The majority of French-speaking Quebecers support the right for those in the province’s English-speaking community to receive government services in English, according to a Léger poll commissioned by the QCGN. “As the National Assembly begins its work, we want all parties to understand, to be aware of what Quebecers feel about access to services for a minority linguistic population,” says QCGN Director-General Sylvia Martin-Laforge.
A recent poll by the QCGN indicates that 77 per cent of Quebec Francophones believe that the federal government should continue to safeguard the rights of the province’s English-speaking minority, while 87 per cent of Quebec Anglophones believe that Ottawa should do more. “This is not a divisive issue,” says QCGN Director General Sylvia Martin-Laforge in a statement: “In fact, there is a clear consensus uniting French- and English-speaking Quebecers.”
“Bill C-13 purports to modernize our Official Languages Act. But what the government of Canada is really proposing is to create a discriminatory language regime in Quebec that will not apply to the rest of Canada,” reads the QCGN’s open letter to federal Justice Minister David Lametti, calling for all mention of the Charter of the French Language to be removed from Bill C-13.
“New Official Languages Act must safeguard language rights of English-speaking Quebecers,” the QCGN states in an open letter in the Quebec Chronicle-Telegraph
“We urge parliamentarians to remove all references to the Charter of the French Language from Bill C-13 and not to throw our minority linguistic community overboard,” writes QCGN President Eva Ludvig.
“It’s not a zero-sum game,” says QCGN President Eva Ludvig about Bill C-13, which the QCGN warns will essentially abandon language rights for Quebec’s English-speaking minority in favour of bolstering the French language. Eva speaks at 9:24.
The QCGN calls for all mention of the Charter of the French Language to be removed from the federal Bill C-13. Former Senator and QCGN Board Member Joan Fraser says that the bill’s acknowledgment of the charter, recently amended by Bill 96, “would be explicitly declaring federal support for this use of the notwithstanding clause to trample on the minority language rights of English-speaking Quebecers.”
The QCGN is sounding the alarm on Bill C-13, the federal government’s planned update of the Official Languages Act, which is set to pass before the year’s end. “We feel like we’re being abandoned by the federal government who we look to as our champion,” says QCGN President Eva Ludvig.
“Undermining official languages policy by protecting one linguistic minority in Canada and abandoning the linguistic minority in Quebec is shameful,” writes columnist Robert Libman, commenting on Bill C-13. He adds: “The Quebec Community Groups Network rightly identifies the proposed amendments as a threat to the language rights of the English-speaking minority and an unprecedented constitutional retreat by the government of Canada.”
English-language school boards must remain exempted from Bill 21, the Quebec Court of Appeal hears. “It is not up to the majority to dictate the definition of the culture of the minority,” says veteran human rights lawyer Julius Grey, who is representing the QCGN.