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Bonjour-Hi: Couillard repents, but anglo group too furious to forgive

“Accused in writing of participating in an exercise that heaped scorn on the English-speaking community, Premier Philippe Couillard has moved to patch up relations in the wake of the Bonjour-Hi debacle.”

Premier Philippe Couillard moved to patch up relations with English-speaking Quebecers in the wake of the Bonjour-Hi debacle after receiving a letter from the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN).

Sources confirmed that the letter landed in Couillard’s mail Tuesday, sparking his comments in the legislature Thursday and an unscheduled afternoon interview with Montreal radio station CJAD. During question period Couillard admitted his government underestimated the negative impact the debate would have on the English-speaking community.

Read the article on the Montreal Gazette website

Parti Québécois Leader Admits “Bonjour-Hi” Ban Was “A Trap” To Make Other Politicians Look Bad

“Jean-François Lisée, leader of the Parti Quebecois, the political party who started the “Bonjour-Hi” debacle that took over the province, revealed the party’s true intentions behind the bill to denounce the iconic bilingual greeting.”

Read the article published on MTL Blog

Couillard says Liberals are ready to rumble as election countdown begins

“The Liberals have 312 days ahead to prove they merit the renewed confidence of Quebecers and the party is up to the task, Premier Philippe Couillard said Friday.”

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard appeared in campaign mode as he addressed voters and his party at the Quebec Liberal Party convention. Couillard said the Liberals are prepared to create a Quebec that is modern, welcoming, able to overcome obstacles and without limits in his opening speech. The party convention begun the day after Couillard delivered on the promise of creating a Secretariat dedicated to English-speaking Quebecers.

The QCGN welcomed the initiative and applauded the choice of William Floch to head the new Secretariat. However, they calling it “a small, albeit promising” first step to ensure the concerns of English-speakers are heard in the government machine. They thought the $1-million budget allocated to its operations might not be enough to make an important step forward.

Read the article in the Montreal Gazette

Community Leaders Ready to Assist Kathleen Weil, Quebec’s new Minister Responsible for Relations with English-speaking Quebecers

Montreal – November 6, 2017 – Kathleen Weil, the new Minister Responsible for Relations with English-speaking Quebecers, expressed her commitment to making a difference for the province’s minority community and the Quebec Community Groups Network stands ready to work with her.

To engage with the English-speaking community, the provincial government must make investments in policy capacity in key sectors and regions, the QCGN told the minister as she sat down this morning with a delegation of 14 community leaders to discuss her new role.

“Since 2013, the QCGN has advocated for the establishment of a formal mechanism within the Government of Quebec that our minority community could work with to improve our vitality for the benefit of all Quebecers,” commented QCGN President James Shea, remarking that the QCGN is pleased that Premier Philippe Couillard has named Weil and tasked her with creating a Secretariat.

“Quebec now joins all other Canadian provinces and territories in creating a well-structured, and credible organization, resourced to make a difference in its linguistic minority community,” Shea told Minister Weil, noting that the QCGN expects “a robust and capable Secretariat that will withstand the test of changing governments.”

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Kathleen Weil has long history of serving English-speaking Quebecers

“For Kathleen Weil, it was one of those ‘Mom would be proud’ moments of her life. The mother who made her daughter wear green ribbons in her hair to school on St. Patrick’s Day was very proud of her family’s Irish and Scottish roots, Weil said in an interview with the Montreal Gazette.”

Following the nomination of Kathleen Weil as minister responsible for relations with English-speaking Quebeckers, political columnist Philip Authier interviewed her to get a better sense of her expectations on the job. She had to defend her credentials to take on the job, especially since it’s the first time a Liberal government has created such a position.

Her past experiences as director of legal affairs at the now-defunct anglophone rights group Alliance Quebec was also mentioned. Geoffrey Chambers, vice-president of the QCGN, said it’s important for the English-speaking community to have someone that they can talk to.

