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Appearing six times a year, the Network News informs our partners and stakeholders as well as members of Quebec’s English-speaking community about the latest activities, news, and views of the Quebec Community Groups Network. Sign up below, and scroll down to browse through past issues.
A TIME OF DEEP TRANSFORMATION
As we look forward to the Quebec Community Groups Network’s Annual General Meeting in early October, our community is going through a time of change and adjustments. The past four years have proven challenging for our community as the National Assembly adopted laws which impose new limits to our access to education, to health and social services, to the courts, and to government services and information in English. The last two and a half years have been especially challenging for our member organizations, institutions, and businesses as they have dealt with reduced revenues and staff cuts often coupled with an increased demand for services during the pandemic.
ENGLISH-SPEAKING QUEBEC IS INDEED AT A CROSSROADS
Since I became QCGN President a little more than a month ago, it has been a beehive of activity.
Following our English-speaking Quebec at a Crossroads policy forum in early June, there have been appearances before both the House and Senate committees on Official Languages and consultations with the Minister of Official Languages last week.
It is my great honour to follow in the footsteps of past QCGN President Marlene Jennings, whom I greatly admire. While Marlene is no longer at the helm, she will not be far away as she continues to fulfill her mandate as a Director of the QCGN Board.
IT HAS BEEN AN HONOUR TO LEAD THE QCGN AT THIS CRUCIAL CROSSROADS
I have taken that proverbial walk in the snow – well, actually it was a walk in the rain – and I have decided to step down from the position of QCGN President effective June 9, 2022.
This decision has been both difficult and easy. Many of you will recall that in 2020, I reluctantly agreed to stand for president and was ultimately elected. This wasn’t something I had sought. But there was a general unease among many members regarding the QCGN’s then governance and leadership, a sentiment that I shared.
QUEBECERS UNITE AGAINST BILL 96
Last Tuesday, the QCGN held a press conference to discuss the harmful impacts of Bill 96, An Act respecting French, the official and common language of Québec. More than 150 community leaders were on hand to support our message and concerns about the negative impact that this legislation would have not just on our community, but on Quebec society as a whole. I want to thank all of our QCGN members and stakeholders for participating. They helped demonstrate our community’s wide opposition to this far-reaching bill.
Our message was effectively reinforced by our guest speakers including human rights lawyer Julius Grey; Aki Tchitacov, executive director of YES Employment + Entrepreneurship; Dan Lamoureux, president of the Quebec English School Boards Association; Nancy Beattie, director of Champlain College – Lennoxville; Côte-St-Luc Mayor Mitchell Brownstein; and QCGN Board member Dr. Sandra K. de la Ronde.
WE HEAR PREMIER LEGAULT’S HOSTILE AND INHOSPITABLE MESSAGE LOUD AND CLEAR
The last year, and particularly the last few months, have been tough for our community as the Coalition Avenir Québec seems intent on doing its utmost to methodically weaken the rights and institutions of English-speaking Quebecers.
Over and above Premier François Legault’s limiting notion of an historic English-speaking community, we learned this past weekend that the Minister of Higher Education is putting the brakes on a badly needed expansion of overcrowded Dawson College and asking the college to downsize its plans. (Read our press release and coverage by Journal de Montréal and CTV Montreal.) This at a time when the government is planning to impose quotas on enrolment in English-language CEGEPs. (Read commentary in Le Devoir.)
