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Protection du français: Québec devance Mélanie Joly

Le gouvernement Legault dévoile sa position en vue de la modernisation de la Loi sur les langues officielles.

Le gouvernement Legault prend Mélanie Joly de vitesse. Avant même que la ministre fédérale ait déposé sa très attendue réforme de la Loi sur les langues officielles, Québec réclame que seul le français soit reconnu comme ayant besoin d’être protégé au Canada.

Depuis plusieurs mois, la pression monte afin que la Loi sur les langues officielles, vieille de 50 ans, soit réformée comme Justin Trudeau s’est engagé à le faire.

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Editorial: Protecting Canada’s linguistic minorities

What Quebec is seeking is, essentially, for the federal government to abandon its role in promoting linguistic duality across Canada.

For English-speaking Quebecers, there is much that is alarming in the Quebec government’s vision of how the federal Official Languages Act should be modernized.

What Quebec is seeking from Ottawa is, essentially, for the federal government to abandon its role in promoting linguistic duality across Canada. Not only that, it is calling for an end to the Official Languages Act’s approach of symmetry between the country’s official language minorities.

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Statement from the Commissioner of Official Languages on the Government of Quebec’s position on the modernization of the Official Languages Act

Gatineau, Quebec – Commissioner of Official Languages Raymond Théberge made the following statement today:

“Today, I learned of the Quebec government’s position on the modernization of the Official Languages Act. I am pleased to see that the two levels of government are working together amicably to modernize the Act.

I believe that the situation of the French language in Canada is truly unique. Protecting the language and culture of more than 8 million French-speaking Canadians in a sea of more than 300 million English-speaking North Americans is a major challenge. However, it is fundamental to Canada’s linguistic duality and cultural identity.

The Official Languages Act protects the right of all Canadians to receive services in the official language of their choice, and these rights are guaranteed for both English-speaking Canadians and French-speaking Canadians.

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Minority language groups find “surprising level of consensus” in call for Official Languages Act renewal

Carrying on a process that has been happening in the background of federal and provincial political discussions for the last three years or so, the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN), the Assemblée de la francophonie de l’Ontario (AFO), and the Société de l’Acadie du Nouveau-Brunswick (SANB) have been on tour since the summer trying to get the modernization of Canada’s Official Languages Act to be a priority for the country’s next government.”The Official Languages Act really needs to be brought up to date,” said Geoffrey Chambers, President of the QCGN, in a group interview with The Record last week. Joined by Carol Jolin, President of the AFO, and Ali Chaisson, Executive Director of the SANB, the QCGN president echoed words previously related by Raymond Théberge, Canada’s Commissioner of Official Langauges, in saying that the 50 year old piece of legislation is long overdue for an overhaul.

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Minority language groups band together to demand language act revamp

The QCGN, the Assemblée de la francophonie de l’Ontario and the Société de l’Acadie du Nouveau-Brunswick are teaming up to demand parties involved in the Oct. 21 federal election commit to strengthening the Official Languages Act by imposing stiffer sanctions on offenders.  “There’s a high degree of consensus on what should be done with the act. We would like that consensus converted into an undertaking by the parties in the election, and then an actual adoption of measures in the new parliament,” Geoffrey Chambers, president of the QCGN, told the Montreal Gazette in an editorial board interview on Thursday.

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Official Languages, a “Record Skipping” for 50 years?

Marking the 50th anniversary of Canada’s Official Languages Act, Radio-Canada takes an in-depth look at the vitality of Canada’s linguistic minority communities. Many issues are on the table for Quebec’s English-speaking community, says Geoffrey Chambers, president of the Quebec Community Groups Network. Among them, he adds, is the need for an administrative tribunal to give the Act additional teeth.

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English-speaking Quebec and the Modernization of the Official Languages Act

Brief Submitted to the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages
Study on Canadians’ Views about Modernizing the Official Languages Act

Founded in 1995, the QCGN is a not-for-profit organization linking more than 56 English- language community organizations across Quebec.

The Quebec Community Groups Network (“QCGN”) welcomes this opportunity to contribute to this Committee’s study on modernizing the Official Languages Act (“the Act”). In the spirit of modernization, the QCGN takes this opportunity to present a picture of the contemporary English-speaking community of Quebec. As this Committee noted in 2011, there are certain widely-held myths regarding this community. The QCGN hopes to contribute to a modernized understanding of this community and its role as a unique and important official language minority community in Canada. In this regard, the QCGN puts forward three propositions:

  1. 1)  The English-speaking community of Quebec is a unique official language minority community;
  2. 2)  The English-speaking community of Quebec has transformed into a diverse, bilingual and resilient community, but public perception has not kept pace;
  3. 3)  The vitality of the English-speaking community of Quebec does not threaten French in Quebec.

The Official Languages Act is a lifeline for English-speaking Quebec. The Act is the only language rights legislation that protects the interests of English-speaking Quebecers as a community. The Act sets out quasi-constitutional rights for English-speaking Quebecers, including the right to access federal services in English, the representation of English-speakers in the federal public service, and the right to work in English in the federal public service. Further, the Act provides the framework for much-needed financial support for the community’s institutions and networks.

In this brief, the QCGN presents proposals for a modernized Act.

Download Executive Summary (PDF)

Download Complete Brief (PDF)