Network News July 2017

QCGN CELEBRATES NEW OPENNESS OF QUEBEC GOVERNMENT TO ENGLISH-SPEAKING QUEBECERS

By Jim Shea
QCGN President

In June, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard announced he is creating a new secretariat dedicated to English-speaking Quebecers. The office, which will be part of the premier’s executive council, will allow our community to voice its concerns at the highest levels of government.

The premier, who has been adamantly opposed to naming a minister responsible for English-speaking Quebecers, said he is also reconsidering that idea.

“I’m not happy that my fellow Quebecers who speak English believe that they’re not always treated as first-class Quebecers, and are taken for granted,” the premier told reporters as the National Assembly prepared to break for the summer. “I’m not happy about this. It makes me sad. I want this to stop.”

An ongoing focus of the QCGN has been the fact that our community’s concerns were not being transmitted through Quebec’s bureaucracy where our community is notoriously underrepresented. The impact of our absence was obvious during recent reforms to health care, which annihilated many of our institutions; and educational reforms, which threatened the constitutional language rights of English-speaking Quebecers.

Four years ago during our annual general meeting, the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) had a debate about this issue and passed a unanimous resolution requesting formal representation within the government of Quebec to give voice to the policy-development interests of the English-speaking community. We are very pleased to see movement on this important issue and we have offered our full support and collaboration for the implementation of an effective structure which, we noted, is an important first step towards a more inclusive Quebec. We also hoped this will help unblock the longstanding bottleneck in the hiring and advancement of English-speaking Quebecers in the provincial civil-service.

Read our press release as well as coverage by The GazetteCTV Montreal, and view an interview of QCGN vice-president Geoffrey Chambers with CTV’s Tara Schwartz.

QCGN is currently looking at policies, programs, legislation and regulation in other provinces that have secretariats and other such structures to support their minority language communities. We will be offering concrete suggestions on how the premier can move forward quickly and effectively to make this a reality.

Quebec Worried About Isolated Anglos

A week earlier, a letter by Couillard’s Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Jean-Marc Fournier to federal Minister of Canadian Heritage Mélanie Joly was leaked to the media. In the reply to a query by Minister Joly about Official Language minority communities, Fournier, who’s also responsible for the Francophonie, said the government is concerned about the isolation of English-speaking communities outside of Montreal.

The letter, written after QCGN offered input to Fournier, expressed concerns about the vitality of those English-speaking communities, citing their shrinking demographic weight, their aging populations and their isolation.

The reality is that we’re losing control over some of the institutions that we built and maintained over generations and we want Quebec to help us bring in more federal money earmarked for the support of Official Language Minority Communities like ours.

Read coverage in The GazetteCTV MontrealCJAD, and Radio Canada.

QCGN Endorses Premier’s Plan to Open Dialogue with Canada

The QCGN has supported the goal of Premier Philippe Couillard’s proposal to open a constructive dialogue with the rest of Canada, welcoming his inclusive vision of Quebec that is set out in Quebecers, Our Way of Being Canadian.

Published a few weeks before the back-to-back celebrations of la Fête Nationale and Canada’s 150th Anniversary, the Policy on Québec Affirmation and Canadian Relationsis receptive towards the English community— one with “deep roots in Quebec” and is an integral part of the “Quebec nation.”

This initiative launched by Premier Couillard is an important but preliminary step in what will inevitably be a complicated, challenging journey aimed at achieving consensus.

QCGN also agrees with the conclusion of The Gazette’s Fête Nationale editorial entitled “Anglos, our way of being Quebecers” (June 23, 2017), which cautiously applauds the government’s more inclusive tone: “For any minority, maintaining one’s identity and playing a full role in the larger society are dual objectives, and they need not conflict. Quebec anglophones increasingly are integrating with the majority culture, and our contributions — historic and ongoing — are evident at every turn. At the same time, defending the interests and ensuring the vitality of this community remain essential.”

QCGN Concerned About Future of MUHC

Over the past two months, the QCGN has expressed concerns about a growing crisis at the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) in Montreal. On May 8, QCGN Vice-President Geoffrey Chambers and I signed an op-ed in The Gazette saying the super hospital can and must do better for our community and that it must be provided with all the tools it needs to flourish.

