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Senate committee highlights key points in language reform document

Prior to the federal government tabling Bill C-32, an Act for the Substantive Equality of French and English and the Strengthening of the Official Languages Act, the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages studied the original proposed reform document.

Although they were unable to meet in the senate, the committee managed to hold two meetings to study the divisive document, working with federal minister responsible for official languages, Mélanie Joly, and the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN).

And while the QCGN acknowledged the importance of protecting French language minority communities in Canada, they also voiced concerns about the effects the reform document would have on the English language minority population in Quebec.

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Bill C-32 as seen by Quebec Anglophones

Bill C-32, which amends the Official Languages Act, has been welcomed by groups representing francophone communities outside Quebec. For Quebec Anglophones, the reception has been much more mixed, although most of their concerns are focused on the Quebec government’s Bill 96 (the reform of Bill 101).

Francopresse spoke – in French – with Marlene Jennings, President of the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN).

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Joly, Skeete address language “anxiety”

Federal minister of official languages Mélanie Joly and MNA Christopher Skeete, parliamentary assistant to Premier François Legault for relations with English-speaking Quebecers, are trying to reassure members of the English-speaking community concerned about recently tabled language legislation.
Skeete and Joly spoke on June 22 during a conference organized by the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) entitled “Our Place in Quebec and Canada.”
he QCGN has expressed objections to Bill 96, stating that the bill “creates a rights-free zone” in the name of the protection of French and places tough compliance obligations on small businesses and on some court litigants.

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OFFICIAL LANGUAGES: A MIXED RECORD

Anglo-Quebecers also reject Bill C-32, but on completely different grounds than the Bloc Québécois.

The asymmetrical approach of Bill C-32, which recognizes French as the more endangered of the country’s two official languages, is “a clear attack on the equality of Canada’s official languages,” according to the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN)

“Traditionally, the Official Languages Act gave life to constitutional official language rights. These rights largely define the relationship between Canadians and our federal government. The Act was founded on the principle that English and French are equal in law,” the QCGN said in a statement released earlier this week.

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Hanes: QCGN conference reveals game plan for opposing Bill 96

Quebec anglophones have always walked a tightrope when it comes to asserting our rights.

This is the conundrum Quebec’s English-speaking community is up against in what may be the fight of our lives — even after 50 long years of language wars.

The two bills — Bill 96 and Bill C-32 — were the subjects of a virtual conference Tuesday titled Our Place in Quebec and Canada. Organized by the Quebec Community Groups Network, the main umbrella group representing anglophones in the province, the event revealed the game plan for opposing Bill 96, which was introduced in May but won’t be the subject of consultations until fall.

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What will new language bills mean for English-speaking Quebecers? Advocacy groups aims to find out

An English-rights advocacy group is looking into what Quebec’s Bill 96 and Ottawa’s Bill C-32 will mean for the province’s English-speaking community.

The Quebec Community Groups Network hosted a conference Tuesday morning with participants from both Ottawa and Quebec taking part.

Federal Official Languages Minister Melanie Joly defended Bill C-32, which includes the strengthening of the Official Languages Act.

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Official Languages Act reform draws mixed reviews

Earlier this week the Government of Canada introduced its proposed update of the Official Languages Act, Bill C-32. If passed, the bill will result in the first changes made to the act since 1988, but in the days since its introduction, the proposed legislation has already drawn criticism from a number of groups including the Quebec Community Groups Network and its member organization, Townshippers’ Association.

Bill C-32 was introduced on Tuesday by Melanie Joly, Canada’s Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages as a clear demonstration of the Federal Government’s commitment to five specific language communities: French speakers outside Quebec, English speakers inside Quebec, French speakers in Quebec, English speakers outside Quebec, and Indigenous language communities.

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Townshippers’ Association reacts to Bill C-32

In reaction to the tabling of Bill C-32, Townshippers’ Association issued a press release recognizing that while the legislation goes a long way in terms of increasing the recognition and support of Canada’s French-speaking communities inside and outside of Quebec, Quebec’s English-speaking minority community has cause to remain deeply concerned. “How will this piece of legislation be effective in the face of provincial legislation like Bill 96 that relegates our community to second class citizenship without recourse before the courts?” asks Townshippers’ President Gerald Cutting.

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QCGN Statement on Government of Canada’s Proposed Changes to the Official Languages Act

The Quebec Community Groups Network recognizes the federal bill tabled this morning in the House of Commons to amend the Official Languages Act for what it is – a clear attack on the equality of Canada’s official languages.

Traditionally, the Official Languages Act has given life to constitutional official language rights. These rights define much of the relationship between Canadians and our federal government. The Act has been grounded on the principle that English and French are equal in law.

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