Statement from Marcus Tabachnick, President of the Quebec English School Boards Association, on today's decision of the Quebec Court of Appeals on Bill 104


    MONTREAL, Aug. 22 /CNW Telbec/ - QESBA welcomes today's Appeals Court
judgment which ruled inoperable certain sections of Bill 104 that prevented
parents from having eligibility to English public schools recognized based on
their child's attendance in non-subsidized English schools of Quebec.
    "We roughly estimate the number of potential English sector students who
could be affected by this judgment to be about 500 a year - most whom would
attend Montreal-island schools in our experience. That number is very
significant to an English sector that already has access to its schools
severely limited.
    "This sensible judgment is of real significance to our English public
school network. Furthermore, the potential impact on enrolment in Quebec's
French public school system of close to one million students is negligible.
Consequently, QESBA will be looking to Premier Charest and his government to
promptly instruct Education Department officials to take the necessary steps
to respect today's judgment.
    "The nine member boards of the Quebec English School Boards Association
(QESBA) are all deeply committed to giving each and every one of their
students the tools to live and work in French as well as English in Quebec. We
are deeply sensitive to and committed to addressing the importance of
stabilizing English school enrolment -- at the same time as we recognize the
importance of ensuring the continued strength and security of the French
language in Quebec. Today's sensible Court of Appeals judgment offers a
constructive and respectful answer to each of the above priorities.
    "QESBA hopes that today's judgment acts as a catalyst for a constructive
discussion on access to schooling that QESBA has been publicly calling for
over the past three years.
    "Many of the parents who are affected by this judgment have children
whose first language is English; for just about all other parents affected,
English is the first official language learned and understood. Should those
parents elect to send their children to non-subsidized private schools for a
period of time, it is only reasonable that their children be considered
eligible as a result of that schooling for attendance in any of Quebec's
English public schools."
    QESBA is disappointed to learn this hour that the Quebec government has
announced it will appeal today's decision to the Supreme Court of Canada. The
Association nevertheless expects this government to promptly instruct
Education Department officials to take the necessary steps to respect the
judgment at least until such time as a higher court ruling declares otherwise.



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