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English Montreal School Board taking Quebec to court

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Another constitutional challenge is being brought forth against the Quebec government by the EMSB, concerning the forced transferring of two of their schools to the Commission Scolaire de la Pointe-de-l’Ile.

Last July the EMSB attempted get a court injunction to stop the transfers of General Vanier Elementary School and John Paul I Junior High School, with the argument that the government’s decision violated minority language rights guaranteed in the Constitution. But the Judge, Dominique Poulin, decided the school board ‘failed to make the case that the matter was urgent’ and that the French school board ‘would suffer a more important prejudice if the request by the EMSB was accorded and it’s equally in the public interest for its demand to be refused’.

Angela Mancini, the English Montreal School Board’s chairperson announced on Tuesday September 10th, the board’s lawyers have filed a second court case, asking a judge to decide on the constitutionality of the transfers and that the EMSB is concerned that similar school transfers will keep happening in the years to come – and it is why they are bringing the challenge to the Quebec Superior Court. Along with several other Anglophone groups, they state the transfers violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The next battle will be against the CAQ’s plans to abolish all school boards in Quebec, taking away the fundamental rights of the English community to manage and control their own educational system. In the EMSB’s board minutes from their September 4th meeting it states, ‘Section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms confers on the representatives of the English-speaking minority of Quebec the exclusive authority to make decisions relating to the minority language instruction and facilities’. Francis Bouchard, the CAQ’s Education Ministry spokesperson recently said in a statement, ‘We plan to introduce a bill to improve school governance this fall and it’s within its legal right to do… EMSB commissioners should spend less time playing politics and more time focusing on the success of its students’. An outrageous comment considering the English Montreal School Board has achieved the highest success rate among public school boards in the entire province of Quebec.

By: Bonnie Wurst – info@mtltimes.ca

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