En bref - Écoles-passerelles: clause dérogatoire?

Québec — Le député libéral Geoff Kelley a laissé entendre hier qu'il serait disproportionné de recourir à la clause dérogatoire pour empêcher que des parents envoient leurs enfants à l'école anglaise par des moyens détournés. M. Kelley a marqué une nette préférence pour que le gouvernement choisisse une autre voie afin de répondre à une décision de la Cour suprême invalidant la loi 104, qui interdisait l'accès aux «écoles-passerelles» privées et non subventionnées.

Malgré les rumeurs qui laissaient entendre le contraire, la ministre responsable de la Charte de la langue française, Christine St-Pierre, a déclaré que le recours à la clause dérogatoire est toujours parmi les options envisagées. Mme St-Pierre a cependant indiqué qu'il s'agit d'un dossier ardu pour lequel le gouvernement n'a pas encore arrêté de solution.
2 commentaires
  • Chris G. Eustace - Abonné 3 mai 2010 19 h 43

    Two solitudes and Bill 104

    May 3, 2010 - on Bill 104

    Strictly as an observer, I witnessed the 2-day case in the Appeals Court in Aug. 2007 ; and the Supreme Court of Canada hearing in Dec. 2008; and the St. Jean Baptiste rally in April 2010 - all dealing with the Bill 104 issue and related to the above Le Devoir piece . Here are some of my thoughts:

    ....................................................................................................

    First: on May 1, 2010 - CJAD news reports (on air and website):

    "Anglo school boards getting cold shoulder from Premier"...."Quebec's two biggest English-language school boards are feeling ignored by premier Jean Charest on the issue of bill 104, the so-called English public school "loophole law"...

    Angela Mancini, chairperson English Montreal School Board, says: "...It's a question of politics..."....Marcus Tabachnick, chairman Lester B. Pearson School Board says: "We're Quebecers too and deserve to be treated fairly...they have obligations to all their citizens..."

    Apparently, they are feeling mistreated because "Premier Charest has not chosen to respond to us."

    That's funny.

    Fact: Last Monday, April 26, I attended the Pearson board council meeting and picked up a copy of the approved council minutes of March 22, 2010.

    Under "Corporate Business", one item of "correspondence” reads:

    "Letter dated February 26, from the Office of the Premier, acknowledging receipt of our letter requesting a meeting to discuss Bill 104."

    ....................................................................................................

    April 21, 2010 - CJAD news reports this story which ties in with the April 22, Le Devoir's:

    «En bref - Écoles-passerelles: clause dérogatoire?»

    Here are some excerpts of the piece from CJAD's website titled: "Notwithstanding clause is still on the table."

    - The minister of culture says the use of the notwithstanding clause is still an option when it comes to cracking down on so-called "bridging schools."
    - A media report had said the Liberals have ruled that option out, because of fear of a backlash in the anglophone community.
    - But, minister Christine St. Pierre says her government is still considering applying bill 101 to private schools and keeping it in place with the notwithstanding clause.
    "All the scenarios are on the table," she says.
    - And, she says she's heard nothing from Anglophones in her Montreal riding of Acadie. "I don't receive any pressure from them."

    - MNA Geoff Kelly says the same "I haven't heard [from my constituents], I've heard more from school boards" (end of CJAD)

    MNA Geoffrey Kelley is right!

    Contrary to recent English media reports, there is no real panic in the English community. This is really a campaign to save English school-boards, not English schools.

    We need "oxygen" , and for the government "to let us live" refrain is disingenuous. It is a cover-up for the inaction of the English School Boards Association for many years to speak up for their community. The association is an embarrassment to the English community. Absolutely no class....
    ....................................................................................................

    Here is something with some class and dignity...

    On the 11:00 pm, April 8, Global News I heard something interesting about a rally that was going to be held and everyone was invited...

    I attended the St. Jean Baptiste de Montréal, "Québec vs. Cour Suprême" rally that dealt with Bill 104 - the access to English public schools matter. I found the three-hour presentation to be revealing and compelling.

    The production was their version of the history of Quebec's language debate. There were speeches by distinguished people and stirring film images on a giant screen, spanning from the 1839 Lord Durham Report to the 2009 Supreme Court ruling on Bill 104.

    I heard MNA Pierre Curzi give a passionate talk and demographer Charles Castonguay explain some revealing numbers and asked interesting questions:
    “Why is it that when you put 5 French-speaking people and one English-speaking person together, they end up speaking English?”... “Why is it that even when an English-speaking tourist comes to Montreal, knowing there are 5 million French Canadians here, asks in English for directions to St. Denis street ?” ....

    Most touching, though, was the haunting song sung in English, by young individuals: "Mommy, Daddy, what is my name? Mommy, Daddy, how come it's not the same?"

    After another tune, "Speak White" backed by the melancholic sound of a flute, the group of about 550, concluded with the rallying call "Vive le Québec français".

    In a country like Canada that boasts of a belief in free speech, this is fair enough. Nonetheless, my refrain would be: Vive parental choice.
    Unfortunately, that is the very refrain that would receive a frosty welcome from the Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Montréal (SSJB).

