On February 19, the federal government released its long-awaited policy document outlining reforms to modernize the Official Languages Act, following consultations across the country. However, the document entitled, English and French: Towards a Substantive Equality of Official Languages in Canada, has received mixed responses from language advocates.
Commissioner of Official Languages Raymond Théberge says he is pleased to see that the principle of substantive equality between English and French is the central element of the reforms. Similarly, Jean Johnson, the President of the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne, has voiced his support for the proposals.
In a broadcast interview with CTV Montreal, Marlene Jennings, president of the QCGN, enumerates the array of potential challenges raised for the English-speaking community by a Quebec government push to territorialize official languages in Canada and erode the nation’s linguistic duality. Watch the video here. (En anglais seulement)
La communauté anglophone du Québec affirme ne pas faire confiance au gouvernement provincial en matière de protection de ses droits linguistiques et rejette toute diminution du rôle du fédéral dans ce domaine.
Dans un document publié vendredi, le gouvernement Legault a déclaré qu’il détenait
en premier lieu la responsabilité d’assurer la vitalité de la communauté anglophone au Québec et de répondre à ses préoccupations et enjeux particuliers. Read more (In French Only)
On discute des grandes orientations que la ministre responsable des Relations canadiennes et de la Francophonie canadienne, Sonia LeBel, a déposé aujourd’hui dans le cadre de la modernisation des langues officielles.
Écouter l’extrait audio (In French only)
The CAQ government caused some concern in Quebec’s anglophone community Friday, as they made public the changes they’re hoping to see in federal language laws.
Among their demands, Quebec wants Canada to recognize it as a protector of French, and to be granted more powers to do so. That has anglophone groups worrying the rights of English speakers could be in danger.
Read more (en anglais seulement)
Alors qu’Ottawa s’apprête à moderniser sa Loi sur les langues officielles (LLO), Québec avise le fédéral d’accorder à la langue de Molière un traitement préférentiel. En fait, selon le gouvernement de François Legault, seule la langue française est minoritaire au Canada.
C’est l’essentiel des constats faits par la ministre des Relations canadiennes et de la Francophonie canadienne, Sonia LeBel, dans une lettre adressée à son homologue Mélanie Joly. Le document, qui compte cinq «orientations», presse le gouvernement Trudeau d’officialiser le statut du français comme seule langue officielle minoritaire au Canada.
Read more (In French only)
Reaction from anglo groups was swift and negative, with a warning that Ottawa must not cede any responsibility for official languages to the provinces.
QUEBEC — The Coalition Avenir Québec government has sparked an angry reaction from Quebec’s English-speaking community over its vision of reforms to Canada’s Official Languages Act.
“This is a non-starter,” said Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) president Marlene Jennings.
“Quebec is attempting to territorialize language by demanding that the government of Quebec have sole jurisdiction for linguistic planning and control on its territory and displacing federal leadership on the protection of Canada’s official language communities,” Jennings said.
Bien que Mélanie Joly ait accueilli poliment les demandes du gouvernement du Québec, la ministre fédérale et son homologue Sonia LeBel ne parlent visiblement pas le même langage à l’approche d’une importante réforme de la Loi sur les langues officielles. Read more (In French only)
Bell Media, despite a strong financial performance and recently having received $122 million in pandemic-related labour subsidies, exacted what some are calling a jobs “bloodbath” at radio station CJAD.
Without notice, Bell Media decimated the CJAD newsroom. Shuyee Lee, who has been with the station since 1993, confirmed her departure on Twitter and added that she had been in the midst of preparing a major news story when she suddenly received the word. Read more (en anglais seulement)
Statistics are used to paint a picture — to tell a story. What statistics are presented, and how they are utilized and to what ends, is another matter. They are instruments used at the discretion of the storyteller.
Canadians have a special interest in statistics that tell our linguistic story. We pay special attention to statistics related to our two official languages, and to the languages of Indigenous people.
When looking at language data, it is important to consider two things: what is being measured (the variable); and where is it being measured (the geography).
With new measures to protect French imminent from both the Quebec and federal governments, English-speaking Quebecers should be forgiven for wondering, ‘what about us?’ writes the Montreal Gazette’s editorial board. Quebec’s English-speaking communities also require protection, even if English — as the majority language in Canada and the world’s lingua franca of commerce, technology and popular culture — does not.
For English-speaking Quebecers, being a minority within a minority can be both a burden and a blessing, writes retired senator and former editor in chief of the Montreal Gazette, Joan Fraser. While linguistic division is one of our defining features, Quebecers also have much in common, writes Fraser who sits on the board of the Quebec Community Groups Network and is a vice-chair of APPELE-Quebec, the umbrella group formed to defend English school boards.
By Marlene Jennings, president of the Quebec Community Groups Network
At the dawn of 2021, English-speaking Quebecers are witnessing the relative language peace we have enjoyed for many years fade.
In Ottawa, Official Languages Minister Mélanie Joly has promised to table a white paper as the basis for protecting and promoting French not only outside of Quebec but also within. Meanwhile, in Quebec City, Simon Jolin-Barrette, minister responsible for the French language, will reinforce the Charter of the French Language (Bill 101).
By Marlene Jennings • Special to Montreal Gazette
Let’s protect French without diminishing the vitality and viability of Quebec’s English-speaking communities, which are increasingly fragile.
The Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) and many English-speaking Quebecers are determined to serve as crucial and constructive voices throughout upcoming debates that are bound to prove emotional and sometimes acrimonious. We believe that English-speaking Quebecers are uniquely placed to nurture understanding between English and French Canadians — and to communicate Quebec’s unique character and concerns as well as the needs of francophone minorities to Canada’s English-speaking majority.
“This whole French-language debate excludes the interests of our community,” says the new president of the Quebec Community Groups Network.
“It’s been non-stop busy,” said Marlene Jennings, looking back on 2020. “I’m still trying to catch my breath; and I haven’t been able to do that yet.”
In September, she ended a whirlwind, one-year stint as trustee of the English Montreal School Board. In that time, she pulled the EMSB out of its dysfunctional state, and helped it transform into an entity equipped to face the future.