French classes, membership changes, new programming
Regional Association of West Quebecers update English Community
English Quebecer advocates opened the Regional Association of West Quebecers (RAWQ) annual general meeting, June 26 at Imagier on Front Street.
Christopher Skeete, Parliamentary Assistant to the Premier for Relations with English-Speaking Quebecers spoke to the group about the responsibilities and roles of his office. He fielded questions from the membership, answering them candidly. He was keynote speaker. Skeete’s help in opening the discussion around the vitality of the English-speaking community in Outaouais pointed to the Quebec government’s willingness to assist this 60 per cent of the population here. Youth for Youth Quebec, an organization focused on connecting English-speaking youth with a better quality of civic life, has been active with RAWQ. President Malcolm Lewis-Richmond was the guest speaker prior to the opening of the annual general meeting.
The association had a busy 12 months, with new program and core funding money for the organization. French as a second language classes was one initiative launched by RAWQ last year that was hugely popular. “There are some 300 people enrolled at the moment, and another 300 on a waiting list,” Executive Director Linton Garner told the assembly. Classes are offered in Wakefield, Shawville and Aylmer.
A satellite office is being opened in Shawville to carry out programming plans and outreach. The Skills Link Program is being expanded to help young people between the ages of 16 and 30 find employment or return to school.
RAWQ’s other major initiative is a television program on Videotron, MaTV’s City Life. With Information Director Stephanie Crowley, and Linton Garner as the anchor, this program focuses on the affairs of the English-speaking community in Outaouais and has blown the ratings higher than any other MaTV program, explained Garner.
Collaborating with the activities of the Quebec Community Groups Network is an ongoing province-wide responsibility for RAWQ.