Read the article on Montreal Gazette’s website

Cabinet shuffle: Couillard hopes fresh blood helps rejuvenate Liberals

“Premier Philippe Couillard’s Wednesday cabinet shuffle, designed to give the aging Liberal regime a mix of new youthful panache and sage management, is in reality a calculated attempt to put out the numerous brush fires endangering the Liberal brand.”

Quebec’s anglophone lobby, the QCGN, wanted a greater direct voice in decision-making. They now have a minister in the cabinet, Kathleen Weil. Although Couillard’s shuffle seems to be solving most problems he had during his mandate, it’s seen as a rejuvenated technique to boost on Quebecers’ desire for change.

One big news in the shuffle was Couillard’s decision to act on a promise he made and give the English-speaking community a greater voice in his government. The QCGN welcomed Weil as a “strong advocate” while former Equality Party Leader Robert Libman said it was nothing more than a symbolic gesture.

Read Philip Authier’s article in the Montreal Gazette

Kathleen Weil’s task is to mend disconnect between government and Anglo communities

“Kathleen Weil is calling her appointment as minister responsible for relations with English-speaking Quebecers ‘historic.’ “

Premier Philippe Couillard had already promised to create a secretariat to deal with English-speaking Quebecers’ issues. Now, following his latest cabinet shuffle, the government will have a minister dedicated to the task. Kathleen Weil, of Scottish-Irish descent, studied at McGill University. She said her office will relay concerns and priorities of Quebec’s English speakers to the government.

Community groups hope this cabinet shuffle means a fresh start in the province’s approach to the English-language minority. Michelle Eaton-Lusignan commented about the specific situation of the community while Helena Burke from CAMI asked to adapt programs to account for the realities of smaller communities. On Twitter, the QCGN welcomed and congratulated the new minister.

Read the article on CBC News website

QCGN Pledges Constructive, Positive Role in Process Launched Today by Premier

Montreal, June 1, 2017 – The initiative launched today by Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard – establishing a non-confrontational process of mature reflection allowing Quebec and Canada to more constructively frame our future as a nation – received a rapid, positive welcome from the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN).

QCGN steps forward to encourage and enable this dialogue and take a constructive role in the process, known as Quebecers: Our Way of Being Canadian / Québécois – notre façon d’être Canadien. We note that the premier’s announcement and its accompanying document is an important but preliminary step in what will inevitably be a complicated, challenging journey aimed at achieving consensus.

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Premier Names Son of MNA to Liaise with English-speaking Community

“Haitian-born anti-discrimination lawyer Tamara Thermitus has been named head of the Quebec Human Rights Commission. She received the unanimous support of members of the National Assembly.”

The name of Tamara Thermitus had been circulating for at the National Assembly, but it was finally approved yesterday to show case diversity as an important figure of Quebec. Furthermore, the office of Premier Philippe Couillard also announced the nomination of Gregory Kelley, son of Aboriginal Affairs Minister Geoffrey Kelley, as liaison officer for the English-speaking community.

Interviewed for this article, Geoffrey Chambers said the QCGN was pleased with those two nominations. He hopes Kelley will help ensure access to health-care services in English as well as improve representativity of the English-speaking community in Quebec’s public service.

Read the full article in the Montreal Gazette

Lisée says Trudeau should have broken into English; complaints rise

“As a matter of common courtesy, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should have spoken English to Quebec anglophones, the leader of the Parti Québécois said Thursday.”

In a follow-up article to Trudeau’s language flap in Sherbrooke, Philip Authier addresses the multiple complaints that have been filed so far to the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages. Parti Quebecois leader, Jean-François Lisée, comments Trudeau’s action has no grasp of reality and policy on matters of language and identity and that he sees nothing wrong with speaking English with the English-speaking community of Quebec.

James Shea, president of the QCGN, also noted the whole community has been insulted by Trudeau’s action, and that we need an apology from him. From Davos, Premier Philippe Couillard weighed in saying French may be our common language, but he answers to English-speaking Quebecers in their language.

Read the full article in the Montreal Gazette