For English-speaking Quebecers, being a minority within a minority can be both a burden and a blessing, writes retired senator and former editor in chief of the Montreal Gazette, Joan Fraser. While linguistic division is one of our defining features, Quebecers also have much in common, writes Fraser who sits on the board of the Quebec Community Groups Network and is a vice-chair of APPELE-Quebec, the umbrella group formed to defend English school boards.
Our community has the Constitutional right to manage and control our schools. The Coalition Avenir Québec government has taken this right away from our English-speaking community – and together we must fight to take back this fundamental right. All nine of our English school boards along with the Quebec English School Boards Association have launched a legal challenge to quash Bill 40. This controversial legislation abolishes our democratically elected school boards and transforms them into government-controlled service centres. Our legal action declares that this upheaval of our education system contravenes our linguistic minority community’s right to manage and control our school system. This foundational right, under Section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, guarantees education in one of Canada’s two official languages. It is an essential element of linguistic duality, a cornerstone of our national identity. It took French parents in British Columbia five years to win another case that solidified minority-language education rights. Just like our West Coast counterparts, we are in this for the long haul. This is bound to be a long and costly fight. Please consider making a contribution to the Go Fund Me campaign to support this legal action to defend the Constitutional rights of Quebec’s English-speaking community and advance the minority-language rights of all Canadians. Any donation, big or small, is appreciated – but most importantly a large number of donors will unequivocally demonstrate to our governments that we believe in our rights and we will fight to protect them. Please contribute what you can and help us get the news out by sharing this appeal extensively throughout your networks.
“Over the coming weeks,” Geoff Kelley, chairperson of APPELLE-Québec says, “we will be preparing our case, recruiting parents and others to participate as plaintiffs, and determining who will be intervening on behalf of the community.” The Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) is part of the steering committee.
“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.
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.
MONTREAL — A court should consider whether Bill 40 is constitutional before the National Assembly votes on it, a group of English community leaders argued on Monday.
The group, the Alliance for the Promotion of Public English-language Education in Québec (APPELE), opposes Bill 40. If passed, the bill would abolish school boards in Quebec, replacing them with service centres.
Montreal, February 3, 2020 – APPELE-Québec, an alliance of 16 groups representing parents, educators and the community, is urging the Quebec government to seek a court ruling on the constitutionality of Bill 40 which seeks to abolish our school boards.
Following a hearing held on Nov. 18 on Bill 40; An Act to amend mainly the Education Act with regard to school organization and governance, APPELE-Québec, a coalition to preserve English school boards, is urging the Quebec Government to delay passage of the bill to allow for further discussion and analysis.
The Alliance for the Promotion of Public English-language Education in Québec (APPELE-Québec) is hosting a public hearing this afternoon on Bill 40; An Act to amend mainly the Education Act with regard to school organization and governance.
1819 René-Lévesque W.
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