English speakers in Quebec make up one per cent or less of the province's civil service according to figures presented by the Finance Minister Eric Girard, who is also responsible for relations with the English-speaking community, and who said he'd like that number to grow.

"The civil service is where the Anglophone community is underrepresented," Girard said on Thursday during a commission on institutions in Quebec City while he was presenting government spending estimates.

The MNA for Jacques-Cartier, Gregory Kelley was asking Girard a series of questions about how the government could ensure that English speakers are better integrated into the workforce and the civil service in particular.

In one response, Girard agreed with Kelley that more and more English speakers speak French and so he wondered why, then, "are there still those who think they have to leave Quebec to have career opportunities?"

He said that Quebec has ambitious economic expectations and that English speakers are "a part of that project," mentioning that Revenu Quebec for example, is looking for employees.


In an interview with CTV news on Friday, Kelley said previous governments have tried to attract English speakers to the civil service but have met with little success.

It's possible, he said, that Anglophones, a majority of whom live in Montreal, have little interest in moving to Quebec City. But he said that shouldn't stop the government from trying to recruit them.

"That recruitment element is so important. Making English Quebecers feel like they are wanted in the civil service, that there are stages (internships) to be had, that they need their talents," said Kelley.

He suggested the CAQ government could adopt a federal government practice that has helped recruit talent to Ottawa, and visit English and French university campuses in Montreal to educate English-speaking students about opportunities that await them in Quebec City and also in Montreal.

"I don't think there's enough of that in Montreal, I think that's definitely something they can improve on," Kelley said.

He hopes Girard will now formulate a plan to woo English speakers, one that could be developed into a broader policy and he said he'd be happy to collaborate with him.

"I'll take him at his word. He's the one that has now put this idea forward that he wants to do more…he will not get any opposition from the official opposition," said Kelley.

With files from CTV's Rob Lurie.