ARCHIVED - 8. Servicing the Community

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Quebec Anglophones are generally satisfied with the services they receive. They believe the media are most dedicated to serving community interests. Nearly half feel that the Anglophone community has strong and effective leadership, but opinion varies about who is best positioned to represent community concerns, with no single organization standing out. There is variation in the degree to which Quebec Anglophones feel that governments adequately represent their interests. Some two-thirds of Anglophones felt that their interests were poorly represented by the provincial administration, compared with one-third expressing such dissatisfaction with federal and municipal authorities.

A. Institutional Confidence and Satisfaction

From a qualitative standpoint, it would be fair to argue that the English-speaking population, particularly in the Montréal area, has historically enjoyed and continues to benefit from a wide range of institutions. Still, the important demographic changes to the community have modified institutional mandates. As noted, organizations that once had community-specific mandates describe themselves as providing service in the English language to broader constituencies. In the previous section, gaps in access to health and social services in English were identified. This section explores the level of confidence on the part of Quebec Anglophones in the various services provided by the province’s government and non-governmental organizations.

Table 20 shows that there is a significant correlation between how Anglophones regard the commitment of various organizations to serving their interests, their degree of overall satisfaction with the services provided, and how well they rate access to those services. Media outlets are viewed as most committed to serving the interests of the English-speaking community, and there is a high level of satisfaction in this service area.

Table 20 – Responses Concerning Commitment of Organizations in Serving the Interests of Quebec Anglophones, Satisfaction of Anglophone Community with the Organizations and Access to Services, 2002
  Commitment (%) Satisfaction (%) Access (%)
Primary and secondary education 55 66 67
Media and communications 70 82 81
Health and social services 55 62 63
Sports and recreation 57 66 66
Post-secondary education 59 69 69
Arts and culture 61 70 69
Employment 43 49 47
Daycare 40 41 42
Legal services 41 54
Source: GPC International and Department of Canadian Heritage, Official Languages-Minority Language Study (Survey of Anglophone Quebecers), 2002.

In general, Anglophones surveyed report high levels of satisfaction with the services that are offered in their region. In the larger urban centres, 68 percent of Anglophones expressed satisfaction, compared with 71 percent residing in rural areas. When asked to evaluate whether there has been any change over the past five years, Anglophones in the larger urban centres are more inclined to indicate that things have deteriorated than those residing outside the larger centres. As for the areas in which Anglophones feel services have worsened, the most frequently cited are the health and social services and employment sectors. Media and communications is the sector in which they think that things have most improved.

B. Institutional Representation and Leadership

The institutional strength of a community is very often contingent on the type of support it receives from the state. In addition, leadership is a function of the input an individual can make to the community’s capacity for concerted action and to the total power of the community relative to the problems and opportunities it encounters (Breton, 1991). The strength of communal expressions of identity very often depends upon the extent to which a group is able to mobilize persons around shared interests and objectives. Those charged with defining and implementing a community’s agenda play a decisive role in shaping such objectives.

As discussed, Quebec Anglophones express greater concern over the commitment and access to services in such areas as health and social services, where government plays a predominant role, and register the most satisfaction with the media, where in effect the government has less influence.

There is variation in the degree to which Quebec Anglophones feel that governments adequately represent their interests. When asked, Quebec Anglophones in 2002expressed the most confidence in federal (48 percent) and municipal (46 percent) governments and less confidence in provincial authorities (21 percent) (GPC-Canadian Heritage, 2002).

While there is less confidence in government to serve community interests, the role of non-governmental organizations takes on somewhat greater significance. When asked, some 55 percent of Anglophones agree that community-based (not-for-profit) organizations are committed to representing and serving the interests of Anglophones.

Advocacy groups have been the focus of much attention in representing the concerns of the Anglophone population. The GPC-Canadian Heritage survey asked whether the Anglophone community had strong and effective leadership to represent its interests. Some 48 percent of respondents agreed that it did, while 30 percent disagreed and another 19 percent were neutral. The earlier CROP-Missisquoi Institute survey yielded responses that suggested less effectiveness on the part of leadership as viewed by Quebec Anglophones. Moreover, there were significant variations in opinion on the degree of effectiveness of community leaders among respondents. Of the 40 percent of those who were unemployed, youth and seniors did not consider the leadership of the Anglophone community to be effective. In the case
of other demographic groups, the rate rose to 50 percent, with the exception of university graduates, of whom nearly 60 percent regarded leadership as not being effective.

Opinion varied among Anglophones regarding who is best positioned to represent community concerns. Leadership can come from a variety of institutions within a community. Often social service and educational organizations feel they are better situated to defend community concerns in their particular area than broadly based advocacy groups. The CROP-Missisquoi Institute survey asked which organizations, institutions, associations or individuals Anglophones felt were most dedicated to representing or serving their interests on either a regional or provincial basis. Most Anglophones either didn’t know or refused to respond to the question. Of the limited number of those who did answer, advocacy organizations such as Alliance Quebec were chosen more frequently than political representatives, school boards or health care institutions. Table 21 shows that there were important generational differences in opinion on this issue, with the younger generation opting for the education sector as being the most dedicated to representing the community’s interests.

Table 21 – Reponses to: “Which Organizations, Institutions, Associations or Individuals Are Most Dedicated to Representing or Serving Your Interests on either a Regional or Provincial Basis?”
  Total (%) 18-24 (%) 65+ (%)
Schools and school boards 7 11 7
Hospital and health services 4 7 3
Alliance Quebec 16 3 17
Elected representative 12 8 9
None 14 10 15
Other (specify) 8 6 7
Did not know or refused to answer 40 55 38
Source: CROP-Missisquoi Institute, Survey of the English-Speaking Community of Quebec, 2000.

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