English-speaking seniors may be left out of forums, say Concordia researchers
Two Concordia University researchers have written to Mayor Valérie Plante requesting the Montreal mayor to postpone some scheduled forums on the roles that senior citizens play in the city.
Dr. Kim Sawchuk and Dr. Shannon Hebblethwaite argue the forums are set up in locations that are in the central or eastern parts of Montreal and none in the west. They’re also concerned the locations chosen are near metro stations that aren’t accessible.
“Seniors with mobility issues will not likely attend,” they wrote.
They continue that the registration page and information online is only available in French which could isolate some anglophone seniors who struggle with Quebec’s official language.
“Eliminate the opportunity for Montreal’s significant population of English-speaking seniors to participate,” the researchers wrote.
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Sawchuk and Hebblethwaite are requesting Plante postpone the forums.
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Some seniors at the NDG Food Depot agree.
“In this area, English is one of the main languages spoken and I think it should be bilingual and maybe have someone who can translate a little bit also,” Susan Morris said.
The chair of the depot says not changing the locations and not opening the forums up to languages other than French could lead to findings in the forums that don’t reflect Montreal’s aging population.
“There’s a risk that you’d be leaving out a fairly large proportion of seniors and large population without hearing them and that’s not going to look good down the road. I think it would be really nice to include them,” Bonnie Soutar told Global News.
But Mayor Plante insists the forums are set up to be inclusive.
“The process to us is very important. We want everybody to feel included and language cannot be an issue of not participating,” Plante told reporters on Friday afternoon at city hall.
The forums are scheduled to begin in a couple of weeks time.
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