Announcing details of the new federal Action Plan for Official Languages, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau singles out French speakers as the only minority group in danger in Canada. “We remain concerned that the French-language charter (of Quebec) is included” in the dramatically reformulated Official Languages Act, Bill C-13, which currently incorporates Quebec’s Bill 96 and is expected to be adopted in the House of Commons, responds Eva Ludvig, president of the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN). Ludvig also expresses concern that under the Action Plan, Ottawa must negotiate with Quebec to govern allocation of the fresh federal funding: “Historically, this has not worked out well for the English-speaking community.”
Tag Archive for: Justin Trudeau
Ottawa, April 26, 2023 – The Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) welcomes the Government
of Canada’s new Action Plan for Official Languages 2023–2028: Protection-Promotion-Collaboration, launched today by Official Languages Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor, accompanied by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The Prime Minister made special mention of the federal government’s continuing leadership role in protecting Quebec’s English-speaking communities: “We firmly believe that it is both possible and necessary to do more to protect the French language in Canada, including in Quebec; that the Government of Canada must continue to play a leadership role in protecting official language minority communities across Canada, including Quebec’s English-speaking communities; and that a coherent, coordinated, whole-of-government approach can foster collaboration, particularly with the provincial and territorial governments, to ensure broad support for the vitality of our two official languages.”
While Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s recent criticism of the use of the notwithstanding clause by the governments of Quebec and Ontario is admirable, “English-speaking Quebeckers remain worried that the federal government is embracing proactive use of the notwithstanding clause through its proposed update of the Official Languages Act,” reads a letter from QCGN President Eva Ludvig to The Globe and Mail.
Premier Legault’s recent Twitter outburst “should not deter the Trudeau government from seeking a Supreme Court of Canada ruling on the notwithstanding clause,” writes Joan Fraser, a former senator and editor in chief of the Montreal Gazette, as well as current QCGN board member.
Panelists suggest Trudeau’s support is motivated by ‘political calculation’
After more than a half-century of rising and falling tensions between Quebecers over the use of English and French, concerns are rising among stakeholders that some rights and protections Quebec anglophones fought for since the introduction of Bill 101 more than 40 years ago are threatened by Quebec’s proposed Bill 96 and changes to Ottawa’s Official Languages Act.
Some 25 years after an independence bid by Quebec almost broke Canada apart, a new push by the province to strengthen its French-speaking identity poses an awkward challenge for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau months before an expected election.
The Quebec Community Groups Network, which seeks to defend anglophones, said Legault’s proposed measures “override fundamental human rights and will erode the vitality of our English-speaking minority community.”
In his first comments since the announcement of Quebec’s most notable language reforms in decades, Mr. Trudeau said Tuesday that the province can amend part of the Constitution to underscore that it is a nation and that its official language is French – adding that both things have already been recognized by the federal government.
In Quebec, the Quebec Community Groups Network expressed concern through a spokesperson.
Former Liberal senator Joan Fraser, speaking as a member of the network’s board of directors, said the organization supports the protection, promotion and preservation of the French language and culture in Quebec, but view Bill 96 as veering into the suppression of English rights.
Quebec Premier Francois Legault’s claim that his province can unilaterally change Canada’s constitution to recognize Quebec as a nation and French as its only official and common language has suddenly become a lot more serious.
That’s because the support of the Canadian government would be needed to approve it and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appears to already be on side.
But Marlene Jennings, leader of the Quebec Community Groups Network, a coalition of Anglophone organizations, says Bill 96 sets a dangerous precedent.
Par Mario Polèse, professeur émérite à l’Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS)
Je crois rêver : Justin Trudeau donne son appui à la loi 101. Son lieutenant québécois, Pablo Rodriguez, nous annonce pas moins qu’un « changement de paradigme », la fin, si j’ai bien compris, de la conception symétrique des deux langues officielles, principe cher à Trudeau père.
La ministre Mélanie Joly nous dit que la promotion du français sera un élément clé de la modernisation promise de la Loi sur les langues officielles. Le Parti conservateur n’est pas en reste. Son nouveau chef, Erin O’Toole, se dit favorable à soumettre les entreprises à charte fédérale à la loi 101 et à l’accroissement des pouvoirs du Québec en matière d’immigration.
Read more (In French only)
Par Serge Joyal, sénateur à la retraite
L’auteur s’adresse au premier ministre du Canada, Justin Trudeau.
Je prends l’initiative de vous écrire parce que je crois personnellement que la situation à laquelle vous êtes confronté remet en cause la conception même du Canada, et les principes sur lesquels il est fondé.
Depuis les derniers mois, il y a une offensive orchestrée au Québec par les partis et mouvements indépendantistes, et des groupes nationalistes pour amener le gouvernement canadien à soumettre à la loi 101 les agences et entreprises à charte fédérale. Celles-ci représentent à peine 4 % de la main-d’œuvre, une proportion somme toute minime. Le but est de contrer ce qu’on estime être un « déclin du français » à Montréal, qui sévirait dans les commerces du centre-ville.
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