committee member who helped develop the report, this worry translates into a lack of confidence among young Anglos seeking employment in the region.

“A lot of anglophones are extraordinarily qualified, even over-qualified but they don’t feel like their French is sufficient to get a job in Quebec City,” Denise Caughey said. Read more…

Les jeunes anglos veulent améliorer leur français

La Presse, Martin Croteau

Les jeunes anglophones se sentent exclus de la société québécoise, révèle un rapport financé par le gouvernement fédéral. Pour remédier à la situation, ils réclament de meilleurs cours de français ainsi qu’un programme d’échange qui leur permettra de s’immerger dans la culture francophone.

Du million d’anglophones qui vivent au Québec, 80% habitent dans la grande région de Montréal. Si la place de l’anglais dans la métropole soulève d’âpres débats, c’est une tout autre affaire en région. Les jeunes anglophones quittent l’Estrie, la Côte-Nord, la Gaspésie par centaines pour étudier en ville. Et rares sont ceux qui retournent à la maison, déplorent les groupes communautaires.

Avec une aide financière d’Ottawa, le Quebec Community Groups Networks (QCGN), qui regroupe une trentaine d’organisations de langue anglaise, a réuni en septembre 300 jeunes à Montréal. Il souhaitait ainsi trouver une solution à l’exode des jeunes. Read more…

Youth worry about the quality of their French: Written vs. oral. Report recommends student exchanges

The Gazette, David Johnston

Young anglophones in Quebec are worried their French isn’t good enough – and community leaders aren’t sure whether this is good news or bad news.
A study made public yesterday found considerable insecurity among anglophones ages 16 to 29 over the quality of their French-language skills.

Community leaders say more study will be needed to find out whether this means French-immersion programs are failing, or whether young anglos, who generally speak better French than their parents, are holding themselves to a higher standard.

“You look at the glass and you wonder whether it’s half-full or half-empty,” said Brent Platt, co-chairman of the youth wing of the Quebec Community Groups Network, the umbrella organization for anglophone community groups in Quebec. Read more…