Riverdale High School transfers to French school board

Starting September, Riverdale High School will be operated by Marguerite-Bourgeoys school board. Aimée Lemieux reports.

Watch interview with QCGN President Geoffrey Chambers

Shutdown of Riverdale destabilizing and ill-advised: QCGN

Montreal – January 28, 2019 – A steady stream of assurances that the government of Quebec Premier François Legault is taking the interests of Quebec’s English-speaking community into account has been contradicted by its actions – this time with the abrupt elimination of Riverdale High School from our English-language school system.

“While the Quebec government talks quite positively and in an often encouraging way about respecting community interests, to all appearances they don’t understand minority-language rights. Or they simply don’t care,” Geoffrey Chambers, president of the Quebec Community Groups Network, declared following today’s announcement.

The immensely disruptive process to force dispersal of Riverdale’s 450 English-language students across the remainder of the Lester B. Pearson School Board network, before the next school years begins, is clearly improper, Chambers added: “It disregards long-accepted school-shutdown policy, which for good reason requires public consultation as part of a thoughtful, judicious 18-month process.  For the Quebec government to sidestep the rules in its own education act by exercising an extraordinary power (invoking Art. 477.1.1 of La Loi sur l’instruction publique) is dangerously destabilizing and ill-advised.”

“The government is using a hammer here, and we have to wonder where and how they will next grab it,” Chambers said: “Riverdale may mean there will be more pre-emptive exercise of ministerial power, despite all their soft words. It certainly suggests the so-called new service centres to replace school boards will be unable to protect community interests.”

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Transfer of school to French-language network: English-speaking community worried

The Minister of Education’s decision to force the transfer of an English school to the French-language network worries the English-speaking community of West Island, which fears for the respect of its rights guaranteed by the Charter under the Legault government.

“We have the right to have our institutions, rights that are established in the constitution. It seems the minister does not see these rights as important,” says the president of the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN), which represents more than 50 English-language community organizations.

The same goes for the Quebec English School Boards Association. “We may think that this is an affront to our powers to manage and control our schools,” adds its managing director, Russell Copeman.

The Journal revealed Monday that the Minister of Education, Jean-François Roberge, will use a power rarely evoked in the Education Act to require the transfer of the Riverdale High School from the Lester B. Pearson School Board. to the Marguerite-Bourgeoys School Board (CSMB). The English-language facility is only used at half capacity, while the CSMB is overflowing with the influx of newcomers to the area.

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No plans to bring back English signs at Lachute hospital

Christopher Skeete, the MNA responsible for relations with English-speaking Quebecers, says the province will stand its ground when it comes to bilingual signage at a Lachute hospital.

“I think the premier was quite clear in his statements that we’re going to be supporting the decision that happened there,” said Skeete.

“But at the same token, we should never forget this has no incidence on services that are being rendered to the English-speaking population.”

Earlier this month, a decision from the Lachute hospital caused an uproar.

After a meeting from the Office québécoise de la langue française (OQLF), the hospital decided to remove English-language signage from its facility.

The Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) believes the government is being too strict with their interpretation of the province’s French-language charter.

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Providing job opportunities for English youth in rural Quebec

Assisting young people by enhancing their education with practical training and getting at-risk youth local work can strengthen their well-being and enrich Quebec’s English-speaking communities.

These goals are at the heart of two projects, supported by the federal government’s $1 million Social Partnership Development Program. They provide educational and work opportunities for youth in the Magdalen Islands and Quebec City.

They have been awarded grants from Community Innovation Fund, managed by the Quebec Community Groups Network. The Magdalen Islands, a five-hour ferry ride from PEI, is home to one of the most isolated English-speaking communities in Quebec. It has 675 residents who in the 2016 Census gave English as their mother tongue, 5.7 per cent of the total population.

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Comparisons between French Ontario and Quebec English: Que veulent les Québécois d’expression anglaise?

