Though many are alarmed by the decline of the proportion of French-speakers in Canada reported in yesterday’s analysis by Statistics Canada, some in Quebec’s English-speaking community are pleased to see the proportion of Anglophones in Quebec on the rise. Between 2016 and 2021, the proportion of English-speaking Quebecers rose from 12 to 13 per cent. “For the English-speaking community, it’s good news,” says Eva Ludvig, interim president of the QCGN: “It’s reassuring: We are here, we are here to stay.”
“It really is a celebration,” says QCGN interim president Eva Ludvig on the rise in the population of English-speaking Quebecers reported in an analysis by Statistics Canada, a sign of recovery from the exodus of the 1970s and 80s.
It is more important than ever before for English-speaking Quebecers to get out and vote in the upcoming provincial election, says Eva Ludvig, interim president of the QCGN. Though some in the English-speaking community may be feeling discouraged after four years of “assault” from the Coalition Avenir Québec government, Ludvig continues: “There are about 40 ridings where there are a significant portion of English speakers and they do make a difference.”
Quebec Superior Court Justice Chantal Corriveau ordered on Friday that two articles in Bill 96 which require all legal documents of corporations be translated into French be temporarily suspended. Eva Ludvig, interim president of the QCGN, says that this change is welcomed: “Since the tabling of Bill 96, we have always said that elements contravened the Constitution of Canada, which guarantees access to justice in both official languages.”
Sheila Goldbloom, a prominent figure within Quebec’s English-speaking community, passed away at age 96. QCGN Director General Sylvia Martin-Laforge comments: “Sheila embodied civility; she was a person of integrity and honour and a particularly effective advocate. She motivated us to care more, to do more, to make a real difference in the lives [of] all English-speaking Quebecers.”
In an op-ed for the Montreal Gazette, QCGN President Eva Ludvig and Director General Sylvia Martin-Laforge write that Bill C-13, the modernization of the Official Languages Act, offers “an asymmetrical approach in law toward official languages that places the future of our community at considerable risk.”
“A significant portion of Quebec’s labour force suffers from what amounts to a skills gap,” writes Globe and Mail columnist David Parkinson: “The skill in question is French language proficiency. And Bill 96 threatens to widen that gap.” Parkinson adds that anglophone-rights advocates in the province, including the QCGN, are “unsurprisingly, beside themselves” when it comes to Bill 96.
Under Bill 96, politicians have promised “historic Anglos” they will keep their rights. But many wonder how that will work.
“It’s limiting, it’s insulting,” said Eva Ludvig, the QCGN acting president. “It denies the history, the experience, the contribution of English speakers in Quebec.”
The CRTC says the CBC can keep its controversial branded content advertising, ruling that it “remains pertinent” for the federally funded organization’s budget despite serious concerns expressed by media unions, advocacy groups and hundreds of its own journalists.
The Quebec Community Groups Network pleaded that Tandem “could have an impact on the journalistic independence and integrity of the CBC and ultimately, that the initiative could undermine the credibility of the public broadcaster.”
It’s no secret that Bill 96, Quebec’s new French-language law, has created an abundance of turmoil in the province — have it be among English-rights groups, health care professionals, educational experts and many others.
Eva Ludvig, Quebec Community Groups Network interim president, stresses all Quebecers recognize and agree that the French language needs to be protected — it just needs to be done in a positive way “rather than through punishment and restriction” via public policy.