This week, ten independent members of the MUHC Board, who have been publicly squabbling with Health Minister Gaetan Barrette, resigned en masse leaving the way open for new leadership. We hope attention will now be focussed on the underlying issues rather than raising anxiety in the community and the QCGN has offered its help.

The QCGN shares the frustrations of MUHC patients and staff and is concerned about this leading world-class institution which, as we have pointed out many times, serves all Quebecers, English and French. As Geoffrey and I stated in our op-ed, we must act now to ensure the MUHC has a first-class future.

recent report in The Gazette overstated our influence in the Minister’s office. We were however pleased with the follow-up story which explains to the community what the QCGN is and enumerates some of our recent positions.

In a number of media interviews, we stated that the QCGN, and more specifically our Health and Social Services Committee, have been meeting with the Minister and the Ministry since Bill 10, the government’s health care reform bill, was introduced in the fall of 2014 and adopted in the spring of 2015. Since then we have been advocating forcefully to ensure guarantees made to Quebec’s English-speaking community are realized.

Recent discussions have centered around ensuring advisory committees, that are responsible for the preservation of the cultural, historic, linguistic, and local characteristics, are put into place in all of our merged institutions. We also pressed for and obtained a new regulation on the provincial access committee responsible for advising the Minister on regional access plans that guarantee services to English-speaking Quebecers in their own language. That regulation was passed by Cabinet last week.

Over the coming days and weeks we will continue to advocate with the Health Minister and Ministry as well as other provincial and federal ministries and departments for the priorities and needs of Quebec’s English-speaking minority community. For all coverage of the QCGN, follow the news blog on the QCGN website at www.qcgn.ca

Selection of Commissioner Must Be More Inclusive

From the middle of May until early June much of QCGN’s attention was focused on the appointment process for a Commissioner of Official Languages to replace Graham Fraserwho left office in mid-December. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that former Ontario Liberal Cabinet Minister Madeleine Meilleur had been appointed to the post in mid-May.

From the outset, QCGN expressed concerns about Meilleur’s lack of knowledge about and commitment to the concerns of English-speaking Quebecers and we invited her to come to Quebec and get to know our community. Meanwhile Meilleur’s nomination hit roadblocks in the House of Commons and the Senate where Parliamentarians expressed concerns about her unfamiliarity with Canada’s English minority communities in Quebec as well as her partisan past and links with the Federal Liberal Party. Faced with mounting controversy, Meilleur withdrew her name from consideration in early June.

Moments before she withdrew, the QCGN joined a growing list of representatives of minority language groups that submitted complaints to the Commissioner of Official Languages regarding the process used by the government to nominate Meilleur. The basis of our complaint was that the Governor in Council had failed to properly consult “the leader of every recognized party in the Senate and House of Commons” as required by the Official Languages Act. We were informed by the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages that our complaint will not be investigated because no appointment took place, but we are on record demanding that the process to select Canada’s next Commissioner of Official Languages include consultation with our community.

Throughout the debate, and in the aftermath of her resignation, QCGN and groups representing minority language francophone communities demanded a more open, transparent and inclusive process that seeks informed opinions from all interested parties to choose a Commissioner of Official Languages. We noted that as the end clients of the commissioner’s services it makes sense to consult us and not just representatives of government and the civil service – the two groups the commissioner is called upon to watch over and call to account.

QCGN looks forward to the selection of a new commissioner who will prove to be a non-partisan champion for all official language minority communities across Canada. In the meantime, the mandate of Interim Commissioner Ghislaine Saikaley has been extended. Consult our press releases here and here and listen to QCGN vice-president Geoffrey Chambers’s interview with Susan Campbell of Quebec AM.

QCGN Concerned About Shrinking Media

The QCGN is concerned about the decline in media covering our community and has called on the federal government, which has been studying the issue for more than a year, to come up with some effective solutions, fast. It is also calling on the CRTC to ensure that Bell Media and other broadcasters respect both the letter and the spirit of their broadcasting licence conditions.