Recent events in French-speaking Ontario have led to some comparisons between what Franco-Ontarians and English-speaking Quebecers live with daily. At first glance, their situations are very different. But the English-speaking community also has its demands.

First, the President of the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN), Geoffrey Chambers, is keen to support the latest demands of Franco-Ontarians against decisions made by the Ford government. The former Alliance Quebec member rebukes them.

For those who think that the basket of recriminations is empty for English-speaking, this is not so.

The representative of the network of 58 English-speaking organizations across Quebec agrees that “interests may be different from one region to another”. There are surely differences between a region such as Quebec, which has a population of nearly 15,000 English-speaking Quebecers and Montreal. That city has some 600,000 people who master the language of Leonard Cohen, according to the 2018 figures of the Quebec’s Institut de la statistique.

In 2019, Geoffrey Chambers sees three points on which the QCGN will have to remain vigilant. During the campaign trail, the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) indicated its intention of abolishing school boards. This decision will not be accepted if it affects English school boards, as they are important for the survival of many communities.

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Quebec opens sweeping investigation into EMSB mismanagement allegations

Calling the situation “serious and troubling,” the Quebec government has launched a sweeping administrative investigation into allegations of chronic mismanagement and ethical transgressions at the English Montreal School Board.

But Education Minister Jean-François Roberge has denied the inquiry is a political move designed to intimidate the board, which is among many that oppose the government’s plans to transform boards into service centres.

“They are two totally separate issues,” Roberge told reporters, announcing what will be a nine-month “exhaustive” inquiry into the EMSB with a report due in the minister’s hands by Sept. 10.

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Radio Noon Montreal: Does it matter to you what language the signs are in at the Lachute Hospital?

Administrators there have been removing English from signs. They say they have no choice after a directive from the OQLF (Office Québécois de la langue française).

Radio Noon Montreal host Shawn Apel talks with Geoffrey Chambers of the Quebec Community Groups Network and other guests and callers.

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West Quebec mourns passing of James Shea

As 2018 concluded, the anglophone community was shocked by the unexpected passing of West Quebec community leader James Shea, at 76.

A lifelong educator, Mr Shea was, at the time of his death, Chairman of the West Quebec School Board (WQSB).

“We have lost an inspiring educational leader who provided all of us with a compelling and optimistic vision of the future for education in the WQSB. Jim was all about providing the best possible educational and social experience for our students. I’m confident that his legacy will continue to live on in each of us as evidenced in the work we do in our schools, centres and communities,” said Mike Dubeau, WQSB’s director.

Mr Shea was also president of the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN),  2016 to 2018, a province-wide grouping of anglophone community groups.

 

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Macpherson: A call to ‘extinguish’ minority dissent in Quebec

A denunciation of members of minorities who complain of their treatment in Quebec as “enemies … of French-speaking Quebec.”

With it, a call to “extinguish these hotbeds of intolerance,” in a message the writer acknowledges might be used by the “hotheaded and violently prejudiced.”

Just another rant from someone in the online hate community hiding behind a pseudonym, exceptional only for its lack of spelling mistakes?

No, a column published in Quebec’s most-read daily and on its website, and promoted on the province’s most popular television network, all properties of Pierre Karl Péladeau’s Québecor media empire.

Even in Péladeau’s flagship Le Journal de Montréal, with its deep lineup of minority-baiting columnists, I can’t recall ever reading anything as disturbing as Denise Bombardier’s Jan. 5 column titled “Les québécophobes.”

You can read the column in French online at journaldemontreal.com/2019/01/05/les-quebecophobes, and form your own opinion of it.

You can also listen to Bombardier promote it on TVA television at tvanouvelles.ca/videos/5986318403001where she falsely accused Quebec anglophones of not supporting francophone minorities in the rest of Canada, such as the Franco-Ontarians affected by recent spending cuts by the Ford government. In fact, the Quebec Community Groups Network and the Montreal Gazette, among others, were quick to come to the Franco-Ontarians’ defence

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