    Interestingly, according to the Quebec Community Groups Network ‘Daily Briefings’, there is mention of the April 12 edition of Le Nouvelliste paper, an article: “La très convoitée école anglophone”, in which frustrated francophone parents in Trois-Rivières are wondering about “a law that according to them limits access to education in the language of their choice.”

    The reaction to Bill 104 provides us with a vivid contrast. The SSJB provided the public with a well-publicized and spirited defence of their beliefs. Everything out in the open.

    The group that should have been the representative for parents’ rights is the Quebec English School Boards Association (QESBA). Yet, in this fight for those very rights, which are enshrined in the United Nations Charter, it is this association that has provided the most lamentable leadership.

    It ignored a defence for students who were improperly refused an English education. It was only at the last minute that they intervened in the court proceedings. They were shamed into that by teachers and a lawyer who had to beg for funds to represent his clients...I was at the Supreme Court (Dec. 15, 2008) and I heard the lawyer clearly say that the English school boards were not that helpful for his clients

    Now the former long-time president of the QESBA and chairperson of the Lester B. Pearson School Board, Marcus Tabachnick writes in the April edition of the Pearson News (school-board newspaper) under the heading “Access to English Schools”:

    “Our MNA’s need to hear from us. They need to hear from you that this is an important issue, that we are concerned about our future and more importantly, our children’s future.” Then he lists the phone numbers of 12 MNAs including Premier Charest....

    The hypocrisy is palpable.

    ....................................................................................................

    Thank you Le Devoir for giving me space to express my thoughts...


    http://www.ledevoir.com/politique/quebec/286621/en


     
    Chris Eustace - (ceustace@videotron.ca)
     

  • Chris G. Eustace - Abonné 9 mai 2010 12 h 29

    Two solitudes and Bill 104 - Part 2 : the enemy

    May 9, 2010 Two solitudes and Bill 104 (part 2 - the enemy)




    This réaction is a follow-up to the above - and to an advertisement in the May 8 edition of The Gazette headed: "Bill 104 Chronic Decline of the Anglophone Community." (page A-7)

    The ad says, "Make sure our voices are heard" by signing an online petition, phoning or emailing:

    "Premier Jean Charest ; Minister of Education Michelle Courchesne; Minister of Justice Kathleen Weil , and Christine St-Pierre, Minister of Culture (Bill 101)."

    Four of the nine English school boards of Quebec put out the ad. They plead: "Time is of the essence. The Government is expected to introduce legislation about this issue in the coming days or weeks."
    ....................................................................................................

    As I have previously mentioned this is a campaign to save English school-boards - not English schools nor the English community.

    Re: Anglophone Community:

    Consider this: The advertisement lists: "Christine St-Pierre, Minister of Culture (Bill 101)"...Then take glance at a May 7, article in the Gazette: "Festival d'éte draws ire of sovereignists."

    Both Ms. St. Pierre and Madame Marois dismissed complaints from some sovereignists that this year’s program at the Festival d’été will feature too many anglophone acts...
    The sovereignist group is “fuming” that organizers are using public funds to promote “Anglo-Saxon culture” at the fête on the Plains of Abraham.

    So it is not the English community that is being threatened.
    ....................................................................................................

    (Incidentally, talking about Madame Marois, I was pleased to read in The Gazette about 5-6 days ago that the latest Parti Québecois policy discussion paper is suggesting that one solution to improve public services is to abolish school boards and thus give schools more autonomy.)
    ....................................................................................................

    Anyway, back to the advertisement. It suggests that the result of Bill 104 is the "Chronic decline of the Anglophone community"...

    Now, consider this 'Opinion': "The value of schools", Gazette, April 17, 2010 by Robert Donnelly - president of the Quebec Community Groups Network - an umbrella organization to about 30 English groups such as: Quebec English newspapers, farmers, Home and School, 4H club, writers and so on....(not the Quebec English School Boards Association - QESBA)

    He writes: "A full 21.4 per cent of children enrolled in French schools have English as their mother tongue and the vast majority of them could be attending English schools."

    Therefore, it is not Bill 104 causing the chronic decline of the English community as the English school-boards claim...IF there is a decline, perhaps it is because of parents choosing French schools above English - i.e. parental choice...
    ....................................................................................................

    Regardless, what I find most troubling in this whole saga of the Bill 104 issue is the arrogance and negligence of the Quebec English School Boards Association. Let's back up to the last 3-4 years.

    There was no mention of Bill 104 in three significant briefs from the Quebec English School Boards Association. The briefs were: Advisory Council on the Future of English Education (2006) ; Bouchard-Taylor Report (2007) and the Forum on the Future of School Boards (2008).
    ....................................................................................................

