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QCGN Welcomes Raymond Théberge, Canada’s New Commissioner of Official Languages

Download a copy of the press release in PDF

Montreal – December 13, 2017 – The Quebec Community Groups Network welcomes the appointment of Raymond Théberge as Canada’s 7th Commissioner of Official Languages whose nomination was officially endorsed by the House of Commons this afternoon.

“Commissioner Théberge takes the helm at a critical time for Canada’s Official Languages,” commented QCGN President James Shea, noting that Government of Canada will soon unveil its multi-year Action Plan on Official Languages; Treasury Board is conducting a ground-up review of Official Languages Regulations; and work to modernize the Official Languages Act, which will shortly turn 50 years old, has begun.

Théberge, who holds a doctorate in Linguistics from McGill University, has more than three decades of experience serving official language minority communities from leading positions in government, academia, and the community sector. During his confirmation process, Théberge stressed the importance of research, and a firm evidence-base upon which to protect, and build upon the language rights of Canadians. He is also committed to ensuring that the participation of English and French-speaking Canadians in the leadership of his new office, and visiting the English-speaking community of Quebec as a first order of business.

“Commissioner Théberge is now the leading advocate for Canada’s English- and French-speaking minority communities,” commented Shea, noting that the Commissioner’s job requires an equal understanding and commitment to both of Canada’s official language minority communities.

“We look forward to him visiting Quebec’s English-speaking communities and QCGN is duty-bound to helping him better understand the needs and challenges of our Community of Communities as well as the many enduring policy gaps that impact our community.”

Traditionally held alternately by a French-speaking and an English-speaking Canadian, Théberge is the third Francophone and first commissioner from outside Ontario and Quebec to be appointed to the post since it was created in 1970 to ensure the application of the Official Languages Act and to promote bilingualism and linguistic duality. The Commissioner, who reports directly to Parliament, is responsible for the full recognition and widespread use of English and French within Canadian society, as well as within federal institutions and other organizations subject to the Official Languages Act.  The Commissioner of Official Languages is appointed for a seven-year mandate.

“Over the past decade, the QCGN has built a close relationship with the Commissioner of Official Languages,” remarked QCGN Director General Sylvia Martin-Laforge. “This relationship was a critical part of key community victories, like the recent establishment of a Secretariat for Responsible for Relations with English-Speaking Quebecers, and helping us get access to the highest levels of the federal government to ensure English-speaking Quebec’s unique concerns and priorities are heard and understood by policy leaders.

“The Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages remains a key community ally and immense source of support, and we will continue to fully support their work,” said Martin-Laforge, extending our organization’s and our community’s appreciation to Interim Commissioner Ghislaine Saikaley and her team who have held down the fort since Graham Fraser retired a year ago after more than a decade of outstanding service.

Graham Fraser on the state of the English-speaking community in Quebec

Sylvia Martin-Laforge, Director General of the QCGN, participated in a panel discussion on the state of the English-speaking community in Quebec on Breakfast Television with host Laura Casella. The panel with Canada’s Commssioner of Official Languages, Graham Fraser; the VP of the Association for Canadian Studies, Jack Jedwab; and lawyer Harold Staviss, followed an interview with the Commissioner.

Watch the panel discussion
Watch the interview with Graham Fraser on BT Television

Quebec anglos need to push for their rights: Official Languages Commissioner

“Quebec anglophones, like French-speakers elsewhere in Canada, need to be vigilant about ensuring their rights and needs are respected, says Canada’s outgoing Commissioner of Official Languages.”

The Montreal Gazette editorial board interviewed Graham Fraser as he concludes his 10-year mandate as Commissioner of Official Languages.

Read more…

Official languages, “yes sir”

“Il en faut, de l’acharnement, pour occuper le siège de commissaire aux langues officielles dans ce pays : la défense des droits linguistiques des minorités, en particulier les francophones hors Québec, exige une volonté à toute épreuve.”

