It’s been a long road for the English-speaking community of Quebec since Bill 22 made French the official language of the province in 1974. Bill 101, two independence referendums and countless other events soon followed. The socio-linguistic context that has emerged has changed the English-speaking community of Quebec irrevocably.
Close to half a million anglophones have left the province, many of the community’s institutions have been assimilated or transformed, and the struggles with a host of socio-economic problems, ranging from adequate care for seniors to high rates of youth unemployment, have devitalized many communities.
I am among the many English-speaking Quebecers who understand that it was necessary to protect, preserve and promote the French language in Quebec, surrounded as it is by a sea of North American English. I just didn’t think that the English-speaking community in Quebec — my community — would end up paying such a steep price for that commitment.
The stakes are high as Quebec’s first-ever televised English-language provincial leaders debate is coming up on September 17. Joanne and Elias are joined on the BT Panel by Harold Staviss, lawyer & language activist; Geoffrey Chambers, president of the Quebec Community Groups Network; and Christopher Curtis, reporter from the Montreal Gazette.
Quebec’s quiet certitudes were troubled on the morning of August 23 when the Québec Solidaire party published on its website the following sentence: “English is an official language of Quebec and Canada.” Horrors!
The consternation was compounded when the party’s co-spokesperson, Manon Massé, repeated the heresy, in English, in a tweet, and then, after launching the party’s election campaign that afternoon before the press, she replied, in French, to a reporter’s question: “Currently, because we are still in Canada, English is an official language in Quebec. What I’m saying is that Québec Solidaire is a sovereignist party, pro-independence, which, in its first mandate, will launch the process of Quebec’s independence and, in that Quebec, for Québec Solidaire, French is the official language.”
On day one of the Quebec election campaign, a perplexing tweet from the independentist party Québec Solidaire suggesting both English and French were official languages of Canada and Quebec left people scratching their head. QCGN President Geoffrey Chambers was asked to comment on the news.
CTV Montreal’s Maya Johnson sits down with QCGN President Geoffrey Chambers to discuss the upcoming provincial elections and the role of the English-speaking vote. Chambers vocalized the need for qualified English-speaking candidates who are sensitive to the needs of Quebec’s English-speaking community.
It’s a new program that the province is hoping will help the English community.
The Minister Responsible for Relations with English Speaking Quebecers, Kathleen Weil, announced nearly $7 million will be going to organizations that offer services to English-speaking Quebecers.
Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) says though the grant program is something they’ve been pushing for, more is still needed.
“We take a positive view of the potential,” said QCGN President Geoffrey Chambers. “All those groups are good groups, but they exist among 250 other groups who weren’t there, so we have more to do.”
As promised in the spring budget, the provincial government is spending $6.9 million to improve access to health care for anglophones and to help other anglophone groups.
Kathleen Weil, the Minister responsible for Relations with English-Speaking Quebecers, detailed on Tuesday how the money will be spent: $5.7 million for community groups that work with anglophones, and $400,000 each to the English Language Art Network (ELAN), Seniors Action Quebec, and Literacy Quebec.
Those funds will be spent over the next three years to help the organizations expand upon their core functions.
Mise à jour – Près de 7 M$ pour soutenir l’action des organismes offrant des services aux communautés d’expression anglaise
Mise à jour, ajout d’une annexe.
MONTRÉAL, le 14 août 2018 /CNW Telbec/ – Le Gouvernement du Québec attribue une aide financière de 6,9 millions de dollars pour soutenir les organismes offrant des services aux communautés d’expression anglaise dans l’accomplissement de leur mission, dans l’expansion des territoires qu’ils couvrent et dans la diversification de leurs activités.
Cette annonce a été faite, aujourd’hui, par la ministre responsable de l’Accès à l’information et de la Réforme des institutions démocratiques et ministre responsable des Relations avec les Québécois d’expression anglaise, Mme Kathleen Weil, lors du lancement du nouveau programme d’appui aux organismes offrant des services aux communautés d’expression anglaise. La ministre du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques et députée de Verdun, Mme Isabelle Melançon, était également présente.
Le nouveau programme, dont les crédits ont été annoncés lors du dernier budget, est maintenant en vigueur. Il vise à soutenir les organismes dans leur capacité à participer pleinement à la prospérité de la société québécoise, et ce, dans plusieurs sphères d’activité. Les organisations admissibles sont les OBNL, les entreprises d’économie sociale, incluant les coopératives ainsi que les institutions publiques qui offrent des services aux communautés d’expression anglaise.
- $5.7 million will go to the Community Health and Social Services Network (CHSSN), which will transfer the money to local organization with mandates to strengthen community development and health care.
- $400,000 will go to Literacy Quebec (LQ), which works to empower local literacy centers across the province.
- $400,000 will go to Seniors Action Quebec (SAQ) to provide services to seniors in English
- $400,000 will go to the English Language Art Network (ELAN) to help build momentum for Quebec’s English-speaking artists.
