The English Montreal School Board and Anglophone groups were dismayed to hear that Quebec Education Minister Jean-Francois Roberge chose to announce his decision to impose the transfer of three English schools to the already overfilled Commission scolaire de la Pointe-de-l’Île, on a French language talk radio station without advising them first. His ministerial decree was heard on Tuesday June 11th during a 7:00am interview on CHMP-FM 98.5 with host Paul Arcand. Disappointment echoed throughout the English community. As of Tuesday afternoon the EMSB had yet to hear from Minister Roberge, who turned down interviews with the English media, including CTV Montreal – and instead chose to speak with other French-language media outlets during the day.
Angela Mancini, Chair of the English Montreal School Board was cited as saying in a CTV report, “I’m extremely disappointed in the education minister for having made such an announcement in the media during a 7 o’clock interview that he did, leaving us a little bit in the lurch… I feel it is a bit irresponsible for the minister to have gone this particularly route. We’re very disappointed with the way in which he is acting… we are not able to get any answers from the ministry at this time in order to be able to reassure our families that are waiting for answers from us.” Meanwhile inside the National Assembly Roberge said, “We had a lot of discussion with parents directly, with the community, and so I still believe that we have a good relation with the Anglophone community.”
Even though the school transfers need to be approved by the province’s cabinet, which is expected to be discussed sometime between June 21st and 24th, the EMSB will be holding an emergency meeting this evening, Wednesday June 12th, to discuss the expected transfers and the option of a legal challenge to block the decree.