2019-09-10 by W.M.
‘We need to stop seeing language as a zero-sum game,’ says Anglo minister
The MNA responsible for relations with English-speaking Quebecers Christopher Skeete is leading a tour of the province specifically to interact with Anglos and gauge what matters to them.
“This is something I’ve wanted to do since I was handed the secretariat,” said Skeete. “I think it’s important after two years of creation for us to go back, check the pulse of the community and make sure that we’re doing what people actually expect us to be doing, and to make sure our programs are having a lasting impact in the community.”
Jobs remain a concern for minority Anglos particularly those that feel legislation such as Bill-21 unfairly targets them, and makes it harder to gain employment.
“If we had the same unemployment rate as Francophones in the Anglophone sector, we’d have 12,000 more Quebecers hard at work,” said Skeete. “For me, it’s for making sure that everyone in Quebec has an equal chance to get their employment and to get the employment for which they’re skilled for. Often, it’s just a question of language.”
Skeete said the language barrier is the problem, and brought up initiatives such as Quebec Labour Minister Jean Boulet’s announcement to put more than $1 million into helping English communities find work.
Skeete said most haven’t mentioned the concern of school boards being removed and other contentious issues, but that most people just wanted to keep control of their English schools and other institutions.
“I’m not getting any pushback from there,” he said. “I’m getting a lot of interest as to our concrete programs and the way the secretariat has been helping.”
The question remains where is the anglophone’s place in the CAQ’s vision for Quebec?
“In Quebec, we have to stop seeing language as a zero-sum game where any French gain is seen as an English loss and vice versa,” said Skeete. “There’s a way for us to do both, and to find ourselves in both these visions.”