Report on consultation with English Quebecers gets thumbs-up from Skeete

Support coming for Anglos to improve their French, says Sainte-Rose MNA

Sainte-Rose CAQ MNA Christopher Skeete, who is Parliamentary Assistant to Premier François Legault for Relations with English-Speaking Quebecers, has expressed satisfaction with a report summarizing consultations with the province’s English-speaking communities.

The report was written by independent researcher Frances Ravensbergen Ph.D., following the broad-based consultation in 2019, at the request of the Secrétariat aux relations avec les Québécois d’expression anglaise (SRQEA).

To build bridges

“Having attended these meetings, I have been able to observe the devotion of those who are engaged with the English-speaking communities,” Skeete said in a statement. “Like the author of the report, Ms. Ravensbergen, I consider that it is essential to build bridges and to consolidate relations between English-speaking communities and the government.

‘I consider that it is essential to build bridges and to consolidate relations between English-speaking communities and the government,’ says Skeete

“In order to do so, we need above all to support them in their efforts to improve their language skills, because French is the language that opens all doors in Quebec,” added Skeete. “Quebecers must be given the ability to fulfill themselves in French. This is a considerable asset in building a stronger relationship between Quebec and its English-speaking community.”

A first, said Skeete

Skeete said the tour represented the first consultation of English-speaking Quebecers on this scale to be carried out in Quebec. In all, eight regions of the province were visited, and over three hundred community leaders representing about one hundred and forty organizations and institutions participated.

He said the report shed considerable light on issues, including employment integration challenges for English-speaking Quebecers. It also came out in the report that French-speaking and English-speaking communities sometimes face the same realities, for example in the area of access to mental health services.

In particular, according to Skeete, it became clear that there is a need to provide an opportunity for Quebecers whose first language is English to improve their French-language skills.

Language instruction

In the short term, he said, the Provincial Employment Roundtable, which is funded by the SQREA, will work with government agencies, educational institutions, community organizations and employers to support them in the area of employment integration, including French language instruction.

Skeete also emphasized that unprecedented efforts are being made by the provincial government during the COVID-19 crisis to better reach out to English-speaking Quebecers.

He said the priorities of the SRQEA remain oriented toward building bridges between English-speaking communities and the government, but also between these communities and Francophone organizations.

A funding increase

The Secrétariat aux relations avec les Québécois d’expression anglaise was created in November 2017, and its funding was doubled in 2020-2021, for a total of $10.5 million. The Secretriat says its main roles are to provide a link with sectorial, regional and provincial groups representing English-speaking Quebecers and to advise the government on relations with the group, on service delivery and on issues, agreements, programs and policies that can have a direct or indirect effect on this community.