OPINION: CAQ should consider financial impacts of its policies on anglophones
Submitted by the Quebec Community Groups Network
The government of Quebec must always consider the financial impacts of all government legislation, regulations, policies and programs on all Quebecers – and particularly on minority communities, the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) told Finance Minister Eric Girard last week.
“Meanwhile, support should be provided to our school boards, CEGEPs, universities and other institutions to deal with the adverse financial fallout of recent government policies,” QCGN Director General Sylvia Martin-Laforge told Girard, who is also the minister responsible for relations with English-speaking Quebecers. She made the comments during a pre-budget consultation on Jan. 22 with groups serving Quebec’s English-speaking minority community in Montreal.
The QCGN also insisted that all investments to meet the needs and priorities of our community be made through the lens of the Community Development Plan – a vision for collective action which was developed, shared and endorsed by dozens of QCGN members, both organizational and individual, as well as multiple community stakeholders across Quebec.
“Community sector organizations have always been trusted and reliable partners of the government of Quebec,” said Martin-Laforge. “They play a vital role in Quebec’s social development by providing information, assistance, [service] delivery and support for key government mandates and services to the population, particularly to vulnerable citizens and groups.”
Faced with runaway inflation and the surge in the cost of living, funding for community sector organizations should be adjusted to reflect the additional demand from the population and the increased financial load, the QCGN told the minister.
“Organizations are feeling inflationary pressures as they struggle to provide services within budgets that are not keeping up with increased costs,” said Martin-Laforge. “In the face of mounting economic challenges, the Quebec community sector requires support to continue to do more with less.”
QCGN also called for a “real and meaningful dialogue” between Quebec’s English-speaking community and Girard to address the impacts of recent government measures that are harmful to businesses, institutions and the economy at large.
Meeting the minister for a second pre-budget consultation, Martin-Laforge repeated a longstanding demand that funding for community groups serving English-speaking Quebecers be adjusted to reflect the English-speaking community’s proportion of Quebec’s population and economic disparities between English- and French-speaking Quebecers.
“An estimate provided by the Secretariat for Relations with English-speaking Quebecers shows that organizations supporting English-speaking Quebecers receive only three per cent of funding allocated by the Quebec government to the community sector,” Martin-Laforge pointed out. “This persists despite widespread agreement among French- and English-speaking Quebecers that funding should reflect community size.”
Additionally, Martin-Laforge insisted the government of Quebec should work in collaboration with its English-speaking minority to maximize resources made available through the government of Canada to protect and promote French and to support the vitality of the English-speaking community of Quebec.
“The Government of Canada Action Plan for Official Languages 2023–2028: Protection-Promotion-Collaboration is designed to support the protection and the promotion of French in Canada and Quebec and provides resources for enhancing the vitality of Quebec’s English-speaking minority,” she said. “We look forward to collaborating with the government of Quebec in any way that will improve the state of the economy and the living conditions of English-speaking Quebecers and our fellow citizens.”