Broadcasting giant Bell Media, which eliminated CJAD’s National Assembly news bureau in late 2015, recently announced its decision to kill local sportscasts on CTV Montreal and local sportscasting across the country. (Read our press release.) Other newspapers and broadcast media covering our communities are cutting back and closing.

More than a year ago, the QCGN prepared and submitted a brief entitled Nurturing Media Vitality in Quebec’s English-speaking Minority Communities which discussed the challenge of English-speaking Quebecers to find ways to foster, support and encourage quality media content that is local and relevant even as news consumers turn evermore to digital sources.

The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, which oversaw the hearings, issued its final report entitled Disruption and Churning in Canada’s Media Landscape in July. Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly said last week she will unveil the Canadian media strategy in September.

Key to our official language minority community would be measures to support our endangered regional and local media that provide the kind of reliable and accountable community news coverage that cannot come from any other source.

QCGN AGM Held on June 15-16

As Premier Couillard was announcing momentous news for our community, the QCGN’s annual meeting kicked off Thursday, June 15, with professional development sessions for the staff and boards of our organizations and stakeholders as well as a “speed dating” event that allowed community participants to meet with representatives of various federal departments and agencies to discuss opportunities for funding and support.

On Friday June 16, we reconvened for a series of policy discussions on issues of importance to Quebec’s English-speaking communities, and applauded the premier’s commitment to creating space for our community at the highest level of Quebec’s government. Discussions ensued on Projections and the Impact on the English-speaking Community of Quebec by Jean-Pierre Corbeil of Statistics Canada; Treasury Board’s Review of the Official Languages (Communications with and Services to the Public) Regulationled by Cartsen Quell of Treasury Board Secretariat and the Development of Composite Indicators for Official Language Minority Community Vitality by William Floch, who is retiring from Canadian Heritage. There was also a discussion on the renewal of our Community Development Plan led by QCGN Director General Sylvia Martin-Laforge. Consult all the presentations.

On Friday afternoon members acclaimed a new board of directors (see photo below) and passed a resolution supporting access to broadband access in rural and isolated communities (see CRTC story below).

Meet Our New Board of Directors

From left to right: Geoffrey Chambers (Vice-president), Juan-Carlos Quintana, Clarence Bayne, Stella Kennedy, Eric Maldoff, Mary-Ellen Beaulieu, James Shea (President), Eva Ludvig, Walter Duszara (Secretary), Elise Moser, Joe Rabinovitch (Treasurer), and Linton Garner. Missing from photo: Kevin Dobie and James Hughes.

QCGN Annual Report Goes Digital

The QCGN released its 2016-2017 Annual Report in time for the annual general meeting. For the first time, it is a fully digital report with links to lots of information and moving parts that provide additional content and photos. A limited number of copies were printed to share with stakeholders. The digital report has been posted on the website and we encourage you to take a look to better understand the overarching cross-regional and cross-sectoral work of the QCGN and its advocacy role for our community of communities.

COMMUNITY ALIGNED WITH SIX STRATEGIC PRIORITIES

By Walter Duszara
Chair of the Priorities Setting Steering Committee

In September 2011, the Quebec Community Groups Networks launched the Strategic Priorities Forum, a five-year process to identify common priorities ensuring a vital and sustainable future for Quebec’s English-speaking communities and to collectively pursue strategies to achieve community goals.

The QCGN established the Priority Setting Steering Committee (PSSC), a permanent committee of QCGN’s board of directors to assist the community with the governance of the Strategic Priorities Forum. The PSSC’s purpose it is to collect, analyze, prioritize and articulate the common needs, priorities and issues of the community and to communicate its findings to partners and stakeholders including government.

In 2011-2012, community groups, individuals and institutions from Quebec’s English-speaking community participated in a consultative process to determine common priorities. In March of 2012, the process culminated in a Community Priority Setting Conference where community leaders achieved consensus on six evolving common development priorities that would contribute to ensuring a vital and sustainable future for the English-speaking Communities of Quebec, namely: Access to Services in English; Community Building; Economic Prosperity; Identity and Renewal; Leadership and Representation, and; Strong Institutions.