Community Health and Social Services network, ELAN, Literacy Québec, Senior Action Québec to receive funds
The Quebec government has announced which Anglophone community groups will be on the receiving end of $6.9 million set aside for them in the last provincial budget.
Kathleen Weil, the minister responsible for relations with English-speaking Quebecers, said on Tuesday the province wants to invest in keeping young, highly educated anglophones in the province.
The Quebec government is giving nearly $7 million in financial aid to organizations that work with anglophone communities in order for them to diversify and expand their offerings.
The bulk of the funding will go toward the Community Health and Social Services network, which will receive $5.7 million over three years. It will distribute 93 per cent of the funds to 25 local and regional organizations that it co-ordinates. In addition, the English Language Arts Network (ELAN), Seniors Action Québec and Literacy Quebec will receive $400,000 each over three years, read a press release from the secretariat that was issued in French only.
Les ministres Gaétan Barrette et Kathleen Weil présentent les nouveaux membres du Comité provincial pour la prestation des services de santé et des services sociaux en langue anglaise
Québec, le 14 août 2018
Le ministre de la Santé et des Services sociaux, monsieur Gaétan Barrette, ainsi que la ministre responsable de l’Accès à l’information et de la Réforme des institutions démocratiques et ministre responsable des Relations avec les Québécois d’expression anglaise, madame Kathleen Weil, ont annoncé aujourd’hui la composition du nouveau Comité provincial pour la prestation des services de santé et des services sociaux en langue anglaise.
Représentant la population d’expression anglaise de l’ensemble du Québec, les personnes suivantes auront la responsabilité de formuler des avis sur la prestation et la qualité des services offerts en langue anglaise, de même que sur les programmes d’accès à ces services :
- Madame Sara Saber-Freedman;
- Madame Ella Amir;
- Monsieur Terry Kaufman;
- Monsieur David Morris;
- Madame Bonnie Jean Mitchell;
- Monsieur Donald Warnholtz;
- Madame Sheilagh Murphy;
- Madame Jennifer Hobbs Robert;
- Madame Eileen Schofield;
- Madame Cathy Brown;
- Madame Carolynn Roberts.
In the first of a series of pre-election articles, Le Devoir focuses on the predominantly English-speaking riding of Jacques-Cartier. QCGN President Geoffrey Chamber said all parties should support the Secretariat for Relations with English-Speaking Quebecers.
En prévision des élections, Le Devoir effectue une tournée qui le mène dans des circonscriptions aux prises avec des enjeux qui préoccupent tous les Québécois. Cinquième D-Tour électoral, cette fois dans Jacques-Cartier, dans l’Ouest-de-l’Île de Montréal, où se trouve la plus grande proportion d’anglophones au Québec.
Read more (in French)
The patient-rights group at St. Mary’s Hospital was kept in the dark over how to resolve concerns about the erosion of English at the Côte-des-Neiges institution following Health Minister Gaétan Barrette’s sweeping reforms, the Montreal Gazette has learned.
Under Bill 10, St. Mary’s fell under the authority of a newly-formed umbrella organization in 2015. Soon after, the CIUSSS de l’Ouest-de-l’Île-de-Montréal began replacing St. Mary’s signs on clinics that featured French and English lettering of equal size with signs that the users’ committee found to be confusing — with the English in smaller, thinner typeface that is hard to read by many older patients.
The users’ group also raised concerns about the lack of bilingual letterhead on official St. Mary’s correspondence and anecdotes of English-speaking patients who received replies from the CIUSSS in French only.
The provincial Liberal government added an amendment to Bill 10 to address fears in the anglophone community that English might become less visible and spoken less often once their community hospitals were amalgamated under the umbrella organizations.
Bill 10 does contain a provision for an advisory committee to “preserve the cultural, historic, linguistic or local character” of an amalgamated institution like St. Mary’s. However, neither Barrette’s health ministry nor the CIUSSS board of directors informed the patient-rights group about the existence of such a committee or how to go about fixing the signs problem.
The patient-rights committee of St. Mary’s Hospital is accusing the administration established under Health Minister Gaétan Barrette of making changes to signs, letterhead and other communications that appear to favour French to the detriment of English.
The issue is a highly contentious one among members of the users’ committee, who note that St. Mary’s was founded by Montreal’s Irish Catholic community and is considered an officially bilingual hospital that continues to serve thousands of English-speaking patients each year.
Despite its bilingual status, St. Mary’s no longer uses bilingual letterhead on its official communications, the Montreal Gazette has learned. What’s more, some patients who have written to the hospital administration in English about various matters have complained that they receive responses in French only, a longtime users’ committee member said.
Geoffrey Chambers, president of the English-rights Quebec Community Groups Network, declined to comment on the concerns of St. Mary’s users’ committee, saying he needed more information.
However, Chambers noted that under Barrette’s reform, known as Bill 10, “an interested group of people involved” with an “amalgamated institution such as any of St. Mary’s, the Douglas (and) the Lakeshore may ask the minister to constitute an advisory committee.”