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Transfer of school to French-language network: English-speaking community worried

The Minister of Education’s decision to force the transfer of an English school to the French-language network worries the English-speaking community of West Island, which fears for the respect of its rights guaranteed by the Charter under the Legault government.

“We have the right to have our institutions, rights that are established in the constitution. It seems the minister does not see these rights as important,” says the president of the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN), which represents more than 50 English-language community organizations.

The same goes for the Quebec English School Boards Association. “We may think that this is an affront to our powers to manage and control our schools,” adds its managing director, Russell Copeman.

The Journal revealed Monday that the Minister of Education, Jean-François Roberge, will use a power rarely evoked in the Education Act to require the transfer of the Riverdale High School from the Lester B. Pearson School Board. to the Marguerite-Bourgeoys School Board (CSMB). The English-language facility is only used at half capacity, while the CSMB is overflowing with the influx of newcomers to the area.

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No plans to bring back English signs at Lachute hospital

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.

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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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Quebec opens sweeping investigation into EMSB mismanagement allegations

Calling the situation “serious and troubling,” the Quebec government has launched a sweeping administrative investigation into allegations of chronic mismanagement and ethical transgressions at the English Montreal School Board.

But Education Minister Jean-François Roberge has denied the inquiry is a political move designed to intimidate the board, which is among many that oppose the government’s plans to transform boards into service centres.

“They are two totally separate issues,” Roberge told reporters, announcing what will be a nine-month “exhaustive” inquiry into the EMSB with a report due in the minister’s hands by Sept. 10.

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Radio Noon Montreal: Does it matter to you what language the signs are in at the Lachute Hospital?

Administrators there have been removing English from signs. They say they have no choice after a directive from the OQLF (Office Québécois de la langue française).

Radio Noon Montreal host Shawn Apel talks with Geoffrey Chambers of the Quebec Community Groups Network and other guests and callers.

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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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CAQ MNA promises action on Lachute hospital signage, walks back comments 17 hours later

Premier François Legault’s point man on relations with English-speaking Quebecers appears to have broken rank on Thursday night, saying he’s working privately to resolve a language dispute at the Lachute hospital.

MNA Christopher Skeete wrote on Twitter that he has been in contact with the health and culture ministers offices and suggested those concerned should “stay tuned.”

“The (premier) is correct that we must respect our laws, but healthcare is a different ball game,” Skeete said.

“Especially in areas like Lachute where we have a 17 per cent English-speaking population.”

Quebec’s language watchdog ordered the hospital last month to remove the English signs that say “emergency” and “parking” around the hospital, prompting outcry from local mayors.

Earlier Thursday, Legault said he would not protect the English signs, explaining that “Bill 101 must be protected.”

 

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Legault defends removal of bilingual signs in Lachute hospital

Quebec Premier François Legault is defending an order forcing a hospital in Lachute to remove its bilingual signs.

It comes after the Office quebecois de la langue francaise, which enforces the province’s French language charter, recently contacted the hospital and told it take down English signs inside and outside the facility.

Asked about the decision Thursday in Montreal, Legault said the change is necessary.

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

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Quebec premier backs order telling Lachute hospital to ditch English signs

After the Office québécois de la langue française mandated a Lachute hospital remove its English-language signage, Quebec Premier François Legault says he doesn’t see the importance of bilingual signage.

“They weren’t respecting the law. Bill 101 has to be respected; that’s what we will do,” Legault told reporters.

“Anglophones will keep on having the right to have services in education, in healthcare… so I don’t see the importance of having bilingual signs.”

The Quebec Community Groups Network disagrees with Legault’s stance.

“It’s a clear violation of the law and his interpretation is mistaken,” QCGN president Geoffrey Chambers reacted.

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Anglo advocates vexed by decision to remove English from Lachute hospital signs

Critics are panning the decision to remove English from signage at the Lachute hospital, calling the move concerning and upsetting.

The regional health authority, the CISSS-des-Laurentides, announced last month that it was removing the signage to be in line with Quebec’s language law, Bill 101.

CBC News first reported that nine Lachute-area mayors are opposing the decision, calling it “deeply disappointing.”

The Liberal critic for relations with English-speaking Quebecers, Greg Kelley, says he understands why people in the lower Laurentians are upset.

“We heard feedback right away from that community, people calling our riding office, flagging things on social media,” said Kelley. “They’re extremely upset and concerned.”

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