OPEN LETTER: QCGN to Quebec: English-speaking community part of the solution, not the problem

OPEN LETTER: QCGN to Quebec: English-speaking community part of the solution, not the problem

Submitted by Eva Ludvig, president. Quebec Community Groups Network

We must tell you, we were disappointed – not so much by what was contained in the Quebec government’s Plan pour la langue française, but by what was missing.

You already know we strongly disagree with the way the plan punishes world-class universities like Concordia and McGill with discriminatory tuition increases and unrealistic demands, imposed without consultation, for 80 per cent of undergraduates to achieve an intermediate level of French proficiency.

And we take issue with the government’s scapegoating of immigrants, especially temporary immigrants, for not speaking French, when they make such an important contribution to Quebec’s economy and society.

So, we wholeheartedly applaud measures to improve the provision of and access to classes to help non-French speakers master the language, but we ask you to ensure that those among the 1.3 million members of Quebec’s English- speaking community who have not yet mastered French or would like to improve their proficiency will also be able to get rapid access to these essential services.

We also want to talk to you most about an important element missing in your plan. The plan contains nine priorities, with specific measures to support each one.

We believe a 10th priority should be added. Why? Because there are no constructive references to our community in your plan, and there should be. The English-speaking community of Quebec has a role to play in the promotion and protection of the French language. We can make reasonable and constructive suggestions to further this objective. We are also Quebecers. We are part of the solution, not the problem.

A key first step of this priority would be to determine a role for the Secretariat for relations with English-speaking Quebecers to play in the Groupe d’action pour l’avenir de la langue française policy-making process. We saw no reference to the Secretariat in your document.

A second specific measure would be to improve the general understanding among Quebecers of the history, accomplishments and contributions of the English-speaking community, and its continuing strong attachment to Quebec.

Third would be creating initiatives for rapprochement and understanding between our two great communities.

An important element would be the use of the most balanced statistics possible in the measurement of the strength of French. The government often uses language- at-home and mother-tongue data; we think use of French in public is a more neutral and nuanced yardstick.

Regardless of where we agree or disagree, the English-speaking community should be part of the process.

We should not be invisible. We play an important role in this society and we have the right to contribute to the broader values our society needs to share.

We hope you will understand that English-speaking Quebecers are not the enemy. We haven’t been for decades, and we should not be treated as such.

Our differences with the government are real, some of them quite sharp, but that does not mean we cannot find common cause and work together.

Yours truly,

Eva Ludvig, President, Quebec Community Groups Network

*This is an abridged version of a public letter sent to Jean-François Roberge, minister of the French Language, by the Quebec Community Groups Network following the recent presentation of the provincial government’s Plan pour la langue française.

OPEN LETTER: QCGN to Quebec: English-speaking community part of the solution, not the problem was last modified: May 15th, 2024 by QCT Editor

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