It is more important to understand why there is a difference in reporting anxiety levels among Quebecers than to deflect, writes Jack Jedwab, President of the Association for Canadian Studies (ACS). An ACS/QCGN survey reveals that some 34 per cent of Quebec anglophones know someone who has been diagnosed with the virus compared with 21 per cent of francophones.That partly explains the differences in levels of anxiety felt by anglophones and francophones, Jedwab writes. Read more
A new poll shows that English speakers in Quebec are significantly more worried about COVID-19 than French speakers, and are almost twice as likely to wear a mask. Faced with these numbers on Wednesday, Legault lashed out at English-language media, saying at a press conference that the Montreal Gazette in particular “has a certain responsibility.” Read more
In the mist of an important internal crisis, the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) accused the CAQ government Monday of leading a “clandestine” campaign in an attempt to “destabilize” it.
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Premier François Legault rejects allegations his government is attempting to destabilize the leadership of the Quebec Community Groups Network, writes Philip Authier of The Montreal Gazette.
Many prominent members of the English-speaking community criticize difficult relations with the Legault government, saying it’s “disconnected”. At the heart of the problem lies a lack of empathy towards minorities. “It’s very very concerning”, says QCGN president, Geoffrey Chambers.
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In his weekly column in The Montreal Gazette, Don Macpherson argues that Premier François Legault makes a case against his government’s proposal to abolish school boards by implying that English boards should be abolished because they can go to court to defend the English-speaking community’s schools.
Montreal – February 15, 2019 – Meeting with Premier François Legault on Friday for the first time since his election in October, the Quebec Community Groups Network called upon the Coalition Avenir Québec government to work in a collaborative environment to ensure a more vital and sustainable future for English-speaking Quebecers.
In a cordial face-to-face meeting, QCGN representatives told Premier Legault, who is the Minister Responsible for Relations with English-speaking Quebecers, that our community is concerned about the zealous application of the Charter of the French Language, including a demand to remove English signage in hospitals. Members of our diverse community are also deeply troubled over the proposed ban on religious symbols.
Montreal – January 28, 2019 – A steady stream of assurances that the government of Quebec Premier François Legault is taking the interests of Quebec’s English-speaking community into account has been contradicted by its actions – this time with the abrupt elimination of Riverdale High School from our English-language school system.
“While the Quebec government talks quite positively and in an often encouraging way about respecting community interests, to all appearances they don’t understand minority-language rights. Or they simply don’t care,” Geoffrey Chambers, president of the Quebec Community Groups Network, declared following today’s announcement.
The immensely disruptive process to force dispersal of Riverdale’s 450 English-language students across the remainder of the Lester B. Pearson School Board network, before the next school years begins, is clearly improper, Chambers added: “It disregards long-accepted school-shutdown policy, which for good reason requires public consultation as part of a thoughtful, judicious 18-month process. For the Quebec government to sidestep the rules in its own education act by exercising an extraordinary power (invoking Art. 477.1.1 of La Loi sur l’instruction publique) is dangerously destabilizing and ill-advised.”
“The government is using a hammer here, and we have to wonder where and how they will next grab it,” Chambers said: “Riverdale may mean there will be more pre-emptive exercise of ministerial power, despite all their soft words. It certainly suggests the so-called new service centres to replace school boards will be unable to protect community interests.”
Christopher Skeete, the MNA responsible for relations with English-speaking Quebecers, says the province will stand its ground when it comes to bilingual signage at a Lachute hospital.
“I think the premier was quite clear in his statements that we’re going to be supporting the decision that happened there,” said Skeete.
“But at the same token, we should never forget this has no incidence on services that are being rendered to the English-speaking population.”
Earlier this month, a decision from the Lachute hospital caused an uproar.
After a meeting from the Office québécoise de la langue française (OQLF), the hospital decided to remove English-language signage from its facility.
The Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) believes the government is being too strict with their interpretation of the province’s French-language charter.
Recent events in French-speaking Ontario have led to some comparisons between what Franco-Ontarians and English-speaking Quebecers live with daily. At first glance, their situations are very different. But the English-speaking community also has its demands.
First, the President of the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN), Geoffrey Chambers, is keen to support the latest demands of Franco-Ontarians against decisions made by the Ford government. The former Alliance Quebec member rebukes them.
For those who think that the basket of recriminations is empty for English-speaking, this is not so.
The representative of the network of 58 English-speaking organizations across Quebec agrees that “interests may be different from one region to another”. There are surely differences between a region such as Quebec, which has a population of nearly 15,000 English-speaking Quebecers and Montreal. That city has some 600,000 people who master the language of Leonard Cohen, according to the 2018 figures of the Quebec’s Institut de la statistique.
In 2019, Geoffrey Chambers sees three points on which the QCGN will have to remain vigilant. During the campaign trail, the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) indicated its intention of abolishing school boards. This decision will not be accepted if it affects English school boards, as they are important for the survival of many communities.
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