Every year the PSSC conducts a survey to see how organizations are linking to the six over-arching priorities; to determine how the community benefitted from and attached to these priorities; and to identify the program and project priorities for the coming year. Survey results provide a portrait of the activities undertaken in the current fiscal year, identify needs that are underserved and sectors of service that are under-developed, and, identify the plans to address these needs.

There remains a high degree of alignment between the six strategic priorities and the vision, mission and mandate of organizations. All six priorities are addressed in substantive ways in the activities offered in 2016-2017.

Community Building rated highest among priorities. Community Building and Leadership and Representation were considered to be a “very important” or “important” priority by all respondents.

Responses were broadly based and statistically significant: Access to Services (90 per cent); Community Building (100 per cent); Economic Prosperity (66 per cent); Identity and Renewal (83 per cent); Leadership and Representation (100 per cent) and Strong Institutions (95 per cent). Three organizations found Economic Prosperity “Not Very Important.” Again, these results represent a strong and unequivocal validation of the relevance, importance, and utility of the six strategic priorities and the alignment of community groups with them.

Community Building and Leadership and Representation projects and activities represent the greatest investment of effort and resources. Activities related to Access to Services and Identity and Renewal represent the next most important group, followed by Strong Institutions and Economic Prosperity.

Planning for fiscal year 2018-2019 reflects a continued engagement in projects and activities offered in 2017-2018. Concern is evident for people experiencing isolation and poverty, and for those young and old with special needs, with a lack of autonomy, lack of education and lack of opportunity.

Central to planning and project development efforts is assuring access to continued and proven services and programs. The multiplicity of needs of diverse English-speaking communities in Quebec represents a persistent challenge. Many organizations raised concerns related to funding stability and adequacy, both current and future. Current capacity is stretched.

There is a broadly-based concern that the youth population (White, Black, Immigrant, Indigenous and Inuit) is underserved. There is concern for access to English services in the general health and mental health, social services and education sectors, for people of all ages. The needs of recent arrivals, youth and young families with children in particular, are of concern. There is also concern for adequate support services for seniors as well as for caregivers.

The retention and attraction of young Anglophones in the regions is of vital importance.  Employment opportunities, in particular for youth, are limited and weigh heavily as concerns for the future vitality of our communities. New arrivals seeking services in English represent a new and growing challenge.

The survey indicated limited access to English-language social and cultural activities in certain regions. There is concern with regards to funding shortfalls, not only for the development of new services but also for the maintenance of existing operations for human resources, facilities, and equipment.

The concerns related to funding from traditional sources are clearly in evidence. These have also been expressed in informal exchanges with various groups throughout the year. In response to the financial constraints felt by many organizations there has been an observed tendency to increased partnerships as well as an engagement with non-traditional funding sources. For collective action to develop further, project funding from traditional sources should acknowledge these trends and encourage and support their development.

Interdepartmental and intradepartmental as well as intergovernmental cooperation continues to be needed to address evidenced gaps in policies and services. There is also a need for greater support for English-speaking community organizations from the provincial government.

ELAN WANTS TO ENSURE THAT REGIONAL ENGLISH COMMUNITIES PROFIT FROM BROADBAND FUND

By Irwin Block

English-speaking Quebecers living in rural and isolated communities are in dire need of high-speed internet access and the CRTC, Canada’s telecom regulator, should ensure that it reaches them.

This is the essential position of the English Language Arts Network (ELAN) in its request to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to testify on expanding its broadband funding regime. Hearings are to be held in the fall.

At a meeting in late March, the CRTC informed ELAN that Telecom Regulatory Policy 2016-496 adds broadband internet access service – both fixed and mobile – to the list of basic telecommunications services that Canadians receive.

“We believe that the vitality, and even the survival of the rural and isolated official language minority communities, depends on prioritizing their communications needs,” ELAN executive director Guy Rodgers, wrote the CRTC. ELAN represents more than 6,000 English-speaking media, visual, theatre and other artists in Quebec and intervenes on broadcasting issues with and on behalf of the Quebec Community Groups Network, the voice of one million English speakers in the province.

