“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.
“We were dismayed to receive only one reply from the three main parties with the potential to form the next government of Quebec,” said Lamoureux.
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. Even the Quebec Citizens' Union, whose interim leader Alexis St-Gelais admitted his party would not form the next government, took the time to answer our questions and made some commitments to our community. But none of the other parties bothered to take the time to answer.
“How should we interpret the silence of Pauline Marois and François Legault, who are unabashedly courting the Anglophone vote despite the fact that their platforms promise such things as abolishing our school boards or holding referendums which always create a backlash against our community?” asked Lamoureux.
“We were dismayed to receive only one reply from the three main parties with the potential to form the next government of Quebec,” said Lamoureux. -
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, but 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 phenomenom 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.
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.