My name is Charles—although everyone calls me Chuck—Childs, and I am the president of the English Language Arts Network.
I'm here with Guy Rodgers, the executive director of ELAN.
We want to thank the Standing Committee on Official Languages for undertaking these hearings and for inviting us to make a presentation.
Arts and culture are vital components of community vitality. The importance of arts and culture for minority language communities has been well documented in recent years in a number of important reports: Bernard Lord's 2008 Report on the Government of Canada's Consultations on Linguistic Duality and Official Languages; the 2008 report of the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages, Federal Government Support for the Arts and Culture in Official Language Minority Communities; and the 2011 report of the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages, The Vitality of Quebec's English-speaking Communities: From Myth to Reality.
Current situation: By the mid-1980s, an arts community that had once produced internationally acclaimed artists such as Oscar Peterson, Mordecai Richler, Christopher Plummer, William Shatner, and Leonard Cohen was greatly diminished, and the theatre scene was virtually dead.
Guy Rodgers and I have been actively involved in our community for more than 30 years and have witnessed an amazing transformation in recent years. At the dawn of the new millennium, an artistic community was beginning to re-emerge with the assistance of recently created cultural institutions such as the Quebec Writers' Federation and the Quebec Drama Federation.
A major boost to the Quebec minority language community was provided by the IPOLC, a matching funds program between the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Canada Council. IPOLC contributed directly to the work of artists, but equally importantly, it brought together a number of community leaders for several years in an IPOLC oversight committee, which formed the nucleus of ELAN.
The English Language Arts Network was created in 2005 following the Quebec Arts Summit, which brought together 200 senior artists and partners to examine the situation of English language artists in Quebec. The creation of ELAN as a hub and network gave the Quebec English-speaking community a nucleus of capacity that had not previously existed.
Another important structuring element was the creation of the Cultural Development Fund as part of the current road map. The English-speaking community of Quebec had lacked the capacity to be involved in preliminary discussions with PCH and FCCF concerning the creation of a cultural fund. To ensure that Quebec's English-speaking communities in all regions received equal consideration, equitable support, the Quebec Community Groups Network hired a consultant to work with ELAN and the Quebec Anglophone Heritage Network. The work group developed a policy framework, which articulated the context and challenges of cultural expression for the English-speaking community of Quebec as well as key strategies with desired outcomes.