The goal, as set out by the group, is to ensure that by 2021, 90 per cent of English-speaking communities in outlying areas will have access to broadband services at 50 Megabits per second, considered fast internet.

The CRTC has declared high-speed internet access is a basic service for all of Canada. The money to extend it is available as part of a new broadband fund of up to $750 million over five years. The CRTC has said it planned to distribute $100 million in the first year, increasing the amount by $25 million annually to up to $200 million.

Getting high-speed internet to outlying areas where English speakers reside reflects the Official Languages Act, which commits Ottawa to “enhancing the vitality of the English and French linguistic minority communities, and supporting and assisting their development,” Rodgers noted.

“We want this to be a condition of licence,” Rodgers said in an interview. “Whoever receives money for high-speed internet upgrade would be obliged to consult with the English-speaking community and provide adequate service for them as well.”

Rural and isolated communities “need those services even more than denser population centres,” he said.

According to Census Canada figures cited by the QCGN, rural Quebec communities with fewer than 10,000 residents total 2.9 million, and of that 6.5 per cent, or 189,143, have English as their first official language spoken.

“This population is in decline and needs access to high-speed internet as soon as feasible,” ELAN emphasized.

Among areas most poorly served, a 2015 survey by the Community Health and Social Services Network and the CROP polling firm found that 34 per cent of respondents in the Outaouais region in western Quebec and 46 per cent in the Laurentides region north of Montreal said they did not have access to high-speed internet.

When it comes to mobile devices, 38 per cent of respondents in the Centre-du-Québec and 52 per cent of respondents on the Côte-Nord said they did not have them. It’s worse in the Lower North Shore sub-region, where four in five are mother-tongue English. They do not have cellular phone service and there is a substantial lack of broadband access. Residents there are mainly dependent on more expensive satellite broadband.

Meanwhile Quebec’s Villages Branchés program prioritized education, health, and municipal services – but did nothing for rural residents and small and medium sized enterprises, ELAN said. As a result, Quebec rural communities are disadvantaged, compared to what is provided by other provincial broadband development programs.

The issue in Quebec, as in the rest of Canada, is urban-rural dichotomy, affecting French and English language minorities to similar degrees, Rodgers observed. “Both minority communities tend to be slightly less educated, slightly poorer than the majority communities around them.”

High-speed internet access can only help residents in these areas, and that is why Quebec’s English speaking community representatives are focussing attention on broadcasting and broadband issues, which had been neglected because other language issues had priority.

Pressure on the CRTC and local broadcasters has resulted in a substantial increase in English-language production, and that is why ELAN is determined to speak out when it comes to high-speed internet access to isolated and rural communities, Rodgers said.

“The fact that we’ve gone to CRTC, and reminded them that this community has special needs, will oblige the people who are implementing these programs to take that into account: It is bound to have a positive effect.”

irblock@hotmail.com

SUMMER YOUTH LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE AT BISHOP’S

Over the week of Aug. 13-18, the Bishop’s Forum will present English-speaking youth from throughout the province with a program of speakers, workshops and activities offering a unique opportunity to understand and reflect upon the realities and promises of Quebec.

Day 1 of the provincial youth civic engagement forum will look at what it means to be a citizen from a number of perspectives including that of Canadian, Quebecer and member of the English-speaking minority in the province, said Bishops’ Forum director James Hughes.

“Exercising political, social and legal rights in the province has changed fundamentally over the last few decades and Quebecers may be in store for further transformation in the years ahead as the world evolves in both intensively local and global ways,” said Hughes, noting our current and future leaders need to understand the process of change in order to lead it.

The Forum will begin with a talk on Citizenship in a Diverse World by Bishop’s philosophy professor Dr. Jamie Crooks, with a view to helping participants understand how the Quebec conversation about minority rights, citizenship and leading change is situated in the larger context of the various forces of identity at work in the world.

Then former Premier Jean Charest will discuss citizenship in Quebec and help youth appreciate the kind and quality of citizenship necessary to make the province richer, greener, smarter and more inclusive. One of Canada’s best known political figures, Charest is recognized for a major initiative for the sustainable development of Northern Quebec called “Le Plan Nord.”