As Graham Fraser leaves office, Marco Fortier reviews the ten-year legacy of the exiting Commissioner of Official Languages. On the subject, QCGN Director General Sylvia Martin-Laforge mentions that linguistic rights are something that need to be used, to be kept alive. She thanks Graham for his last 10 years of service.

Read the article in Le Devoir

Quebec’s English-speaking Communities Need Support to Integrate Newcomers

Montreal – May 7, 2015

Quebec’s English-speaking minority community and Francophone minority communities outside Quebec need the support of the federal government to ensure they take full advantage of the positive impacts that immigration can have on them, said Commissioner of Official Languages, Graham Fraser, as he delivered in his 2014-2015 Annual Report released earlier today.

Read the full press release

Réactions aux commentaires du commissaire aux langues officielles

Plusieurs articles font état des réactions du milieu politique en ce qui a trait aux commentaires de Graham Fraser, ce dernier souhaitant que le Québec se dote d’un bureau des affaires anglophones. Il rappelle les difficultés que rencontrent les Québécois d’expression anglaise. L’on retrouve des textes sur les sites de CJAD News, CTV News Montreal et The Suburban.

Par ailleurs, The Gazette appuie fermement les propos du commissaire aux langues officielles dans un éditorial. Le journal affirme qu’une telle structure est plus nécessaire que jamais. Pour consulter cet éditorial, veuillez cliquer sur ce lien.

Federal language commissioner supports English affairs office for Quebec

The Suburban News

D’Arcy McGee MNA David Birnbaum, along with fellow anglophone MNAs Geoff Kelley and Kathleen Weil, do not support Official Languages Commissioner Graham Fraser’s proposal that the Quebec government create an office of anglophone affairs, according to reports.

The office would better serve the 600,000-strong community, says Fraser, who met with the three anglophone MNAs and came away with the impression there was “no indication” such an office would be created by this government.

Plus de services pour les Québécois d’expression anglaise

Il s’agit d’une entrevue de la directrice générale du QCGN Sylvia Martin-Laforge sur les ondes de Global News Montreal. Elle commente la sortie du commissaire aux langues officielles Graham Fraser pour ce qui concerne la mise sur pied d’un bureau pour les affaires anglophones.

Plus d’efforts demandés au Québec pour la minorité anglophone

Par Giuseppe Valiente, La Presse Canadienne

Le gouvernement du Québec a rejeté une nouvelle demande du commissaire aux langues officielles du Canada, Graham Fraser, de faire plus pour mieux servir la communauté anglophone minoritaire de la province.

En entrevue à La Presse Canadienne, Graham Fraser a dit avoir rencontré les trois libéraux anglophones du gouvernement provincial et a dit qu’il n’avait reçu «aucune indication» montrant que le gouvernement compte créer un bureau pour les affaires anglophones qui aurait comme tâche de s’occuper des préoccupations des 600 000 Québécois de langue anglaise.

Des groupes communautaires ne sont pas surpris de la réaction du gouvernement libéral, dont les actions et les paroles ne sont pas conséquentes, croient-ils.

Pour en lire plus…

 

Le rapport du commissaire aux langues officielles: Le QCGN encourage les plaintes qui assurent le respect de la loi

Press release

Montréal, le 7 octobre 2014 — Les plaintes donnent des résultats. Il s’agit d’un des principaux messages du rapport annuel 2013-14 du commissaire aux langues officielles, Graham Fraser, dévoilé aujourd’hui. Fraser souligne qu’une de ses tâches est d’examiner les cas caractérisés par un manquement aux droits et aux privilèges à l’endroit d’individus ou de groupes par les autorités fédérales.

Le thème du rapport est comment le commissaire Fraser fait en sorte que les institutions fédérales respectent la Loi sur les langues officielles, et ce, qu’il s’agisse d’un processus de résolution facilitée ou d’une intervention devant les tribunaux.

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