MONTREAL – More than 100 seniors and representatives from institutions and community groups from across Quebec gathered in Monteral last week to take the first important steps towards the creation of a provincial network for English-speaking seniors.
The forum, hosted by the Quebec Community Groups Network, was the result of a year and a half of work by a steering committee of 16 volunteers from across the province. Participants determined that English-speaking seniors need their own Netowrk, not a bilingual one where their specific needs would not be addressed, said QCGN Seniors Project co-ordinator valerie Glover-Drolet.
By Jim Colmer, Community Connections
On March 18, 2011, the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) launched a process that is intended to result in the formation of a provincial organization to represent English-speaking seniors across Quebec and will be a spokesperson for this group of citizens in various areas of mutual concern. The forum, hosted by the QCGN, was the result of a year and a half of work by a steering committee of 16 volunteers from across the province.
The Sherbrooke Record
Over one hundred seniors and representatives from institutions and community groups from across the province gathered in Montreal earlier this month to participate in a forum that laid the groundwork for a Network that would act as a voice for Quebec’s English-speaking seniors.
Similar to the Fédération des aînées et aînés francophones du Canada which serves French-speaking seniors outside Quebec, the Seniors Network will address the issues, challenges and advocate for English-speaking seniors in health and social services and beyond.
Hosted by the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN), the forum is the results of a year and a half of work by a steering committee of 16 vounteers, such as Townshipper Heather Keith, who identified the various challenges facing the aging populatin including accessibility to programs and services.
QCGN project is being coordinated by Valerie Glover-Drolet
The North Shore News, Martin C. Barry
Valerie Glover-Drolet of Deux-Montagnes played a prominent role helping to organize a recent forum held in Montreal by the Quebec Community Groups Network, where initial steps were taken to create a province-wide organization for English-speaking seniors.
The QCGN wants to facilitate the creation of the provincial seniors’ network that would act as a watchdog for the needs of English-speaking seniors. According to the plan, the QCGn would also advocate for program funding that wuld support the ongoing operations of the fledgling network.
Glover-Drolet, who is coordinating the seniors’ network project at the QCGN, said the march 18 forum provided Enlish-speaking seniors with an opportunity to hear from a French-speaking seniors’ leader about how things are organized for francophone senior citizens in the rest of Canada.
She said the forum was also useful to raise awareness of issues and concerns of general importance to seniors, and to lay the groundwork of the provincial network for uqebec’s Enlglish-speaking senior citizens. During a presentation Glover-Drolet gave on the history of the seniors’ network project, she recounted how the idea was conceived.
The Chronicle-Telegraph, Amanda Halm
On March 9, 2011, the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages released a report on Anglophone life in the Province of Quebec, entitled ”The Vitality of English Speaking Community from Myth to Reality.” It is an extensive 100-page study that reviews community life, education, health and social services, media, economic development, and more. The report was two years in the making and the result of visits to Sherbrooke, Quebec and Montreal. The committee met with more than sixty witnesses (represented by more than 200 spokepersons) at public hearings to better understand life as an Anglophone minority within a Francophone population.
Journal 24 Heures, Étienne Laberge
Les aînés anglophones auront bientôt leur Réseau provincial pour les aînés d’expression anglaise (RPAEA), dont le principal mandat sera de travailler à « un meilleur accès à diverses ressources ».
L’annonce de ce premier pas vers la création de ce groupe a été faite lors d’une conférence de presse dans la ville de Westmount, vendredi.
Parce qu’une multitude de services offerts, en santé notamment, ou dans d’autres sphères publiques ne sont offerts qu’en français, le RPAEA « jouera un rôle de chien de garde pour veiller aux besoins des aînés de langue anglaise », peut-on lire dan un communiqué. Il sera en outre chargé de trouver des bailleurs de fonds qui assureront sa pérennité. Read more…
The West Island Chronicle, Sarah Leavitt
The Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages released its findings on its two-year study of English-speaking communities in Quebec and notes that the challenge lies, not in ensuring the survival of its language, but in ”ensuring the community’s survival and supporting its vitality in all regions of Quebec.”
headed by Senator maria Chaput of Manitoba and made up of various senators, including West Islander Judith Seidman, the study geban in the winter of 2009. More than 60 people were consulted in Ottawa, Quebec City, Sherbrooke and Montreal where public hearings and informal meetings were held. The study provides a socio-demographic profile of Quebec’s English-speaking population.
