December 31, 2018 11:43 am

James Shea, advocate for Quebec’s English-speaking community, dies

James Shea, advocate for Quebec’s English-speaking community and former president of QCGN, has died.


James Shea, a pioneering advocate for Quebec’s English-speaking community and former president of the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN), has died at 76.

The Aylmer, Que., native was a former teacher, school principal and school board administrator.

READ MORE: Goldbloom Awards celebrate achievements of English community leaders in Quebec

Story continues below

“No words can express the sadness of Mr. Shea’s death. Our school board, as well as the entire English community in Quebec, has lost a visionary, a leader like no other and a remarkable person who was appreciated, respected and valued by everybody who knew him,” said Mike Dubeau, director general of the Western Quebec School Board (WQSB).

“Jim was all about providing the best possible educational and social experience for our students. I’m confident that his legacy will continue to live on in each of us, as evidenced in the work we do in our schools, centres and communities.”

At his passing, Shea was serving as chairman of the WQSB. He was also vice-president of the Quebec English School Boards Association.

WATCH BELOW: Meet the new head of Quebec’s anglophone secretariat

“Jim was a fervent advocate for Quebec’s English-speaking community and an impassioned proponent of bilingualism,” said QCGN President Geoffrey Chambers.

“Jim led our network during momentous times.”

Chambers notes that Shea was instrumental in helping QCGN successfully advocate for increased language support from the federal government as well as in encouraging the Quebec government to create a secretariat to improve relations with English-speaking Quebecers.

READ MORE: Quebec group says cuts to Ontario francophones touch all linguistic minorities

“Jim was committed to strengthening and promoting Canada’s two official languages and human rights,” added Sylvia Martin-Laforge, director general of QCGN.

Shea leaves behind his wife of 55 years, Theresa, as well as his four daughters and their families.

READ MORE: English play in Quebec City challenges Francophone spectators

His funeral will be held at St. Mark the Evangelist Church at 160 Principale Rd. in Aylmer at 11 a.m. Friday, followed by a reception in the church hall.

In lieu of gifts, the family is asking for donations to be made to the WQSB’s James Shea Memorial Fund to support disadvantaged students.

READ MORE: Quebec City’s Francophone Laval University considers offering classes in English

Several organizations across the political sphere took to social media to express their condolences.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Report an error


Want to discuss? Please read our Commenting Policy first.