OPEN LETTER: Upcoming election crucial for English-speaking community
Submitted by the Quebec Community Groups Network
Quebecers go to the polls Oct. 3. This is a pivotal election, and the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) is determined to ensure that the concerns of Quebec’s English-speaking community are voiced and addressed.
The past four years have proven challenging for our community, as the govern- ment adopted several laws that do not reflect our vision of an inclusive, modern Quebec. Law 40 ignored our constitutional right to manage and control our schools. By pre-emptively overriding both the Quebec and Canadian Charters of Rights and Freedoms with Law 21 and Law 96, the incumbent government turned its back on a proud tradition of protecting human rights and ignored international human rights standards to which Quebec had bound itself. As a result of Law 96, new limits have been imposed on our access to education, to health and social services, to the courts, and also to government services and information in English. We also strenuously object to the Coalition Avenir Québec’s restrictive definition of who is a historic anglophone.
Election campaigns provide opportunities for voters to question political parties and their candidates on their policies and pro- grams. The QCGN intends to act as a catalyst for such discussion.
Starting this week, we are issuing a series of questions – framed under themes – for political party leaders to address. This week’s theme is rights and access to justice. Our questions cover a wide range of issues, from the appointment process for judges to the pre-emptive use of the notwithstanding clause. Subsequent themes will include education, access to health and social services, support for our community including funding to ensure access to government services in English, and finally business and the economy. We will share the questions and answers on the elections page of our website and on social media.
Our queries for the party leaders were developed in consultation with a broad cross-section of English- speaking Quebecers. Three main questions emerged:
If elected, will you support Law 21 in whole or in part?
If elected, will you support Law 96 in whole or in part?
If elected, how will your party support and recognize the rights of English-speak- ing Quebecers?
We are disappointed that no English-language debate will take place during this campaign. It is important for our community to hear directly from our leaders. We have invited the party leaders to participate in virtual town halls with members of our community. So far, Liberal leader Dominique Anglade, Conservative leader Éric Duhaime and Canadian Party of Quebec leader Colin Standish have accepted our invitation. Stay tuned for dates and times.
Our goal over the coming weeks is to ensure that our community is well informed. The next step will be getting people out to vote.
English-speaking Quebecers constitute an important voting bloc in this province. This is the time to mobilize. We encourage all English-speaking Quebecers to get involved, to attend all- candidates meetings and to ask questions about issues critical to our community and our future – and most importantly, to listen to the answers.
Remain informed and up to date by consulting QCGN’s elections page at qcgn.ca/2022-provincial-elections.