A coalition of Anglo groups is uniting to defend school boards from the CAQ. Former MNA Geoff Kelley leads the group and has more.
A new coalition of English rights groups, politicians and schools are vowing to fight the CAQ’s plan to get rid of school boards. The coalition, APPELE – Alliance for the Promotion of Public English-Language Education – says that minority rights are protected under the Constitution, and hopes it can change the government’s mind before it gets to be a legal battle.
Quebec’s education minister said those who oppose his government’s plan to abolish school boards are engaging in scare tactics when they say the move will hurt minority communities.
Former MNA Geoffrey Kelley is interviewed on CJAD’s The Aaron Rand Show on the fight to preserve and defend English school boards. Kelley is Chair of the newly formed APPELE-Québec – the Alliance for the Promotion of Public English-Language Education – a broad coalition of English-speaking community leaders and groups working to preserve democratically elected school boards.
Brian Rock hopes to save English school boards from the clutches of the CAQ government, and he’s not alone. In January, Rock formed Citizens of the Outaouais for the Future of English Education in Western Quebec, or COFFEE-WQ.
A Montreal-based group has also arisen to combat the possible abolishment of school boards. The Alliance for the promotion of Public English Language Education In Quebec – APPELE-Quebec – will be among the network regional groups that COFFEE-WQ will work with and under.
People can get involved by emailing email@example.com or calling Rock at 819-968-4300.
As their petition to save Riverdale High School continues to pick up steam, several former students are also considering taking their fight to court.
“You can just click on it and watch the numbers keep rolling on it,” said former student Amanda Lovelace. “We’re actually shocked.”
In a week, they have gathered just over 2,000 signatures.
While they have enlisted the help of their local MNA, Monseff Derraji, to take their petition to the National Assembly, Lovelace says they are willing to put forth a legal challenge.
Starting September, Riverdale High School will be operated by Marguerite-Bourgeoys school board. Aimée Lemieux reports.
Watch interview with QCGN President Geoffrey Chambers
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.”
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.
Read more (in French only)
Montreal – December 14, 2018 – Quebec’s English-speaking community has absolutely no intention of heeding Premier François Legault’s advice that we abandon any plans to challenge the Coalition Avenir Quebec government’s scheme to abolish school boards and replace them with service centres.
Acknowledging that he and his Education Minister, Jean-François Roberge, have yet to discuss their plan with Quebec’s English-speaking community, the Premier told The Gazette yesterday that he is forging ahead with the controversial reform. Premier Legault dared to forecast that once service centres are in place, our community “will realize they lost nothing.”
“We disagree most emphatically,” the President of the Quebec Community Groups Network, Geoffrey Chambers, stated. “The Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling in Mahe v. Alberta was crystal clear. The Court ruled that minority language communities have the right to control and manage the educational facilities in which their children are taught, to both ensure and enable that our language and culture can flourish.”
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