Le Bulletin d’Aylmer, Julie Murray
According to a new report from the Senate Committee on Official Languages, the federal government is failing Quebec’s English-speaking minority and not living up to its obligations under the Official Languages Act. Based on public hearings and meetings in Ottawa and across Quebec, The Vitality of Quebec’s English-Speaking Communities: From Myth to Reality” concludes that Quebec anglophones don’t have adequate support from the federal government.
”The problem could stem from a lack of commitment to the English-speaking communities on the part of federal institutions within Quebec, a lack of consultations, absence of communications about existing federal programs, a poor fit between the policies of the province and the federal government, or a lack of transparency in the use of funds transferred from one government to the other,” says the report.
The National Post, March 14, 2011
On March 9, the Senate Committee on Official Languages criticized the federal failure to protect English language rights in Quebec. According to a new report: “Despite all the goodwill there may be on the ground, there are major disparities when it comes to access to schools, cultural products, heritage, training or jobs in English.”
The committee heard many stories last fall of discrimination in services. Examples included the failure to build an auditorium at Quebec City’s only English CEGEP, a situation the director testified “would not be tolerated at a single francophone college in Quebec City.” A leader of a Gaspé anglophone group decried the lack of English mental-health services. The committee’s chair, Senator Maria Chaput, described similar problems as a franco Manitoban. Ironically, to hear many Quebec francophones tell it, it is French that needs bolstering -and protection from English. Fead more…
The Gazette, Editorial page
It remains to be seen whether the report on Quebec’s English-speaking minority released last week by the Senate’s official languages committee will make much of a difference, but it is a noble and welcome effort in aid of a community that is more typically either disdained or taken for granted.
Nearly two years in the making and backed by fact-finding visits to the main anglo population centres in the province, the report calls on the federal government to do a better job protecting the rights of the anglophone population. There was a time when such a call could reasonably have been dismissed as superfluous – and some still believe that to be the case. But the anglo population isn’t what it was in its heyday, which has been over for some decades now. Read more…
The West Quebec Post, Lily Ryan
Directors of the Regional Association of West Quebecers consulted a selection of their membership, February 23, in preparation for RAWQ’s long-term strategic plan. Moderated by planning facilitator Susan Grundy, fifteen members met the board at the Western Quebec Career Centre. The plan will map out where RAWQ’s resources should be directed to best support the vitality of the English-speaking communities across the Outaouais.
Heather Stronach, the Association’s manager, launched the discuttion asking participants to look ahead a few years at the evolving Anglo community’s needs. Discussion centered around RAWQ’s assistance to anglophones as they navigate French-language governmental services, including hospitals, municipalities, and provincial agencies.
Sherbrooke Record, Corrinna Pole
The perception of Quebec’s English speaking population needs to change and the federal government must do more to promote and protect its rights determined a Senate report that was released Thursday.
The 129-page report of the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages, examined the various aspects of life for English speakers in the province, the challenges facing them and offered 16 recommendations to ensure their communities survival.
“We are trying to encourage people to make themselves and their problems known,” said Senator Maria Chaput who chaired the Committee. “(Anglophones) are a minority […] and we feel this report will give them the opportunity to say out loud what they need.” Read more…
QCGN President Linda Leith was interviewed about the Senate Report on the English-speaking Community on Global News. Leith talked about the fact that the Senate report on anglophone rights in Quebec debunks myths about Anglophones being a privileged elite. She said the Senate also supported QCGN’s concerns about transparency in how Federeal funding is delivered to Quebec and how it reaches the English-speaking community for which it is earmarked.
To listen to the podcast, click on the link below.
The Gazette, Marian Scott
English-speaking Quebecers are no longer the privileged elite they were long considered to be, says a Senate report that calls on the federal government to do a better job of protecting the rights of the anglophone minority.
The 129-page report by the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages paints a detailed picture of Quebec’s anglophones, an aging community that, despite higher-than-average levels of education, now lags behind the francophone majority for median income.
[…] Sylvia Martin-Laforge, executive director of the Quebec Community Groups Network, hailed the report for busting the myth that English-speaking Quebecers are an over-privileged minority. “The title tells the story and we have been wanting to tell the story about those myths,” she said. “We hope the 16 recommendations give leads to the government and the community for the way forward,” she added. Read more…