By Geoffrey Chambers
The focus of most Quebecers remains the pandemic, a safe return of our children to school and the reopening of our economy. However, our government appears to have shifted its focus to language. And as it does so, it is once again minimizing the importance of the contributions to this province by Quebec’s English-speaking community.
Premier François Legault and his government recently asserted there is too much “English” in the hiring practices of Quebec businesses and municipalities. These comments were based on a two-year-old study. While French-language skills are essential, knowledge of English is an asset. Yet Legault repeatedly frames this as a problem.
The Quebec Community Groups Network applauded a Quebec Superior Court decision to suspend the application of Quebec government reforms to the governance of English school boards while the courts review the constitutionality of Bill 40: An Act to amend mainly the Education Act with regard to school organization and governance.
QCGN President Geoffrey Chambers, who worked for the No camp during the 1980 referendum on Quebec sovereignty, said the English community was fairly united on the No side, but in other communities “there were families in which you couldn’t talk about it.” Read more
Anxiety levels surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic vary based not just on where people live in Quebec, but also on their mother tongue, a web survey conducted by Léger Marketing has found.
Allophone and anglophone respondents are much more likely to fear that they or somebody in their immediate family will catch the disease than francophones are, the survey found.
by Geoffrey Chambers, President of the Quebec Community Groups Network
The Government of Quebec determined it was a public health imperative that a detailed 24-page guide providing Quebecers with critical information on best practices in dealing with the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency be delivered to every household. This was done, at substantial cost, because every Quebecer needs to have this information. Unfortunately, the Guide autosoins or Self-care Guide was circulated only in French. On page two, the document notes, in French, that an English version is available online.
By Geoffrey Chambers, President of the Quebec Community Groups Network
The government of Quebec determined it was a public health imperative that a detailed 24-page guide providing Quebecers with critical information on best practices in dealing with the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency be delivered to every household. This was done, at substantial cost, because every Quebecer needs to have this information.
Unfortunately, the Guide autosoins was circulated only in French. On Page 2 the document notes, in French, that an English version is available online.
The phone has been ringing quite a bit at the Family Resource Centre in Pierrefonds
“Over this week, I’m sure we’ve received easily over 100 calls,” said Ron Swan, executive director of the Family Resource Centre, which helps families and children dealing with behavioural issues.
QUEBEC — It is one of those ironies of politics that a leader can look at his or her best when things are at their worst. As the COVID-19 crisis rocks the planet, Premier François Legault finds himself in just that position. Suddenly even anglophones who did not vote for the Coalition Avenir Québec in the 2018 election — and disapprove of many of the government’s policies — think Legault is doing a good job leading the province through this sombre time.
Montreal, March 10, 2020 – The Quebec Community Groups Network welcomes the injection of an additional $18.8 million into the Secretariat for Relations with English-speaking Quebecers over the next five years. This commitment promises to assist a sizeable number of English-speaking Quebecers, but other community needs remain unanswered.
In particular, the QCGN applauds new measures to sustain existing wellness centres for English-speaking seniors and create 25 additional centres. We look forward as well to details of a pledge to establish and support an employment strategy for English-speaking Quebecers; those details have yet to be released.
By Geoffrey Chambers and Gerald Cutting, QCGN
Last fall, the government of Premier François Legault conducted a round of consultations with English-speaking Quebecers. A range of voices from across the English-speaking community laid out specific and very reasonable actions we need from his government. The process proved positive to the extent that it opened a dialogue. However, it was rushed and failed to build on, or to consider, previous strategic priority-setting work done by the community. Furthermore, the government is sending mixed messages when hosting a consultation while ignoring our fundamental disagreements with them on key policy initiatives that affect our vitality and our constitutional rights.
With the Quebec Community Groups Network, the Quebec English School Board Association, and the English Montreal School Board and others preparing to challenge the constitutionality of Bill 40, Education Minister Jean-François Roberge should have considered taking a more tender approach to abolishing school boards, says an op-ed in The Suburban.
The Quebec English School Boards Association (QESBA) has announced Thursday that it will challenge Bill 40 in court even if the school elections are not abolished for the English school board, as is the case for Francophones.
Read more (In French)
“Over the coming weeks,” Geoff Kelley, chairperson of APPELLE-Québec says, “we will be preparing our case, recruiting parents and others to participate as plaintiffs, and determining who will be intervening on behalf of the community.” The Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) is part of the steering committee.
The Quebec English School Boards Association (QESBA) notes that the Quebec government forced Bill 40 through the National Assembly using closure – “despite unanimous opposition to the legislation and in complete disregard for the English-speaking community’s right to manage and control its minority language educational institutions.”
“We believe minority rights are important in our society,” Geoffrey Kelley, chair of APPELE-Québec, tells Alessia Simona Maratta of Global News. “And this government does not have a very good track record in terms of respecting [those rights].”