Laval's Anglo population facing growing pains
Published Saturday, November 19, 2011 5:31PM EST
It's a rarity in Quebec – a growing English-speaking population.
But that's exactly what's happening in Laval, where a group of residents is concerned about a lack of services.
While the Anglo population across the rest of Quebec has remained steady over the past few years, Laval saw a 35-per-cent increase between 2001 and 2006; the biggest increase of any city in the province.
Services should reflect that increase, said Luigi Morabito of the Networking and Partnership Initiative, who co-organized an event Saturday for Anglo Laval resident to air their grievances.
"The services have not caught up with the growth rate of the population," he said.
Municipal and provincial officials took part in the dialogue, hoping to find a solution that helps residents feel at home in their own city.
"You're stuck. You feel lost and you feel like you're lacking that sense of community -- like you don't belong," said Jennifer Maccarone, whose two children, Sam and Bianca, both have special needs.
"I need help and I need it now and when it comes to my children, I don't get a second chance," she said.
More than 200 residents gathered at the meeting, where they found that seniors and families with young children seem especially vulnerable, particular with access to English-language health care.
"We have nothing against French, but it's better to have something in English, especially for some of us who can't translate medical terms in English," said Laval resident Michael Jacob.
Canadian immigrant Carmelita Jacob said it was particular tough to come from outside Quebec.
"I don't really speak French, so it's really hard for me to talk to somebody sometimes," she said.
People with disabilities who have trouble accessing public buildings also called on the issue.
"There are no English signs and it's difficult to manoeuvre around," said Mona Arsenault.
A second forum will take place Nov. 26 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Laurier Senior High School (2323 Daniel Johnson Blvd. in Laval).
Event organizers and partners hope to lay out priorities for the Anglophone community this spring.