TORONTO, June 2, 2015 /CNW/ - Parents who are part of the #ActionACMT movement came today to the very seat of the government of Ontario. The official delegation, along with about one hundred students, parents and members of the community went to Queen's Park to pursue their action to gain full funding for a new French Catholic high school, on their own land, in order to serve the student population of schools in the Brantford, Haldimand-Norfolk, Simcoe and Hamilton-Wentworth regions.
Greeted by the MPP for the riding of Simcoe North, Garfield Dunlop, the parent delegation held a press conference at Queen's Park before watching Question Period in the legislature where Gila Martow, MPP for Thornhill, addressed questions to the Honorable Liz Sandals, Minister of Education. The entire delegation then met with Patrick Brown, leader of the Conservatory Party of Ontario.
"As Franco-Ontarians, we must defend our rights, those of our children and of future generations... It is with great pride that I announce today that the Franco-Ontarian community of the Greater Hamilton region has rallied to our cause," said Joanne Bouchard, President of Groupe #ActionACMT.
Over 2,500 petitions were tabled and they will be officially registered in the public archives. "This is a major mark in the annals of history. We are adding a page to Franco-Ontarian history," Ms. Bouchard added.
Over the last months, parents have taken all possible action to meet the MPPs from their region in order to ask why the school facilities of the Conseil scolaire de district catholique Centre-Sud are not truly equivalent to those of the majority. Many MPPs sent letters supporting the cause, including Monique Taylor, MPP for the riding of Hamilton Mountain, Toby Barrett, MPP for the riding of Haldimand-Norfolk and Dave Levac, MPP for the riding of Brant.
The parents' action against the government of Ontario will soon go before the courts. Many recent events elsewhere in Canada advocate in favour of the cause of the parents of #ActionACMT. Supreme Court decisions clearly signal that the present legal climate supports parents' claims for full funding for a new school on its own land that will be the equivalent of that of the majority.
In its decision in the case of École Rose-des-Vents in British Columbia, a school with no schoolyard and with facilities that did not meet the needs of a high school, the Supreme Court of Canada recognized that this was a violation of language rights. By dissuading many parents from sending their children there, the situation contributed to assimilation.
"It is sad to note that a good many students decide to pursue their education in other schools that offer better laboratories, better gymnasiums and better sports fields. Those students abandon their right to a French-Catholic education because present facilities do not meet the needs of a high school, and are far from facilities worthy of any school in the 21st Century," stated Nancy Baverstock, President of the ACMT Parents' Council.
Parents have always maintained that they are ready to meet the Minister of Education, the Honorable Liz Sandals, and the Attorney General, the Honorable Madeleine Meilleur, in order to find a solution. Those meetings have yet to be held. "We have always maintained that the Ministry of Education should use public funds to meet the needs of French-speaking Catholic students instead of spending them on legal proceedings," concluded Ms. Bouchard.
Attending students and parents then watched Question Period in the legislature before returning to Hamilton.
SOURCE Conseil Scolaire de District Catholique Centre-Sud
Image with caption: "Mark Power, Joanne Bouchard and Nancy Baverstock during the press conference (CNW Group/Conseil Scolaire de District Catholique Centre-Sud)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20150602_C5638_PHOTO_EN_17454.jpg
Image with caption: "Handing over of the more than 2 500 petitions. Left to right: Nancy Baverstock, Didier Letarte-Bérubé, Monique Taylor, MPP for Hamilton-Mountain, Lis Nzoyihera, Joanne Bouchard (CNW Group/Conseil Scolaire de District Catholique Centre-Sud)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20150602_C5638_PHOTO_EN_17455.jpg
Image with caption: "The delegation with Garfield Dunlop, MPP for the riding of Simcoe North and Patrick Brown, leader of the Conservatory Party of Ontario. (CNW Group/Conseil Scolaire de District Catholique Centre-Sud)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20150602_C5638_PHOTO_EN_17456.jpg
Image with caption: "The delegation in front of Queen’s Park (CNW Group/Conseil Scolaire de District Catholique Centre-Sud)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20150602_C5638_PHOTO_EN_17457.jpg
For further information: Source: Mikale-Andrée Joly, For Groupe #ActionACMT, 416 397-6564, poste 73130, [email protected]