Our community has the Constitutional right to manage and control our schools. The Coalition Avenir Québec government has taken this right away from our English-speaking community – and together we must fight to take back this fundamental right. All nine of our English school boards along with the Quebec English School Boards Association have launched a legal challenge to quash Bill 40. This controversial legislation abolishes our democratically elected school boards and transforms them into government-controlled service centres. Our legal action declares that this upheaval of our education system contravenes our linguistic minority community’s right to manage and control our school system. This foundational right, under Section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, guarantees education in one of Canada’s two official languages. It is an essential element of linguistic duality, a cornerstone of our national identity. It took French parents in British Columbia five years to win another case that solidified minority-language education rights. Just like our West Coast counterparts, we are in this for the long haul. This is bound to be a long and costly fight. Please consider making a contribution to the Go Fund Me campaign to support this legal action to defend the Constitutional rights of Quebec’s English-speaking community and advance the minority-language rights of all Canadians. Any donation, big or small, is appreciated – but most importantly a large number of donors will unequivocally demonstrate to our governments that we believe in our rights and we will fight to protect them. Please contribute what you can and help us get the news out by sharing this appeal extensively throughout your networks.
Tag Archive for: Anglophones of Quebec
English-speaking Quebecers are more likely than francophones to be afraid of contracting COVID-19 and more likely to know an infected person, according to a new Léger Marketing survey. The survey, commissioned by the Quebec Community Groups Network and the Association for Canadian Studies, found 68 per cent of anglophones polled were afraid of contracting COVID-19, compared with 47 per cent of francophones. Read more
N’en déplaise au Bloc québécois, au Nouveau Parti démocratique et au Parti québécois, le commissaire aux langues officielles estime primordial que des projets menés par la communauté anglophone du Québec reçoivent un financement fédéral.
By Sam Allison, Special to The Gazette, April 30, 2011
MONTREAL – A good deal of ink has been spilled on Canada’s inability to form a national government. Most commentators assume that Canadians are divided, and that the election results reflect those divisions. Curiously, few seem to have noticed that Canada’s electoral system is partly responsible for our inability to form majority governments. Federal ridings are partly based on the provinces, rather than upon the demographic patterns of the nation.
Quebec is the big winner in this system of division. It has 75 out of 308 federal seats. The province has 21 per cent of the Canadian population but 24 per cent of the seats in Parliament – important in a tied Parliament. In addition, within the province, the largest ridings are the English-speaking ones.
English Canada in general and English Quebec in particular punch below their electoral weights. In an Opinion piece in The Gazette April 28, Linda Leith wrote that “anglos must make themselves heard.” But how can this happen in a skewed electoral system designed to ensure that French Canada punches above its electoral weight?
The Montreal Gazette, by Linda Leith
Linda Leith is president of the Quebec Community Groups Network, a non-profit, non-partisan group that represents the interests of English-speaking Quebecers.
As Canadians prepare to head to the polls next Monday, the Quebec Community Groups Network is questioning which party, which leaders and which candidates will best represent the interests of the English-speaking community of Quebec in Ottawa.
The concerns of that community, a group with specific challenges in finding its place in Quebec and Canada, have been largely ignored during this campaign. But as the races in many Quebec ridings heat up, all parties should be eager to court the almost one million votes held by Canadians who constitute the English-speaking minority of this province. In a tight race, our votes count.
Federal Elections 2011: QCGN seeks commitments from Federal parties
As Quebecers prepare to head to the polls on May 2, the Quebec Community Groups Network is asking federal parties, their leaders and their candidates in Quebec to make a firm commitment to fulfill the Federal Government’s duties to Quebec’s English-speaking communities.
The Goverment of Canda has an obligation under the Official Languages Act to enhance the vitality of the English-speaking Community of Quebec, to support our communities and to assist in their development. It also has the duty to ensure that Canadians can enjoy their Constitutional language rights.
”As Federal leaders and Quebec candidates hit the campaign trail, the QCGN wants to ensure they understand their obligations and that they are willing to support and assist in the development of English-speaking communities with concrete measures” said QCGN president Linda Leith.
For Immediate Release
Federal Elections 2011: QCGN Seeks Commitments From Federal Parties
Monday, April 11, 2011 – As Quebecers prepare to head to the polls on May 2, the Quebec Community Groups Network is asking federal parties, their leaders and their candidates in Quebec to make a firm commitment to fulfill the Federal Government’s duties to Quebec’s English-speaking communities.
