MONTREAL, June 2 /CNW Telbec/ -
Our English public school network prepares each of its students for a
rich and productive future in Quebec. We view ourselves as vital partners
in building Quebec and the communities we serve. Evidently, this
government does not share that vision. On behalf of the Quebec English
School Boards Association (QESBA) and its two largest member school
boards, English Montreal and Lester B. Pearson, we are here to tell you
that we are extremely disappointed by the proposed "solution" announced
by the Liberal government this morning in response to the Supreme Court
decision on Bill 104.
We went to the Supreme Court to argue that the Quebec government has
certain obligations with respect to allowing access to English schooling;
we said the government has a responsibility to provide us with the
necessary oxygen to thrive and grow. We insisted that such obligations
and responsibilities could be honoured without in any way threatening the
legitimate and necessary protections for the French language in Quebec.
The Supreme Court agreed with us.
Sadly, the government of Quebec has evidently been unable to summon the
courage or the leadership to implement this honourable balance. We expect
a growing number of Quebecers will share our anger and disappointment
This government had a chance to respond to the Court decision in a manner
that could have supplied Quebec's English public schools with perhaps
500-800 additional students a year. That is vital replenishment for us,
and requires only modest and manageable reductions for a francophone
school system of close to one million students. Once in our schools,
those students would have the chance to master French, to participate in
one of nine English school boards who are graduating an average of
80-per-cent-plus of their students each year - a target that this
government only hopes to meet in the year 2020. The government could have
respected the Court ruling, and maintained its necessary and legitimate
defence of the French language at the same time.
Instead, it has chosen to respond with the paralysis and confusion that
have so often afflicted Quebec governments when addressing the realities
of a francophone Quebec and an increasingly frustrated English-speaking
Let there be no mistake: our English public school system - with or
without the support and leadership it deserves from its government -
will, today and tomorrow, take its full place in Quebec society. It will
use that place to produce bilingual graduates, ready, eager and willing
to build their futures here. Those graduates will count on the good faith
of our francophone concitoyens to include them in that future - and they
will continue to hope, like us, for a day when their government will
delight in the opportunities these English school graduates can bring.
Today, this government has failed to deliver the fairness, clarity and
justice that those graduates so richly deserve.
SOURCE Quebec English School Boards Association
For further information: For further information: Kimberley Hamilton, Director of Communications and Special Projects, (514) 849-5900, ext. 225, (514) 919-3894 cell.