Statement by Debbie Horrocks, President of the Quebec English School Boards,
Sylvia Lo Bianco, Vice-Chair of the English Montreal School Board, and Marcus
Tabachnick, Chair of the Lester B. Pearson School Board on the solution
proposed by the Quebec government in response to the Supreme Court decision
on Bill 104

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 morning.

    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
    minority.

    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.


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