The Government of Canada has an obligation under the Official Languages Act to enhance the vitality of the English-speaking Community of Quebec, to support our communities and to assist in their development. It also has the duty to ensure that Canadians can enjoy their Constitutional language rights.
“As Federal leaders and Quebec candidates hit the campaign trail, the QCGN wants to ensure they understand their obligations and that they are willing to support and assist in the development of English-speaking communities with concrete measures,” said QCGN president Linda Leith. “English-speaking Quebecers are not concerned about the survival of their language, but the vitality of their communities,” she added. “Our communities are under stress in all major indicators of vitality including education, economic opportunity, youth retention, senior care, access to health and social services, poverty and renewal.”
Those concerns were corroborated by a recent report by the Senate Committee on Official Languages. The report states that Quebec’s English-speaking Community is one of two Official Language Minority Communities in Canada and that the Federal Government has an obligation under the Official Languages Act and the Constitution to enhance the vitality of our communities. The Senators, who spoke to more than two dozen English community groups and numerous government and outside experts over a span of almost two years, concluded the Federal Government is not adequately meeting its responsibilities to enhance the vitality of Quebec’s English-speaking minority.
Leith said this federal election is particularly important to Quebec’s English-speaking Communities because work has begun on the Government of Canada’s next five-year strategy that sets priorities for Official Minority Language Communities. “It is therefore imperative that our community knows that federal leaders are listening to our concerns,” she said, noting the QCGN wants to ensure that English-speaking communities get access to a complete range of federal policies and programs that take into account the specific needs and challenges.
Last week, the QCGN forwarded a questionnaire to the main parties asking them to state what their parties plan to do for our community, said Leith, noting the QCGN will publish the results of the questionnaire on its website and will follow through once the election is over.
The Quebec Community Groups Network (www.qcgn.ca) is a not-for-profit organization bringing together 36 English-language community organizations across Quebec. Its mission is to identify, explore and address strategic issues affecting the development and vitality of English-speaking Quebec and to encourage dialogue and collaboration among its member organizations, individuals, community groups, institutions and leaders.
For further information: Rita Legault, Director of Communications, firstname.lastname@example.org
Telephone: 514-868-9044, ext. 223, cellular: 514-912-6555
– Matthew Farfan
About a hundred participants crowded the seventh floor of Concordia University’s Hall Building this past Saturday for a conference called “Ways of Memory: the Montreal Experience.”
The one-day event was organized by the Quebec Anglophone Heritage Network (QAHN) in partnership with the the Greater Montreal Community Development Initiative (GMCDI), with assistance from the Quebec English-Speaking Communities Research Network (QUESCREN), Concordia’s Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling, and the Quebec Association for Adult Learning. Financial support came from the Department of Canadian Heritage and GMCDI.
The conference got under way with an address by Helen Fotopulos, Montreal city councillor for the Côte-des-Neiges District and member of the city’s executive committee responsible for culture, heritage and women’s issues.
Fotopulos, who has been involved in numerous files pertaining to culture and heritage, congratulated QAHN for this networking initiative.
“The proposed new provincial law,” Fotopulos said, “includes heritage that is intangible, cultural. My wish for today is that we look beyond traditional definitions of heritage to heritage that is less concrete and more intangible.”
Following Fotopulos’ speech, a keynote presentation was given by Dinu Bumbaru, policy director of Heritage Montreal, which Bumbaru referred to as a “promoter of heritage rather than a protector” — the real protectors, he said, being property owners and governments.
Bumbaru, whose name is practically a household word in Montreal, and who has been the public face of Heritage Montreal for nearly twenty years, spoke of how the concept of heritage has evolved since the 1960s, and of how Montrealers’ views have evolved along with it.
The first great heritage preservation movement in the city, Bumbaru explained, was the “Save the Mountain” petition of the nineteenth century.
Bumbaru spoke of the sometimes divergent, culturally-rooted views of heritage in the 1800s, pointing out the differences in outlook between English-speaking and French-speaking Montrealers. “The first architecture chair in Canada was created at McGill, which was, after all, the only university on the island to not have Jesuit affiliations.”