The afternoon program will focus on Quebec’s English-speaking community which has helped this province develop for hundreds of years.

Following an historical and demographic portrait of our community presented by QCGN Policy Director Stephen Thompson, a series of speakers and an interactive panel of English-speaking politicians and leaders will help participants gain a better understanding of the history, contributions and promise of the English-speaking community of Quebec.

“Our community has changed dramatically over the last 40 years and faces both new challenges and opportunities,” said Hughes, noting the Forum will explore what it is to be a member of the English-speaking community today and where and how emerging leadership can be exercised to strengthen both the community and the province.

Panelists will include Eric Maldoff; provincial Native Affairs Minister Geoffrey KelleyMNA David Birnbaum, Parliamentary Assistant to the Ministers of Education; Rachel Hunting, Executive Director of Townshippers’ Association; and Anne Usher a longtime community development activist. The panel will be moderated by Royal Orr, a strategic communications adviser who began his career as the executive director of the Townshippers’ Association before moving on to become a radio host for CJAD and CBC.

On Day 2 youth will delve into the non-profit sector during the morning with a talk entitled The Quebec Non-Profit Sector: Promise and Potential with Kira Page, the communications and membership coordinator for the Centre for Community Organizations (COCo) followed by a discussion on Change through Advocacy with international human rights lawyer Pearl Eliadis.

In the afternoon, there will be a discussion entitled Residential Schools and Reconciliationwhich aims to awaken participants to the realities of residential school and the promise of reconciliation in Quebec. This discussion will be led by Romeo Saganash, the MP for Abitibi-Baie James-Nunavik-Eeyou. Saganash, the first Indigenous lawyer to graduate from the Université du Québec à Montréal, spent his lifetime working to uphold human rights. He was one of the principal authors of La Paix des Braves – a landmark agreement between the James Bay Cree and the Government of Quebec – and he has been a key negotiator for many national and international initiatives, including the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

After that there will be a discussion on being a young leader in an official language minority community. QCGN Director General Sylvia Martin-Laforge will introduce her counterpart from French minorities outside Quebec, 28-year-old Alain Dupuis, who now heads the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada.

“The renewal of our English-speaking community is dependant on the engagement of youth and their willingness to assume leadership positions in all regions, all sectors of our community and the greater society around us,” said Martin-Laforge. “Our ability to mobilize our youth is the key to a vital and sustainable future for our community.”

“Quebec’s political system is simultaneously fascinating and frustrating. While having some of the developed world’s most progressive social policies, it is also the fulcrum of debate in Canada around how to address diversity,” commented Hughes, noting that Day 3 of the forum will look at these realities along with the manner in which the media engages in – and influences –political discourse in Quebec.

Richmond MNA Karine Vallières, the Parliamentary Youth Secretary to Premier Philippe Couillard; Vaudreuil-Soulanges MP Peter Schiefke, Parliamentary Secretary to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Premier’s Liaison to the English-speaking community Gregory Kelley, will lead off the conversation about the complex processes and numerous players involved in policy development and political change in Quebec. Vallières was one of the architects of the Liberal government’s 15-year youth strategy that finances the forum.

This panel will be followed with two talks by political “changemakers” including Federal NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair and the newly elected head of Québec Solidaire, Gabriel Nadeau Dubois. Mulcair, the former provincial Environment Minister who became the first New Democrat ever to be elected in a federal general election, will talk about “How Quebec became the Green Province.” Dubois will give an insider’s view of how student groups led the change to overturn proposed tuition fee hikes, including interactions with politicians, police and media with a talk about what has become known as the Maple Spring.

Day 3 will end with a Media Panel on the role journalism can play in the process of change. The panel will be led by Senator Joan Fraser, former editor of the Montreal Gazette and include Mike Finnerty, Host of CBC Radio’s Daybreak; Ethan Cox, founder of Ricochet Media; Patricia Pleszczynska, Directrice générale of Radio, Audio & Grand Montréal at Radio-Canada and Louise Solomita, City Editor at the Gazette. Bishop’s Principal Michael Goldbloom, a former publisher of the Toronto Star and the Montreal Gazette, will moderate the panel and focus it on the specific example of how the media may impact the defense and promotion of English minority linguistic rights in Quebec.

