“We believe minority rights are important in our society,” Geoffrey Kelley, chair of APPELE-Québec, tells Alessia Simona Maratta of Global News. “And this government does not have a very good track record in terms of respecting [those rights].”
Geoffrey Kelley, chair of APPELE-Québec and former member of the National Assembly, says Quebec could have easily exempted English school boards from Bill 40. Now, he adds, his group is concerned that the election process proposed is too complex and, as currently structured, makes it difficult for people within the English-speaking community to run for a director position at a service centre. His group has made concrete proposals to simplify the election process and to clarify the roles and responsibilities of the new directors.
The Quebec English School Boards Association (QESBA), along with several English-speaking groups, will challenge the elimination of school boards in court.
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English school boards have confirmed that they will challenge the constitutionality of Bill 40, a law that would transform school boards into Service centers.
Read more (In French)
Montreal, February 20, 2020 – APPELE-Québec announced today that representatives of Quebec’s English-speaking community will be launching a court challenge to Bill 40; An Act to amend mainly the Education Act with regard to school organization and governance. The Alliance for the Promotion of Public English-language Education in Quebec (APPELE-Québec) brings together 16 groups representing parents, educators and the community.
Start Date: As soon as possible
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“It’s very improper for the ministry to implement policies and laws that compromise the community’s constitutional rights and for them to impede the community in verifying whether those constitutional rights have in fact been compromised,” said Geoffrey Chambers, president of the Quebec Community Groups Network. “It’s possible we have a disagreement among good faith parties and that the courts have to decide, but in that case the courts really have to decide. For one of those parties to obstruct, impede or intimidate the other which has fewer resources is just not right.”
Statement by the Quebec Community Groups Network
Montreal, February 7, 2020 – This has been a difficult week for Quebec’s English-speaking community as our rights continue to be dismissed and our relations with the Quebec government deteriorate further.
On Monday, the Alliance for the Promotion of Public English-language Education in Québec (APPELE-Québec), an alliance of 16 groups representing parents, educators and the community, urged the Quebec government to seek a court ruling on the constitutionality of Bill 40, which seeks to abolish our school boards. Within hours Education Minister Jean-Francois Roberge rejected our suggestion of a reasonable and responsible way of ending this impasse over his ill-conceived legislation. This approach that has been frequently used in other provinces by French-speaking minority communities. We continue to maintain that abolishing our school boards and replacing them with powerless service centres does not respect our constitutional right to manage and control our school system.
Montreal, February 6, 2020 – APPELE-Québec expressed today its frustration and displeasure with the Government of Quebec’s decision to once again limit debate on Bill 40 by invoking closure.
Since the tabling of this complex and at times incoherent bill – it amends 84 separate Acts of the National Assembly – Education Minister Jean-François Roberge has done everything he can to restrict debate on his proposed changes to the governance of our school system. For example, he restricted the number of groups allowed to appear before the parliamentary committee reviewing his proposed legislation, forcing us to hold our own public hearings to ensure our community’s voices would be heard.
APPELE-Quebec announced last week that the community will be taking the Quebec government to court to challenge Bill 40. Quebec Community Groups Network President Geoffrey Chambers said the Bill cannot withstand serious constitutional scrutiny.
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