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Premier Legault Attempts to Muzzle English-speaking Community

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.

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Bill 40: Anglo organisations contest the reform

An alliance of organizations which represents English-speaking parents and educators question the constitutionality of Bill 40 on school governance. It asks that the bill be sent back to appellate court, or else the organizations could undertake legal procedure themselves.

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Anglophone groups want court to decide the fate of school-board reform

Anglophone opponents of Bill 40 say they are ready for a “costly and prolonged court battle” against the Quebec government’s plan to abolish school boards that oversee elementary and high schools.

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Changes desired to Bill 40

The leaders of Alliance for the Promotion of Public English-Language Education in Quebec (APPELE-Quebec criticize the Coalition Avenir Québec’s plans of abolishing school boards and express their concerns with the impact this could have on Quebec’s English-speaking community.

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Opinion: Bill to abolish school boards requires significant amendments

With the government of Quebec tabling Bill 40, the framework for the proposed abolition of school boards, the three leaders of the Alliance for the Promotion of Public English-language Education in Quebec (APPELE-Quebec) maintain that many serious problems remain to be addressed. Geoffrey Kelley, Joan Fraser and Kevin Shaar emphasize that the bill, as it is currently constituted, will discourage community and volunteer involvement, muzzle our elected officials and increase the grip on our school system held by the education minister and ministry officials.  “We will continue our analysis, and we encourage the government to allow for a full public policy debate.”

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Analysis: Pride and Pragmatism are Hallmarks of Legault’s First Year in Office

The Montreal Gazette’s political reporter Philip Authier reflects on key moments that have marked the Coalition Avenir Québec’s first year in power. There have been a series of initiatives, most notably the plan to abolish school boards and the implementation of Bill 21, have concerned the community at large commented QCGN President Geoffrey Chambers.

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Poll – English-speaking Quebecers Views on School Boards

What do English-speaking Quebecers think about the current state of affairs in their home province? This five-part study is based on one of the largest surveys of opinion conducted to-date of Quebec English-speakers. 

Conducted by Léger Marketing for the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN), the Community Economic Development and Employability Corporation (CEDEC), the Quebec English School Board Association (QESBA) and the Association for Canadian Studies (ACS), the survey was conducted via web panel between August 29 and September 4, 2019.

The poll sampled 1, 937 Quebecers which included 1019 English-speaking Quebecers, 773 French-speaking Quebecers and 144 persons whose first language is neither English nor French. The survey has a margin of error of 2.5 19 times out of 20.

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Anglo Group, Quebec Education Minister Meet to Discuss School Boards

Following a meeting with Education Minister Jean-François Roberge last week, representatives of Quebec’s English-speaking community are cautiously optimistic they have the government’s ear ahead of its planned school board reform. “The minister gave us a good solid hour and listened carefully to the positions of the community, which were very well expressed,” said Quebec Community Groups Network president Geoffrey Chambers, who took part in the meeting.

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QCGN and CAQ hold meeting ahead of the new school year

QCGN President Geoffrey Chambers sat down with Global Montreal’s Dan Spector to discuss a recent meeting between APPELE-Québec, which is defending democratically elected school boards, and Education Minister Jean-François Roberge, whose government has plan to abolish them. 

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English Quebecers strong supporters of school boards: poll

A majority of English-speaking Quebecers believe schools boards play a key role in both the well-being of the education system and the protection of the community’s linguistic-minority rights. Commissioned by Alliance for the Promotion of Public English-language Education in Quebec (APPELE-Québec), the Léger Marketing poll was conducted between March 13-21, 2019.

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