MONTREAL, March 4 /CNW Telbec/ - Following yesterday's Throne Speech, the linguistic minority of Quebec feels invisible.
English-speaking Quebecers are one of the two national linguistic minorities recognized in Canada. We are the largest linguistic minority within a linguistic minority in the country. We possess strong relationships and ties to our fellow Québécois citizens, the francophone majority outside Quebec, as we do to all Canadians. Then why do we feel left out?
We live linguistic duality every day. We have the highest level of bilingualism in the country. Yet, when the government discussed linguistic duality in the Throne Speech yesterday, it pledged only to further strengthen Canada's francophone identity. While we strongly support Francophones in Quebec and in Canada, English-speaking Quebecers also want to feel secure in their own identity.
Our concern about the government's promise to respect provincial jurisdiction and restrict the use of the federal spending power is a longstanding one. Our experience is that when powers are devolved to the province of Quebec, in areas like employment and immigration, the vitality of English-speaking Quebec is not taken into consideration. As long as Ottawa devolves powers to Quebec, it must ensure that the federal government's commitments to respect English and French minorities and promote linguistic duality are also passed along. That means Quebec must use a fair portion of federal transfers to support and assist the Official Language Minority Community in Quebec.
Under Part VII of the Official Languages Act, the Government of Canada is committed to enhancing the vitality of English and French minorities in Canada and supporting their development as well as fostering the full recognition of the use of English and French in Canadian society. The goal is to enable Anglophone and Francophone minority communities Canada to achieve their full potential and ensure they have access to the same benefits as the rest of the population. Almost two million Canadians, about half which are Quebecers whose first official language spoken is English, belong to an official language minority community.
English-speaking Quebecers need to be recognized as a valued part of Quebec and Canada. We need to be reassured that this government understands and actively supports the English-speaking community of Quebec.
The Quebec Community Groups Network (www.qcgn.ca) is a not-for-profit organization bringing together 32 English-language community organizations across Quebec. Its mission is to identify, explore and address strategic issues affecting the development and vitality of English-speaking Quebec and to encourage dialogue and collaboration among its member organizations, individuals, community groups, institutions and leaders.
SOURCE Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN)
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