The Action Plan for Official Languages will set aside money to support the English-speaking community in Quebec

The ways new federally supplied funding under the Action Plan for Official Languages will ultimately be allocated, the process of nailing down specific purposes and objectives, is likely to be clarified over the next several months, Eva Ludvig, president of the Quebec Community Groups Network, tells Sabrina Marandola on the CBC Radio afternoon show Let’s Go.

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Official Languages: The money for communities must be put towards francization, says Roberge

The federal Action Plan funds destined to assist Anglophones in Quebec should be utilized for French-language instruction of the English-speaking community, said Quebec’s minister of the French language, Jean-François Roberge, to reporters in a scrum this morning.

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Federal Official Languages Plan: Roberge calls for money for English-speaking communities to be used for francization

While the approach adopted by Jean-François Roberge, Quebec minister for the French language, is disappointing, it is quite normal that some Action Plan funding is already used and will continue to be used to help francize Quebec Anglophones, Eva Ludvig, QCGN president, explains to TVA Nouvelles: “We need help. We have young people who are unemployed and who must be helped to learn French to enter the labour market.” 

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Anglo Mps from Quebec not in Attendance for Official Languages Announcement

MPs representing Quebec ridings with a significant English-speaking population have raised objections to the Trudeau government’s Bill C-13, updating the Official Languages Act (OLA). None — other than Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — attended yesterday morning’s unveiling of the new Action Plan for Official Languages. MP Anthony Housefather earlier suggested he could not vote for the bill as written. Marc Garneau recently quit as MP and subsequently specified that defending the rights of Quebec Anglophones was “a hill to die on.” The Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) has repeatedly expressed concerns that Quebec’s Bill 96, embedded within the new federal OLA, and Quebec’s Bill 21 ignore fundamental rights and minority protections. Both Quebec bills include the pre-emptive use of twin notwithstanding clauses in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. This renders it particularly difficult to challenge these laws in court.

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Roughly $280M of Federal Languages Action Plan for English Quebecers

“There are specific programs in here for English-speaking Quebec, and there is work to be done by our community sectors to take full advantage of the opportunities presented to us,” says Sylvia Martin-Laforge, QCGN director general. QCGN President Eva Ludvig notes that additional Action Plan funds pledged by Ottawa have been earmarked “for economic development, employment in particular, and arts, culture and the learning of French as a second language for the English-speaking community in Quebec,” However, she warns, implementation is potentially thorny: “These dollars go through the provincial government and we want to be sure that there’s an agreement” between Quebec and Ottawa “to ensure that these monies meet the needs of the English-speaking community, that they are channelled to the community.”

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Quebec’s English-speaking Minority Community to get Funding from Ottawa

The minority English-speaking community in Quebec will get a portion of that budget to ensure its vitality.“We have not always received our fair share” of federal funding “and it’s starting to look different for the English-speaking community,” says Sylvia Martin-Laforge, director general of the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN), following the Action Plan announcement. Funding must be awarded through the Quebec government, she notes, and thus the challenge “will be how will we get the investment in the hands of the community.”

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Quebec’s English-Speaking Community Leaders Blast Bill C-13 Action Plan

Announcing details of the new federal Action Plan for Official Languages, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau singles out French speakers as the only minority group in danger in Canada. “We remain concerned that the French-language charter (of Quebec) is included” in the dramatically reformulated Official Languages Act, Bill C-13, which currently incorporates Quebec’s Bill 96 and is expected to be adopted in the House of Commons, responds Eva Ludvig, president of the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN). Ludvig also expresses concern that under the Action Plan, Ottawa must negotiate with Quebec to govern allocation of the fresh federal funding: “Historically, this has not worked out well for the English-speaking community.”

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Federal budget boosts minority language funding, but raises concerns

Despite a planned increase in funds directed to official language minority communities from the federal government, there is no guarantee that this will benefit Quebec’s English-speaking community, says QCGN Director General Sylvia Martin-Laforge. “How much English-speaking Quebecers will benefit from the official language investments in this budget is an open question. We hope to see robust measures to support our community when the Action Plan is released in April.”

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English groups ‘apprehensive’ as Ottawa, Quebec reach agreement on use of French in federally regulated businesses

The QCGN is “apprehensive” about the agreement between the federal and Quebec governments which implements aspects of the Charter of the French Language within Bill C-13, says QCGN President Eva Ludvig. “At the risk of sounding cynical, the provincial government has not been a champion for the English-speaking community.”

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CBC Montreal News March 30, 2023

QCGN Director General Sylvia Martin-Laforge joins CBC Montreal’s Sudha Krishnan to discuss Bill 15, Quebec’s proposed reform of the health system, and the concerns many in the English-speaking community have about these proposed reforms (Interview begins at 18:10).

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