Cultural differences notwithstanding, Bumbaru said, over time, the understanding of what constitutes heritage has changed dramatically — especially over the past few decades. Increasingly, he said, we have become aware that while single buildings are important, “the forest is more important than the single tree.” In other words, neighbourhoods can be as important, or even more important, than buildings.”
Like Fotopulos, Bumbaru emphasized the importance of Quebec’s expanded definition of what constitutes heritage. He outlined some of the spheres of activity that Heritage Montreal has focused on, including, of course, built and archaeological heritage, but landscape and memorial aspects of our heritage, as well.
“Landscape heritage,” Bumbaru explained, includes many things — things such as a tree-lined street, which is more important than one tree. “One tree is not so important; you need a whole row of them. Just like the staircases on the Plateau. You need to preserve the whole row.”
In terms of “memorial heritage,” Bumbaru cited a few more examples. The concept, he said, can include whatever involves the collective memory of the city — everything from a popular or ethnically-rooted tradition (the St. Patrick’s Day parade, for example), to the name of a street or neighbourhood (Griffintown, for example), to a specific business or landmark (Schwartz’s Deli or the Montreal Bagel Factory, for instance).
The new provincial definition of heritage even encompasses institutions, Bumbaru said. “So the Royal Montreal Curling Club, which is the oldest sports association in the Americas, would be recognized as a part of our heritage.”
Clearly then, it would seem that there is a growing sense that heritage should and does constitute much more than the brick and stone and mortar that make up lovely old buildings.
Following Bumbaru’s talk, there followed a series of well-attended workshops dealing with everything from heritage resources in Montreal to digital storytelling techniques.
At lunch, an award was presented by QAHN president Kevin O’Donnell to Montreal architect and pioneer heritage conservationist Michael Fish, who has championed the conservation of some of Montreal’s greatest heritage landmarks, buildings such as Windsor Station and the Grey Nuns Convent on René Lévesque Boulevard.
Fish, who co-founded Save Montreal in 1974, said that early in his career he came to realize that it was more expensive to demolish old buildings and build modern ones in their place than to restore and renovate existing structures. This, he said, along with his appreciation for heritage architecture (of course), was why he became such an ardent conservationist.
One of Fish’s current campaigns involves the conservation of the dilapidated Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine Mansion, whose present owner would like to demolish the building and replace it with a housing development.
“Many historians would agree,” Fish said, “that for his role in the establishment of responsible government in British North America, Lafontaine deserves to be considered one of North America’s most important political figures. We need much more than just a statue and a tunnel named after him. We need a Mount Vernon!”
To preserve Lafontaine’s house, Fish said, Montreal needs to recognize the portion of the large lot that the Lafontaine House sits on, which represents about 1 per cent of the total property, as “a condominium house.”
Following lunch, conference participants again divided into workshops, where topics ranged from Montreal heritage and schools to oral history and new media techniques.
“Ways of Memory: the Montreal Experience” wrapped up with a series of lively panel discussions on new initiatives, including a presentation by QAHN of the Montreal Mosaic WebMagazine, launched in 2010 by QAHN, GMCDI, and several other partners.
Judging by the positive feedback after the conference, participants were delighted with the event, which they found to be interesting, stimulating, and entertaining. Summing up that sentiment, QAHN’s Kevin O’Donnell called the conference “an outstanding success.” Participants, he said, “unanimously praised the high quality of the workshops, both in the Hall Building and next door at the Oral History Centre. Many said they needed to split themselves in two or more to take in everything that interested them.”
For more photos of the conference, click here.
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.
For Immediate Release
Montreal – March 18, 2011 – More than five dozen seniors and representatives from institutions and community groups from across Quebec gathered today to take the first important steps towards the creation of a provincial network for English-speaking seniors. The establishment of such a network was the main recommendation set out in a QCGN report published last spring entitled Blazing a Trail for Active and Healthy Aging — An Action Plan for Quebec’s English-speaking Seniors – and the top recommendation of almost 300 repondents in a survey of active seniors and caregivers in our community.
“Our support for a seniors network also stems from the QCGN’s Strategic Plan which aims to promote inter-community and inter-institutional collaboration and to increase awareness of existing resources available to English-speaking Quebec,” said QCGN Director General Sylvia Martin-Laforge, noting that it is also in line with the QCGN’s mandate to promote the vitality of English-speaking communities across Quebec. Read more…