Minister reaches out to English-speaking Quebecers in daylong forum

Anglophone community groups met with Kathleen Weil, on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018. Global News/Sylvain Trudeau

Anglophone groups got a chance to air their grievances and suggest solutions on Friday at an all-day forum at Concordia University.

“I think the English community should be elated that we have reached this point,” said Jim Shea, president of the Quebec Community Groups Network.

“We are making incremental but positive steps towards a real positioning of the English-speaking community.”

The QCGN was one of 50 anglophone groups who participated in the event.

After 16 hours of consultations over the last few months, the minister for relations with English-speaking Quebecers, Kathleen Weil, says the priorities for the community are clear: access to health-care services, employability and retaining the young anglophone population.

“We are facing a bit of a brain drain,” the minister told reporters at the end of the forum.

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To solve the issue, Weil says more needs to be done to connect young anglophones with employers, and to beef up support for those in vocational education.

Several times during the forum, it was suggested that easing the educational requirements around Bill 101 would help keep young professionals in Quebec.

The minister made it clear that is not an option.

“Bill 101 is not on the table in terms of changing that,” said Weil.

The entire consultation process has sometimes been met with skepticism, but some in the room beleive that the newly formed relations with English-speaking Quebecers ministry will lead to long-term change.

“It’s not patronizing us, it is saying we are real,” said Shea.

The person controlling Quebec’s purse strings, Finance Minister Carlos Leitao, will meet with the anglophone community for pre-budget consultations.

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