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Concordia appears before Parliamentary Committee

University shares its expertise on official languages
May 9, 2012
By Kevin Dobie

Provost and Vice-President, Academic Affairs, David Graham and Lorraine O’Donnell, coordinator-researcher of the Quebec English-Speaking Communities Research Network, appeared before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Official Languages on April 26. The committee is reviewing Canada’s official languages policy and had asked Concordia to share its expertise and provide advice to the government.

Chaired by the Hon. Michael Chong, the committee is made up of 12 members of Parliament from three political parties. Their mandate is to evaluate the government’s policy on official languages titled The Roadmap for Canada's Linguistic Duality, which expires in 2013.  They will then make recommendations and provide advice to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, as well as to Parliament.

The university plays an active role in promoting both of Canada’s official languages by housing the Quebec English-Speaking Communities Research Network (QUESCREN), which is a network of researchers, community members and institutions dedicated to developing research capacity related to Quebec's English-speaking communities.

Led by O’Donnell, and housed at the School of Extended Learning, QUESCREN strengthens a network of researchers and institutions to produce and share evidence-based research results on the English-speaking minority communities of Quebec.

Provost Graham and O’Donnell stressed the importance of government support for research in official languages policy.  By conducting research on fundamental questions, such as community vitality, demographics, and community priorities, the government can design more effective policies to support minority-language communities. With an accurate portrait of the composition, priorities, and long-term goals of the English-speaking communities of Quebec, governments are in a better position to respond to community needs.

O’Donnell regards the need for enhanced research capacity as crucial. “With very limited resources in a short amount of time, QUESCREN’s research has helped to identify areas of need for Quebec’s English-speakers,” she said. “For example, we have helped to develop a model to measure community vitality, which is useful not only to members of the community, but to our government partners as well.”

Provost Graham said QUERSCREN’s research aligns well with Concordia’s tradition of social responsibility and community engagement. “We are proud to house the network and are confident that its research will be of great benefit to the community and the government,” he concluded.

Related links:

•  Quebec English-Speaking Communities Research Network (QUESCREN)
•  House of Commons Standing Committee on Official Languages


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