THE CHANGING FACE OF THE QUEBEC COMMUNITY GROUPS NETWORK
There is an adage that reads: May you live in interesting times. We are indeed living through challenging times. COVID-19 has had profound impacts – both local and global – on our social and economic wellbeing. The pandemic has had tragic consequences for many, and it has fundamentally altered our daily lives. But, despite COVID constraints over the past 20 months, I am proud to say our team and our entire Network have pulled together admirably in the face of the many restrictions imposed by this public health crisis. I credit many of our achievements to the tremendous amount of work that took place before the pandemic to build partnerships within our community. They have been critical to creating a stronger and more resilient Network and community. Some of our successes are discussed in the QCGN’s 2020-2021 Annual Report entitled Pivoting Past the Pandemic that has been posted online. As we close out the calendar year, I want to thank our many members, partners, and stakeholders for their valuable contributions to the vitality of our community. Read more…
BILL 96 RETAINS ATTENTION OF QCGN AS ENGLISH-SPEAKING QUEBECERS WORRY ABOUT THEIR RIGHTS AND THE VITALITY OF THEIR COMMUNITIES
A little more than a year ago, I became President of the Quebec Community Groups Network. And what a year it’s been! The last few months have been particularly hectic with our campaign against Bill 96, An Act respecting French, the official and common language of Québec which would have serious negative impacts on our community. Matters came to a head two weeks ago as Premier François Legault’s inaugural speech pledged to make identity and language central to his remaining time in office as well as his subsequent remarks on his definition of “historic anglos”. Clocking in at one hour and 14 minutes, the Premier spoke 58 words in English where he described Quebec’s English-speaking community as “the best served minority in Canada” and noted he is “proud” of that. Read more…
BROWSE PAST ISSUES
NETWORK NEWS AUGUST 2021
Critical months ahead for QCGN and the English-speaking community.
NETWORK NEWS JULY 2021
The Montreal Gazette published an op-ed by me predicting as 2020 drew to a close that English-speaking Quebecers were witnessing the relative language peace we had enjoyed for many years was going to fade.
NETWORKS NEWS APRIL 2021
QCGN Meets with Language Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette
NETWORK NEWS MARCH 2021
Minister Joly Releases Vision Paper on Official Languages
NETWORK NEWS DECEMBER 2020
Looking Ahead QCGN Faces Challenges, New and Old
NETWORK NEWS JUNE 2020
English-speaking Quebecers Need an Effective Advocacy.
NETWORK NEWS MARCH 2020
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update – A message from QCGN President Geoffrey Chambers and Director General Sylvia Martin-Laforge.
NETWORK NEWS DECEMBER 2019
English-speaking Community Needs to Speak with One Voice.
NETWORK NEWS JUNE 2019
More than 100 members and stakeholders took part in the 24th annual meeting of the Quebec Community Groups Network on June 15-16.
NETWORK NEWS FEBRUARY 2019
QCGN Meets Premier Legault to Discuss Concerns of English-Speaking Community.
NETWORK NEWS NOVEMBER 2018
QCGN Takes English-Speaking Minority Community’s Concerns To Parliament Hill.
NETWORK NEWS SEPTEMBER 2018
English-Speaking Quebecers The Real Winners In First Ever Televised English Leaders’ Debate.
NETWORK NEWS JUNE 2018
Geoffrey Chambers becomes QCGN’s eighth president.
NETWORK NEWS APRIL 2018
James Shea meets with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly as well as our Francophone counterparts on March 28 as the government prepared to launch the Action Plan for Official Languages 2018-2023: Investing in Our Future.
NETWORK NEWS FEBRUARY-MARCH 2018
Community Shares Concerns and Expectations with Minister Weil.
NETWORKS NEWS DECEMBER 2017
Bonjour-Hi , New Secretariat , and Meeting with MNAs.
NETWORK NEWS NOVEMBER 2017
QCGN and Community Leaders Meet with Minister Weil
NETWORK NEWS APRIL 2017
Major conference on the integration of newcomers in Quebec’s English-speaking communities, Access to Justice in both official languages, Young Quebecers Leading the Way Project.
NETWORK NEWS FEBRUARY 2017
The QCGN has just received a letter from the Prime Minister unequivocally reiterating his personal commitment to the rights of our English language minority community and to those of the French language minority outside Quebec.
NETWORK NEWS DECEMBER 2016
Cross-Canada Official Languages Consultations, House Committee Report on Official Languages, Moving Closer to Provincial Liaison for English-speaking Community.
NETWORKS NEWS NOVEMBER 2016
QCGN delegation meets with Premier Couillard.
NETWORK NEWS SEPTEMBER 2016
Parliament marks imminent departure of Commissioner Fraser, Consultation on the Next Action Plan for Official Languages.
NETWORK NEWS JUNE 2016
The QCGN’s new President James Shea and Director General Sylvia Martin-Laforge bid a fond farewell to QCGN outgoing President Dan Lamoureux during the Network’s annual general meeting on June 3.