Military access to English schooling: Is government tampering with Bill 101? - Minister's answer "entirely unsatisfactory" QESBA claims

MONTREAL, Jan. 30, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - Yesterday, the Quebec English School Boards Association (QESBA) called publicly upon the government to confirm that it will continue to guarantee temporary access to English schooling for children of Quebec-based military personnel. Since the adoption of Bill 101, the Charter of the French Language, in 1977, the law has required the government to do so. Today, QESBA President David D'Aoust called the answer to this question issued by Minister Marie Malavoy's office "entirely unsatisfactory".

"First, Mme Malavoy's statement says that her Ministry's treatment of military cases is, and I quote, "conforme aux décisions récentes du Tribunal administratif du Québec (TAQ)". Well, we are but days away from the school registration period, and military parents now have absolutely no idea how, when and where they address their requests for temporary English schooling. There is no form in place, no rules confirmed. Second, the Minister refers to a faulty (TAQ) decision based on a single case. That decision contradicts military protocol in Quebec and the rest of the country by suggesting that military employment can be permanently and unconditionally confirmed in a single location.

"The Minister's unfortunate statement now leads us to pose further and more troubling questions: Mme Malavoy: Are you now considering changing the rules without changing the law? Are you calling into question whether the military exemption in Bill 101 should apply now -- as it has since Premier René Lévesque proposed it - to all military employees, even if those are francophone and born in Québec? Are you now suggesting that some military employees will no longer be considered temporary? Are you now suggesting that, again contrary to Bill 101, a two-year military officer who has never left her assigned base in Bagotville might be henceforth considered 'permanent and ineligible' even though she could well be deployed in South Sudan a month from now? Are you saying that the Administrative Tribunal can now over-ride Bill 101?

On behalf of all military personnel stationed in Quebec and with a view to the future stability and health of our English public school network, I am asking the Minister to answer these questions and clearly. Yesterday's seven lines of bureaucratic boilerplate won't cut it - with us or with fair-minded Quebecers wherever they live and work!"

SOURCE Quebec English School Boards Association

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Kim Hamilton
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