    Let's look at the Bouchard-Taylor Report. I submitted a report strictly as a concerned citizen.... This was reported in the Cités Nouvelles, Publié le 5 Décembre 2007, (some excerpts)

    « Les anglophones se font entendre à Bouchard-Taylor

    Un enseignant retraité réclame l’accès à l’école anglaise pour tous

    Le micro ambulant ne s’est pas rendu jusqu’à M. Chris Eustace, de l’Ouest de l’île avant la fin de la soirée. L’enseignant à la retraite a toutefois soumis une lettre à la commission réclamant un meilleur accès à l’école anglaise pour tous.
    «On parle d’éducation. On parle des droits des anglophones. On parle d’accommoder les enfants», a martelé M. Eustace, faisant référence à la loi 104 qui, soutient-il, restreint l’accès à l’école anglaise au Québec aux citoyens canadiens de langue anglaise.
    La semaine dernière, l’Association provinciale des enseignantes et enseignants du Québec a annoncé la création d’un fonds de défense de 20 000$ à l’intention des parents désireux de contester la loi 104 devant les tribunaux dans l’espoir d’envoyer leurs enfants à l’école anglaise. Il s’agit d’une initiative du Syndicat des enseignants Laurier.
    «Il y a ici un enjeu très important. Ce que nous faisons pour l’éducation est de retenir possiblement les immigrants de qualité qui ne pourraient contribuer au développement de la province à cause de ces lois restrictives.»
    ....................................................................................................
    I have also written several pieces chastising the QESBA about this issue, including : 'On Bill 104 and school-board inaction' (Gazette, letter, Sept. 6, 2007) ; School boards right to support Bill 104 challenge' (Gazette, letter, April 3, 2008) , and 'Finally, QESBA joins the Bill 104 challenge' (The Suburban, op-ed, March 26, 2008)...Furthermore, several times I asked at the Lester B. Pearson School Board council meetings what were they doing about the Bill 104 situation. Never received a straight answer...
    ....................................................................................................

    Meanwhile... The Chronicle - Published on December 11th, 2007... (excerpts)

    " Teachers don’t need guidelines: QESBA

    Association says reasonable accommodation a non-issue
     
    QESBA, however, took an opposite point of view. “I think we have to point out that, as far as the English school system is concerned, we don’t see the crisis that seems to be present in people’s minds in general; certainly not the way it’s being portrayed in the media,” Tabachnick said.

    “As always, when new programs are introduced, we want to be sure the teaching materials are in place on time, in English for the English system,” he said.

    ....................................................................................................

    The Chronicle Published on January 18th, 2008 (excerpts)

    " Bright future in store for WI anglophone community "
     
    "The beginning of a new year is customarily a time many people make plans and wishes for the future, and also reflect on the past. Recently, Montreal Express spoke with the chairman of the Lester B. Pearson School Board (LBPSB) and president to the Quebec English School Boards Association (QESBA), Marcus Tabachnick, about his opinions on the current state and future of the anglophone community in the West Island...
    Tabachnick also said the state of education in the English public school system at the elementary and high school levels is also doing very well, with graduation rates in the LBPSB remaining among the highest in Quebec...
    As for one of the biggest stories to come out of 2007 – the Bouchard-Taylor Commission – Tabachnick says he does not see those issues in the West Island. “You ask yourself, what is all this about reasonable accommodation in the West Island? There’s great respect for culture, religion, race, language. We don’t fight those battles here,” he said. “I think we have the ideal mix on the West Island. It’s a terrific place to bring up a family. I think we’re in a good place.”
    ....................................................................................................

    As is evident, according to the president of the QESBA, and chair of Lester B. Pearson School Board, Marcus Tabachnick, everything is great on the English front - the English community.
    ....................................................................................................

    However, that proved to be not so...In fact, the entire government was misled.

    Do you remember the explosion about the lack of English textbooks for the kids attending English schools and following the curriculum reform?
    MNAs Yolande James, Geoffrey Kelley, Russell Copeman, and Lawrence Bergman were obligated to write a letter to the Gazette editor on June 21, 2008: "We pushed for textbooks: MNAs". They wrote they only found out about "this issue raised in March 2008."

    Their letter followed a Gazette editorial: "Textbook foul up penalizes anglophone students" - June 16, 2008.

    This textbook story mirrors exactly the Bill 104 story.

    ....................................................................................................
    Now it is important to mention that there is one group that was paying attention to the access to English schools situation - the Bill 104 matter: the aforementioned Home and School organization. Since 2006, the group raised red flags regarding the issue.
    ....................................................................................................

    While they were passing resolutions and raising some money to help in the Bill 104 matter, the English school boards were basically saying: Everything is fine; we are English; leave us alone; we know what we're doing and so on - was the attitude of the QESBA.... and that's where the shame lies.

    Now they are begging people to sign petitions, phone or email MNAs. "Time is of the essence", the English school-boards are crying. Where were they when Bill 104 was passed in 2002?

    In Le Devoir, on 29 octobre 2009, the new president and former president of the QESBA, and two other chairpersons of English school boards, wrote an opinion piece titled:

    «Nous ne sommes pas l'ennemi».

    Wrong. L'Association des commissions scolaires anglophones du Québec is the enemy.

    The Association squandered many opportunities, and their penchant for equivocation, delay, and procrastination on this Bill 104 matter clearly defines them as the enemy - and an absolute disgrace.

    I wish to thank again the Editorial Board of Le Devoir for allowing me room to express my thoughts regarding current issues affecting the anglophone community in Québec.


    Chris Eustace - (ceustace@videotron.ca)