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.
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.
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.
Read more (In French)
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.
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.
Read more (in French only)
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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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