On Wednesday evening filmmaker Kevin Tierney will present his film “French Immersion” and lead a discussion about culture and Quebec’s English-speaking community.

The Quebec economy is like no other in the country and its uniqueness is due, at least in part, to the nature of the relationship between the business sector and the government and the relatively strong presence of employee unions. These and other key themes including electrification of transport, the sharing economy and social enterprise will be discussed on Day 4.

Speakers on this theme include Annalise Iten from Youth Employment Services Montreal;David Berliner co-founder and CEO of CoPower, Canada’s leading clean energy investment platform; Tereska Gesing, co-founder of Urban Seedling which encourages Montrealers to grow their own food, backyard-to-table; Lauran Rathmell, co-founder of Lufa Farms who oversees all greenhouse operations, research and development; and Blair McIntosh, President of Motrec International.

The youth forum will culminate with presentations to a mock Parliamentary Commission made up of several Quebec leaders including the federal Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, Marie-Claude Bibeau, the provincial Minister for Democratic Reform, Rita de SantisMount Royal MP Anthony Housefather, former MP Marlene Jennings, former MNA Russell Copeman, Mayor of NDG-Cote des Neiges, and QCGN President James Shea. Groups will be asked to put their learning and insight from the first four days on display and answer questions about their proposals on the change they want to see.

The Bishop’s Forum has funding for three consecutive years and any member of the English-speaking community aged 18 to 24 is eligible to apply to be a participant. More information on the Bishop’s Forum can be found at www.bishopsforum.ubishops.ca

QCGN SEEKS NOMINATIONS FOR 2017 COMMUNITY AWARDS

The Quebec Community Groups Network is welcoming nominations for the 2017 Sheila and Victor Goldbloom Distinguished Community Service Award and the Young Quebecers Leading the Way Award.

“These awards are designed to honor individuals, young and old, who have made significant contributions to Quebec’s English-speaking community,” said QCGN board member James Hughes, a winner of a Goldbloom Award in 2015, noting these are the only provincial level awards that reward individuals who have contributed to the vitality of English-speaking Quebec.

Goldbloom Awards

QCGN established the Goldbloom Award, which recognizes individuals who have contributed to strengthening the English-speaking community and to building bridges between Quebecers of different backgrounds, in 2009 to celebrate individuals who, like Dr. and Mrs. Goldbloom, dedicated their lives to ensuring English-speaking Quebec remains a vibrant community within Quebec and Canada.

Candidates for the Goldbloom award must have demonstrated leadership and commitment as a volunteer or as a professional in their chosen field of endeavour. Their contributions can be in any and all regions of Quebec, and in any field from business to academia; from youth to seniors; from health and social services to arts and culture; and any other area such as heritage, the environment, and sports. The guiding principle is that these individuals have provided strong and effective leadership and succeeded in improving the quality life of English-speaking Quebecers and the broader society.

Young Quebecers Leading the Way Award

The Young Quebecers Leading the Way Award was established in 2015 by Quebec Community Groups Network, the Fondation Notre Home Foundation and CBC Quebec to recognize and celebrate the outstanding achievements of young English-speaking Quebecers who are engaged in innovative initiatives that create change in our communities.

For this award, leadership is defined broadly and not limited to leaders of specific organizations and projects. The main objective of the award is to celebrate the leadership and innovative thinking of engaged young English-speaking Quebecers. Nominations must come from organizations and institutions that serve Quebec’s English-speaking minority community.

To be eligible for a Young Quebecers Leading the Way Award, candidates must be under the age of 30 and have demonstrated outstanding leadership and contributed to an initiative with measurable impact in their community.

Recipients of the Young Quebecers Leading the Way Award and the Sheila and Victor Goldbloom Distinguished Community Service Award will be invited to receive their awards at a community recognition ceremony in October.

