MONTREAL -- The umbrella group that works to protect English minority rights in Quebec has lost some of its members.

The Quebec Community Groups Network announced that nine member organizations have withdrawn from the network.

"While these groups are active in regions that are home to fewer than three per cent of English-speaking Quebecers, these are important members of our official language minority community," said QCGN President Geoffrey Chambers. "The QCGN, which has networks and stakeholders all across the province, will continue to advocate for and represent the interests of all English-speaking Quebecers."

The network would not announce which members were out, but that they are mostly based in the regions and deal with issues related to health and social services.

Chambers said that increased competition for provincial and federal funding has caused some divergence of opinion within the network.

“Meanwhile, the QCGN has worked hard to grow funding to reinforce the vitality of vulnerable English-speaking communities everywhere in Quebec, including marginalized communities in Montreal,” said Chambers.

It appears that the organizations that left are hoping to push through changes in healthcare in regions where the government is interested in bolstering resources, and are concerned about the QCGN's strident positions opposing Bills 40 (abolishing school boards) and 21 (Quebec's secularism law) could cause problems.

"It's more a question of whether or not the community should speak forcefully in defence of its rights or should be more passive," said Chambers. "The parties that want us to be more passive want to be more passive because they have other irons in the fire with the government and they don't want to fuss, but we have an obligation to speak truth to power and that's what we're going to do."

Chambers added that membership in the network is free and all the organizations that left are welcome back.