Quebec premier backs order telling Lachute hospital to ditch English signs

After the Office québécois de la langue française mandated a Lachute hospital remove its English-language signage, Quebec Premier François Legault says he doesn’t see the importance of bilingual signage.

“They weren’t respecting the law. Bill 101 has to be respected; that’s what we will do,” Legault told reporters.

“Anglophones will keep on having the right to have services in education, in healthcare… so I don’t see the importance of having bilingual signs.”

The Quebec Community Groups Network disagrees with Legault’s stance.

“It’s a clear violation of the law and his interpretation is mistaken,” QCGN president Geoffrey Chambers reacted.

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Anglo advocates vexed by decision to remove English from Lachute hospital signs

Critics are panning the decision to remove English from signage at the Lachute hospital, calling the move concerning and upsetting.

The regional health authority, the CISSS-des-Laurentides, announced last month that it was removing the signage to be in line with Quebec’s language law, Bill 101.

CBC News first reported that nine Lachute-area mayors are opposing the decision, calling it “deeply disappointing.”

The Liberal critic for relations with English-speaking Quebecers, Greg Kelley, says he understands why people in the lower Laurentians are upset.

“We heard feedback right away from that community, people calling our riding office, flagging things on social media,” said Kelley. “They’re extremely upset and concerned.”

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‘Emergency’ sign must go, language watchdog tells Quebec hospital

MONTREAL — An edict from Quebec’s language watchdog that a hospital northwest of Montreal must remove English from its bilingual signage has angered municipal officials.

The Office quebecois de la langue francaise, which enforces the province’s French language charter, recently contacted the hospital in Lachute, Que. and told it take down English signs inside and outside the facility.

Scott Pearce, the mayor of nearby Gore, said the language watchdog is needlessly stirring up trouble in a community that prides itself on not having any language strife.

“A lot of Quebec could learn from our region. We don’t have these language debates. We get along great. We love each other, we do things together, we work together,” Pearce said Wednesday. “Maybe that problem exists elsewhere, but it doesn’t exist here, so don’t bring your problems here is how we look at it.”

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James Shea remembered as ‘fervent advocate’ for education, language rights

James Shea of Aylmer, an educator and minority language rights advocate, died on Saturday. He was 76.

Chairman of the Western Quebec School Board and retired superintendent of the Ottawa Catholic School Board, Shea was also the former president of the Quebec Communities Group Network (QCGN) and immediate past president of the Regional Association of West Quebecers.

In a communiqué issued Monday, current QCGN president Geoffrey Chambers described Shea as “a fervent advocate for Quebec’s English-speaking community and an impassioned proponent of bilingualism,” adding he was “serving at the helm when QCGN successfully advocated for increased support from the federal government’s Official Languages strategy as well as recognition from the provincial government that fostered creation of a Secretariat for Relations with English-speaking Quebecers.”

Shea is survived by his wife, Theresa, and daughters Ann, Karen, Cathy and Lisa.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Western Quebec School Board for the James Shea Memorial Fund, in support of disadvantaged students. Donations can be mailed to WQSB at 15, rue Katimavik, Gatineau, QC, J9J 0E9.

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James Shea, advocate for Quebec’s English-speaking community, dies

James Shea, a pioneering advocate for Quebec’s English-speaking community and former president of the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN), has died at 76.

The Aylmer, Que., native was a former teacher, school principal and school board administrator.

“No words can express the sadness of Mr. Shea’s death. Our school board, as well as the entire English community in Quebec, has lost a visionary, a leader like no other and a remarkable person who was appreciated, respected and valued by everybody who knew him,” said Mike Dubeau, director general of the Western Quebec School Board (WQSB).

“Jim was a fervent advocate for Quebec’s English-speaking community and an impassioned proponent of bilingualism,” said QCGN President Geoffrey Chambers.

Chambers notes that Shea was instrumental in helping QCGN successfully advocate for increased language support from the federal government as well as in encouraging the Quebec government to create a secretariat to improve relations with English-speaking Quebecers.

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English schools are not a miracle cure for overcrowding (FR)

L’accueil d’élèves francophones dans des écoles anglophones dépeuplées n’est pas une panacée à la surpopulation dans le réseau scolaire de langue française, prévient la plus grande commission scolaire du Québec.

Le déclin de la communauté anglophone a beau avoir libéré 2250 places dans des écoles de l’île de Montréal, ces locaux vides sont pour la plupart situés loin des écoles francophones qui débordent. « Les espaces disponibles dans les commissions scolaires anglophones ne sont pas comme un coup de baguette magique qui va tout régler », dit Catherine Harel Bourdon, présidente de la Commission scolaire de Montréal (CSDM).

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Quebec education minister reiterates ‘no room for interpretation’ about abolishing school boards

Quebec Education Minister Jean-François Roberge reiterated Tuesday that there is “no room for interpretation” when it comes to the government’s plan to abolish school boards.

“I think our plan is pretty clear. We want to transform school boards into service centres for schools,” he said.

“We want to emphasize all the decisions that are being taken by the governing board of each school and we want to abolish the election for trustees. It’s pretty clear.”

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Education minister doubles down on plans to abolish school boards

Quebec’s education minister doubled down Tuesday on the CAQ’s plan to abolish school boards.

“We want to transform school boards into service centres,” said Jean-Francois Roberge, who assured the English-speaking community its rights will still be respected under the new system.

English-language advocacy groups, however, are not convinced of that and have plans to fight back.

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English community vows to fight CAQ plan to scrap school boards

The Quebec Community Groups Network is prepared to fight the CAQ’s plans to abolish school boards in favour of service centres.

In a press release, QCGN president Geoffrey Chambers said that the school boards have value well beyond education.

“They are vital to the very survival and identity of our English-speaking community,” he said.

In an interview with the Montreal Gazette, premier Francois Legault confirmed that he would be going ahead with the controversial plans.

“Once the nine anglophone centres will be in place, they will realize they lost nothing,” he told the Gazette. “So it’s a useless battle.”

Chambers reiterated the QCGN’s stance that it will challenge any CAQ decision in court.

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‘Let’s be clear’: Quebec education minister says school boards will be abolished

Quebec Education Minister Jean-François Roberge took to social media Saturday morning to to reiterate the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) government’s position when it comes to abolishing school boards.

The Facebook post comes one day after Roberge met with representatives of the Quebec English School Boards Association (QESBA) and its French counterpart, the Fédération des commissions scolaires du Québec (FCSQ), to discuss school board reforms.
On Friday, QESBA president, Dan Lamoureux told Global News he felt the meeting went well and the government was open to discussions, but that optimism could be short-lived.
Roberge said that while it was a pleasure to meet with the FSCQ and the QESBA, the government was not going to compromise.