Party Leaders Not Interested in Issues of English-Speaking Community

Party Leaders Not Interested in Issues of English-Speaking Community

QCGN Press Release – For Immediate Release

Montreal – August 30, 2012 – Heading into the final days of the election, the Quebec Community Groups Network is concerned about the lack of interest shown by party leaders and candidates on the real issues of importance to English-speaking Quebecers.

And despite courting our vote, the parties have little or nothing to offer our community, said QCGN President Dan Lamoureux.

“When the word “English” comes up, leaders are mainly talking about cracking down on the use of English on signs and in the workplace,” protested Lamoureux. “No one distinguishes between the fear and loathing of the English language and the threat it represents to the French language and culture and the English-speaking minority community which is more and more bilingual and continues to contribute to Quebec society as it has done for generations and generations since this province was founded.“

The QCGN recently wrote the leaders of the Coalition Avenir Québec, the Green Party, the Liberal Party, Option Nationale, the Parti Québécois, and Québec Solidaire asking them for their party’s positions on a number of issues of interest to the English speaking community. See letter here.

Of the three main parties with the potential to form the next government only the Liberals replied on time. While the Liberals did not answer our questions, incumbent Premier Jean Charest’s party promised to introduce a tax credit that would allow English-speaking adults with basic French language skills to take intermediate and advanced level French courses to strengthen their competitiveness on the job market. The Coalition Action Québec, which answered our questions belatedly on Wednesday, offered to make francization programs accessible to English-speaking Quebecers and has vowed not to apply Bill 101 to CEGEPs.

Meanwhile, Pauline Marois, who is unabashedly courting the Anglophone vote, did not bother to answer our questions and is shying away from meeting with English-speaking Quebecers.

Lamoureux pointed out that English-speaking Quebecers represent almost 783,500 (13.5 per cent) of voters in Quebec. “We represent a clear majority in a handful of Montreal districts, and in many ridings dispersed throughout the province – in the Eastern Townships, on the Gaspé Peninsula, and in the Outaouais region – English-speaking Quebecers hold a significant enough number of votes to make a difference in a race where votes are divided among multiple parties. Leaders and candidates who take English voters for granted do so at their own peril.”

During the last provincial election voter turnout dropped to an historic low, Lamoureux notes, adding this phenomenon was particularly evident in majority English ridings. “We believe it is important for members of our community to be involved and to vote,” urged Lamoureux. “

We need our voice to be heard loud and clear by all candidates, all leaders and all parties.
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The Quebec Community Groups Network (www.qcgn.ca) is a not-for-profit organization bringing together 41 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.

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