JEFFERY HALE COMMUNITY PARTNERS ANNUAL REPORT NOW ONLINE

Submitted by Diane Kameen
Jeffery Hale Community Partners

Jeffery Hale Annual Report cover

Learn more about activities available to English speakers in the Quebec City area by consulting the 2016 – 2017 annual report of Jeffery Hale Community Partners (JH Partners). JH Partners is a community-based charitable organization whose mission is to promote and contribute to the health and well-being of the English-speaking population of the Capitale-Nationale (Greater Quebec City region). JH Partners plays a leadership role in the community by helping to ensure that the region’s English-speaking population remains a priority when it comes to organizing health and social services. JH Partners is a catalyst for innovative outreach approaches to help improve community members’ quality of life, including a range of services and activities offered under its Wellness Centre banner.

NEW MEMBERS JOIN THE BOARD OF RAWQ

The annual general meeting of the Regional Association of West Quebecers (RAWQ) held June 7, 2017, represented both renewal and a harbinger of change. In the past, board membership was rather Aylmer-centric in its make-up and the issues it represented. This year RAWQ has a much more regionally diverse board of directors with members from Shawville and Otter Lake. The board of directors (pictured above) includes: Arthur Ayers, president; Alain Guy, vice-president/treasurer; Donna Cushman, secretary; Judith O’Rourke; Stephany Crowley; Sam LaBrecque; Joe Mackevic; Ken Bernard; Chris Judd; Bryan Daly; Citlalli Elizalde and immediate past president James Shea.

CANADIAN PARENTS FOR FRENCH HOSTS 15th CONCOURS D’ART ORATOIRES

By Marla Williams
CPF-Quebec Coordinator

On June 3, 2017, 38 Grade 11 and 12 French second language students – Secondary 5 in Quebec –  met in the National Capital region to participate in the 15th National Concours d’art oratoire finals.

As the top contestants from a total of over 62,000 participants nationwide, winners of the national finals obtained scholarships in excess of $25,000 from the University of OttawaUniversité de MonctonUniversité Sainte-Anne and Université de Saint-Boniface.

CPF in Quebec would like to congratulate Elizabeth Hua from Rosemere, Que., who won second place in the Early French Immersion category.

The Concours d’art oratoire is a public speaking contest organized by Canadian Parents for French for secondary students in French programs across Canada. Every spring, an estimated 80,000 students take part in this annual competition.

Here in Quebec, 44 students from the Lester B. Pearson, Sir Wilfrid Laurier and Western Quebec School Boards, as well as their parents and teachers, took part in the provincial finals on April 29 at the Cosmodome in Laval, Que.

The students were divided into groups based on their grade level, and then each group was further divided into five categories, based on their French speaking ability. Here are the winners of each category:

Secondary 1 & 2 – Core: Matteo Sorgiovanni (Rosemere High School); Enriched: Rachel Becher (Hadley Junior High School, Gatineau); Enriched plus: Aniesha Covey (Philemon Wright High School, Gatineau); Immersion: Cassandra Bedard (Beaconsfield High School); Francophone (Sec 1): James Morand (Rosemere High School); Francophone (Sec 2): Lukka Picklyk (Philemon Wright High School, Gatineau)

Secondary 3 & 3 – Enriched plus: Hope Cornell (Lindsay Place High School, Pointe-Claire); Immersion: Angelica Antonakopoulos (Lindsay Place High School, Pointe-Claire); Francophone: Neve Maltus (Philemon Wright High School, Gatineau)

Secondary 5 Core – Charlie Cockburn (Philemon Wright High School, Gatineau); Enriched plus – Jennifer Hua (Rosemere High School); Immersion: Elizabeth Hua (Rosemere High School); Francophone: Marianne Lavergne (Rosemere High School)

Better French language skills are a key aspiration for Quebec’s non-Francophone youth. The Concours program helps fulfill that aspiration by giving youth a meaningful forum in which to practice and develop confidence in their French language skills.

CPF-Quebec would also like to thank its sponsors including Canadian Heritage, the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages, French for the Future, Global Montreal, LEARN Quebec and the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN).