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Comparisons between French Ontario and Quebec English: Que veulent les Québécois d’expression anglaise?

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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English-rights group says Legault is wrong about Bill 101 and hospitals

An English rights group says Quebec Premier François Legault’s interpretation of how Bill 101 applies to hospitals is wrong and is calling for an immediate meeting with the premier.

On Thursday, Legault defended a regional health authority’s removal of English words from signs at the hospital in Lachute, approximately 60 kilometres northwest of Montreal.

The hospital began covering up English words in December after the Office québécois de la langue française said the hospital was not following Quebec’s language laws. The hospital offers services in English and French.

“I think that we have to follow the law, and they weren’t respecting the law. Bill 101 has to be respected. That’s what we’ll do,” Legault said. “As you know, anglophones will keep on having the right to have services in education and health care, so I don’t see the importance of having bilingual signs.”

But the Quebec Community Group’s Network, which represents 53 English-language community organizations, disagrees.

“It’s senseless to argue that you have access to health and social services in English if you do not know where the services are located,” Geoffrey Chambers, the president of the QCGN said in a release. “Not to have clear signage is an obstacle to services. If you cannot find the service, it is not available to you.”

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English-speaking Community Will Not Abandon Schools Boards, QCGN Advises Premier

Montreal – December 14, 2018 – Quebec’s English-speaking community has absolutely no intention of heeding Premier François Legault’s advice that we abandon any plans to challenge the Coalition Avenir Quebec government’s scheme to abolish school boards and replace them with service centres.

Acknowledging that he and his Education Minister, Jean-François Roberge, have yet to discuss their plan with Quebec’s English-speaking community, the Premier told The Gazette yesterday that he is forging ahead with the controversial reform. Premier Legault dared to forecast that once service centres are in place, our community “will realize they lost nothing.”

“We disagree most emphatically,” the President of the Quebec Community Groups Network, Geoffrey Chambers, stated. “The Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling in Mahe v. Alberta was crystal clear.  The Court ruled that minority language communities have the right to control and manage the educational facilities in which their children are taught, to both ensure and enable that our language and culture can flourish.”

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At the Hockey Jersey Summit, different colours, same team

Quebec hasn’t just abandoned the French-speaking minorities in the other provinces. It’s also betrayed them.

In a familiar ritual as Canadian as drunken curlers, the premiers of Quebec and Ontario exchanged jerseys for the cameras before their first meeting in Toronto this week.

From Quebec, the business-as-usual mood of the visuals looked surreal, considering that François Legault had been expected to deliver a stern message to Doug Ford.

This province’s politico-media class was in an uproar over the Ford government’s cancellation of what would have been Ontario’s first all-French university, and abolition of the office of advocate for public services in French.

There was no question, however, of postponing until a happier time the friendly public exchange of the Canadiens and Maple Leafs jerseys personalized with the recipient’s name and his number in the order of his province’s premiers.

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Legault’s support of Franco-Ontarians is essential, and encouraging

Under normal circumstances, Quebec Premier François Legault might have found a lot in common with Doug Ford, his Ontario counterpart, during their first tête-à-tête in Toronto Monday.

Both are businessmen-turned-politicians who have arrived in power by unseating long-entrenched Liberal governments. Both are fiscal conservatives with populist tendencies. Both have concerns about immigration. Both are at odds with Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on major priorities. Both have threatened in their brief tenures to use the notwithstanding clause should the courts stand in the way of their legislative agendas.

But looming large over a meeting between the next-door neighbours, which was supposed to focus on strengthening economic ties, was the Ford government’s unfortunate decision last week to sacrifice the rights of Franco-Ontarians in the name of clawing its way out of a financial hole. In an economic update, the Ontario government cancelled plans for a francophone university and axed the province’s French-language commissioner, absorbing its functions into the ombudsman’s office.

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No designated minister for anglophones as Quebec premier vows to take on portfolio himself

‘It’s not a bad arrangement,’ says president of Anglo lobby group, the Quebec Community Groups Network.

Premier François Legault has not appointed a minister responsible for relations with English-speaking Quebecers — instead, taking on the position himself.

Legault, a former sovereignist, plans to handle the portfolio in conjunction with his role as premier and minister responsible for youth issues.

He has assigned Laval MNA Christopher Skeete to be his parliamentary secretary, charged with overseeing the province’s Secretariat for relations with English-speaking Quebecers.

Legault addressed anglophone Quebecers at his swearing-in ceremony, saying in English he plans to “govern in a respectful manner with the historical anglophone community.”

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Will anglos have a voice in government under François Legault’s plan?

As the former minister responsible for relations with English-speaking Quebecers, Kathleen Weil said the eradication of the ministerial position under the new government represents a step back for the English community.

Newly sworn-in Quebec Premier François Legault announced Thursday he would take responsibility for the dossier, and was naming Laval MNA Christopher Skeete as his parliamentary assistant, responsible for the Secretariat for relations with English-speaking Quebecers.

“The fact Premier Legault is taking on responsibility for relations with English-speaking Quebecers, I think it sends a positive message to the community,” Weil said. But as someone who served as a minister for eight years, Weil said she has seen first-hand how decisions and policies are made, and a ministerial position is crucial.

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QCGN Looks Forward to Working Together with Premier François Legault and his new cabinet

QCGN Looks Forward to Working Together with Premier François Legault and his new cabinet

Our community also looks forward to working with Christopher Skeete, the new Parliamentary Assistant in charge of the Secretariat for Relations


Montreal – October 18, 2018 – The Quebec Community Groups Network applauds Coalition Avenir Québec leader François Legault, who was sworn in as Quebec’s 32nd Premier on Thursday and looks forward to working with the new Premier and his new cabinet on key issues such as health and education.

QCGN President Geoffrey Chambers also extended the Network’s congratulations to Sainte-Rose MNA Christopher Skeete, who will be the voice of English-speaking Quebecers in Legault’s government. Switching to English halfway through his speech following the swearing-in ceremony, Premier Legault announced that Skeete will become Parliamentary Assistant in charge of the Secretariat for Relations with English-speaking Quebecers.

“We offer our assistance to Skeete and the new CAQ government so that they can better understand and represent the interests of English-speaking Quebecers across the province,” Chambers said, remarking that the QCGN has a variety of other immediate concerns, including the implementation of legislative guarantees that ensure access to health and social services and the future of English school boards.

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CAQ putting emphasis on team with election on horizon

“The Coalition Avenir Quebec is meeting in Ste. Adele this week to prepare for the spring session of the National Assembly — but more importantly, to lay the groundwork for this year’s provincial election.”

Coalition Avenir Québec leader François Legault presented Dr. Lionel Carmant as the potential candidate to be health minister in a CAQ government. Members of the party gathered in Ste. Adèle for a two-day meeting to prepare for the spring session. They also discussed some proposals for the election, such as a plan to abolish school boards which drew a lot of ire from English-language groups.

The QCGN said in a statement that the CAQ displayed little knowledge of the English-speaking community. The Quebec English School Boards Association also reacted to the plan.

Read the article on CTV News website

QCGN Leaders Disappointed by CAQ’s Position on Bill 14

Montreal, March 8, 2013 – The Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) and its members are disappointed that the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) and its leader François Legault have decided to support parts of Bill 14.  Specifically, we are concerned that they intend to support amendments to the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms that could weaken protections against linguistic discrimination by influencing how courts interpret the rest of the Charter.

“After careful examination of the bill with our members and community stakeholders it is the position of the QCGN that Bill 14 must be defeated in its entirety,” said QCGN President Dan Lamoureux, noting that the Liberal Party has indicated they will not support the Bill. That leaves the balance of power on this issue in the hands of the CAQ and its 19 Members of the National Assembly. “In order to ensure the bill is defeated it is essential that the CAQ, or at least some of their members, vote against it.”

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