MONTREAL, March 29, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - The Quebec Community Groups Network is pleased to see Official Languages programs were not cut in the 2012 federal budget that was released today.
In his budget speech, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty remarked that Canada's two official languages are an integral part of Canadian history and identity and that the Economic Action Plan 2012 will continue support for official languages by maintaining funding to protect, celebrate and enhance Canada's linguistic duality.
"We are certainly encouraged that the government has restated its support for the fundamental value of linguistic duality," said Noel Burke, Interim President of the Quebec Community Groups Network. "As English-speaking Quebecers we have a huge stake in this vision for Canada."
"We are happy to see that the Government of Canada has re-iterated its recognition of the importance of arts and culture for Canadian society and we are particularly pleased to note that funding for Canada Council has been maintained," added Charles Childs, President of the English Language Arts Network. "This is particularly important because arts, culture and heritage are important vehicles for celebrating and forging a distinct identity for our English-speaking communities."
While they are breathing a huge sigh of relief that direct program and project funding will not be affected by the budget, QCGN leaders remain concerned about how spending reductions in the federal civil service - particularly to Canadian Heritage and other departments that support our communities - will affect our network of organizations that deliver services to official language minority communities. The government is expected to reduce the public service by 19,200 people over the next three years.
The QCGN was also pleased to see a pledge to ensure that Canadians living in rural Canada have access to the same high-quality broadband services as other Canadians through its Broadband Canada: Connecting Rural Canadians program and other strategies.
"This is extremely important for enhancing the vitality of the official language minority communities in rural and remote areas," said Hugh Maynard, past chairman of the QCGN and specialist in rural development. "In this modern age we cannot leave rural Quebecers, English or otherwise, at a rest stop on the information highway."
The Quebec Community Groups Network (www.qcgn.ca) is a not-for-profit organization bringing together 38 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.
For further information:
Rita Legault, Director of Communications, [email protected]
Telephone: 514-868-9044, ext. 223, cellular: 514-912-6555