QCGN Statement on Government of Canada’s Proposed Changes to the Official Languages Act

The Quebec Community Groups Network recognizes the federal bill tabled this morning in the House of Commons to amend the Official Languages Act for what it is – a clear attack on the equality of Canada’s official languages.

Traditionally, the Official Languages Act has given life to constitutional official language rights. These rights define much of the relationship between Canadians and our federal government. The Act has been grounded on the principle that English and French are equal in law.

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Quebec Community Groups Network Preliminary Analysis of Bill 96, An Act respecting French, the official and common language of Quebec

Bill 96 is a wide-ranging and complex piece of legislation. It represents a significant overhaul of Quebec’s legal system. It amends the Charter of the French Language (“CFL”), 24 other provincial statutes, one regulation, and the Constitution Act, 1867.

Click here to access the QCGN’s analysis of Bill 96.

Human Rights and Freedoms Are Not to be Taken for Granted

The Quebec Community Groups Network is sickened by the heinous murder of five Muslims Sunday in London, Ontario. The fear and hatred that fueled this senseless act of Islamophobia has no place in Canadian society. Every Canadian has a sacred and inherent freedom of conscience and religion. No person, no group, and no government can take this freedom away. Some will try; none will succeed. As a nation, Canada has sacrificed dearly in the fight to preserve this freedom. And the fight continues.

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QCGN Supports Commissioner’s Call for Symmetry in the Official Languages Act

Canada’s Commissioner of Official Languages Raymond Théberge is advising the federal government to maintain the equal status of French and English in its coming changes to the Official Languages Act. The Quebec Community Groups Network enthusiastically endorses this advice.

In his annual report tabled in the House of Commons today, Commissioner Théberge said he is “pleased to see that the Government of Canada’s proposed overhaul is based on the principle of substantive equality, because beyond guaranteeing the equal status of English and French, the new Act must provide the means to actually achieve this equality.”

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QCGN Calls for More Study and Debate on Quebec’s Proposal

A strong majority of Canadians outside Quebec and a significant minority within this province are concerned about the proposed unilateral amendment to the Canadian Constitution affirming that Quebec is a nation and that its official language is French.

That is the finding of a national survey on amending the Constitution and recognizing the Quebec nation conducted by Léger Marketing for the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) and the Association for Canadian Studies (ACS).

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Poll: Amending the Constitution and Recognizing the Quebec Nation

The results of the poll were collected via a web panel conducted by Léger for the Quebec Community Groups Network and the Association for Canadian Studies among a sample of 1623 Canadians, 18 years of age or older from May 21 to May 23, 2021.

For comparison purposes, a probability sample of 1623 respondents would have a margin of error of ± 2.95%, 19 times out of 20.

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Quebecers Sharply Divided Over Hardening of Language Law, Poll Reveals

Non-Francophones hold widely diverging views from French-speaking Quebecers on Bill 96, which aims to enforce and reinforce the Charter of the French Language (Bill 101). A majority of Anglophones and Allophones also believe the debate over the proposed legislation will strain relations between the majority and minority communities.

That is one of the findings of a new poll conducted by Léger Marketing for the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) and the Association for Canadian Studies (ACS).

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Quebecers’ Views on Language Issues in the Aftermath of Bill 96

The results of the poll were collected via a web panel conducted by Léger for the Quebec Community Groups Network and the Association for Canadian Studies among a sample of 1501 Quebecers, 18 years of age or older from May 14 to 19, 2021.

The survey included a sample of 573 Quebecers with languages other than French. For comparison purposes, a probability sample of 1501 respondents would have a margin of error of ± 2.95 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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Proposed Bill 101 Overhaul Disregards Fundamental Human Rights and Freedoms

The Quebec Community Groups Network deeply regrets that proposed changes to the Charter of the French Language override fundamental human rights and will erode the vitality of our English-speaking minority community.

“The proposed legislative changes are more far-reaching than we could have ever imagined,” QCGN President Marlene Jennings said following a quick review of Bill 96: An Act respecting French, the official and common language of Québec.

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Use of Notwithstanding Clause Would Run Roughshod Over Rights of English-speaking Quebecers

MONTREAL, April 22, 2021 – The Quebec Community Groups Network is alarmed that Premier François Legault foreshadowed that the Quebec government may invoke the notwithstanding clause to limit the linguistic rights of English-speaking Quebecers.

“The QCGN was already concerned about what the government will propose to enforce and reinforce the Charter of the French Language (Bill 101) and his comment does nothing to alleviate our apprehensions,” comments QCGN President Marlene Jennings: “The QCGN is and has always been opposed to the use of the notwithstanding clause to override the rights of all Quebecers.”

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