During a panel discussion on MAtv’s City Life on Coalition Avenir Québec’s first year in power, QCGN General Director Sylvia Martin-Laforge discusses the government’s public consultation tour with English-speaking Quebecers. The Parliamentary Assistant to the Premier for Relations with English-Speaking Quebecers, Christopher Skeete, is also interviewed.
Montreal – July 18, 2018 – The Quebec Community Groups Network congratulates Minister Mélanie Joly, who moves to Tourism, maintains the Official Languages file, and was assigned responsibility for La Francophonie. We also commend Pablo Rodriguez, the new Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism. However, the QCGN is concerned that the cabinet shuffle blurs roles and may create confusion about who is responsible and accountable for Official Languages.
“The Government of Canada has just made a major commitment to Official Languages through its Action Plan for Official Languages – 2018-2023: Investing in Our Future, so we are rightfully concerned about ensuring clear lines of accountability related to the coordination of its implementation,” said QCGN President Geoffrey Chambers. He noted that official language organizations are worried the shuffle will impede the rollout of additional resources allocated for Official Languages through Canadian Heritage.
“Dans un revirement qui pourrait être historique, des anglophones frustrés pensent délaisser le Parti libéral du Québec aux prochaines élections provinciales. Ils s’estiment tenus pour acquis.”
Many English-speaking Quebecers expressed the possibility to vote for another party than the Liberal Party of Quebec which has gained the electoral support of the community for the last 40 years. Citizens such as Gary Shapiro and former Equality Party MNA Robert Libman talked about the issue in the article.
QCGN Director General Sylvia Martin-Laforge nuanced the possibility stating that all parties have something to offer, and that the Coalition Avenir Québec doesn’t have everything set.
The annual event established by the QCGN is meant to honour individuals who have made an impact on Quebec’s English-speaking community. Clifford Lincoln, James Carter, Sid Stevens and Earl De La Perralle, were each winners of the Sheila and Victor Goldbloom Distinguished Community Service Award, while Claudia Di Iorio won the Young Quebecers Leading the Way Award.
“Gretta Chambers, the first female chancellor of McGill University and a prominent Montreal journalist for several decades, has died at the age of 90. She passed away Saturday morning at St. Mary’s Hospital in Montreal after undergoing treatment for a heart condition. “
Daughter of a French-speaking mother and an English-speaking father, she saw her role as a builder of bridges between Quebec’s divided communities. For this role, in 2012, she received a Goldbloom Award for distinguished community service.
Sylvia Martin-Laforge, director general of the QCGN, incensed Chambers’ accomplishments and said she embodied what was needed in Quebec to bridge both linguistic communities.
“Gretta Chambers, a prominent journalist and the first female chancellor of McGill University, passed away Saturday morning at the age of 90 at St. Mary’s hospital in Montreal. “
Born in 1927, and a graduate from McGill in policial science, she married former MP Egan Chambers who died in 1994. She was one of the first English-speaking journalist to write extensively about French-speaking Quebec before becoming the first female chancellor of McGill University.
Sylvia Martin-Laforge, DG of the QCGN, which awarded Chambers with a Goldbloom Award in 2012, said that Gretta was a pioneer and role model for women, and for the English-speaking community.
“Efforts by Quebec’s anglophone communities and institutions to help English-speaking newcomers successfully integrate into Quebec society should be financially and politically supported by the Quebec government, the director general of the Quebec Community Groups Network said Wednesday.”
English-speakers are seen like the poster children of integration in Quebec by Sylvia Martin-Laforge, director general of the QCGN. During the one-day conference hosted by the QCGN and sponsored by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, she also mentioned the Quebec government do not help English-language institutions and groups from helping newcomers integrate.
The conference hosted three panels that addressed how faith-based organizations and municipalities among other institutions helped welcoming English-speaking newcomers. Most of the discussion revolved around the understanding that Quebec was a French-speaking province, but that groups can help newcomers grasp that diversity in a country that recognizes linguistic duality.
“Parti Québécois leader Jean-François Lisée wants English CEGEPs and universities to beef up their French, even proposing exit exams for graduates. As Global’s Anne Leclair reports, some worry it’s another way to make anglophones feel like outsiders.”
The debate to include stricter rules for French-language in CEGEPs dates back. If elected, Jean-François Lisée would like English institutions to add more French courses, to offer students the opportunity to do a semester in French institutions, and to make it mandatory for English students to pass a French proficiency exam. While the idea can be welcome on English campuses, adding a condition to get their diploma might challenge students graduating from those institutions.
On that note, QCGN DG Sylvia Martin-Laforge says that the PQ proposal could backfire and push more people to leave the province, the very effect Lisée wants to stop with his proposal. Adding a mandatory French exit exam could mean another hurdle for English-speaking Quebecers, comments Martin-Laforge.
To watch the interview made by Global Montreal.
La directrice générale du QCGN Sylvia Martin-Laforge était en entrevue à CTV afin de discuter de l’importance des commissions scolaires en ce qui a trait à la vitalité de la communauté d’expression anglaise. Pour regarder la vidéo, cliquez sur ce lien.
QCGN Director General Sylvia Martin-Laforge was on CTV today to discuss the importance of school boards for the English-speaking community’s vitality. Click here to view the full clip.