|EMSB COMMISSIONERS VOICE DEEP CONCERNS OVER BILL 14 WITH LOCAL MNAS|
MONTREAL, MARCH 13, 2013 –English Montreal School Board Chairman Angela Mancini has begun a process of meeting with Members of the Quebec National Assembly, principally at the moment of expressing opposition to the proposed new language legislation set out in Bill 14.
Working with Vice-Chair Sylvia Lo Bianco and commissioners Patricia R. Lattanzio, (Riviere des Prairies) and Frank Verrillo ( St. Léonard), special advisors to the chairman on government relations, Ms. Mancini has set an objective of meeting with political representatives at the municipal, provincial and federal levels.
Initial meetings have taken place with Quebec Liberal MNAs Filomena Rotiroti, (Jeanne-Mance–Viger) and Lawrence Bergman (D'Arcy-McGee), as well as the chief of staff for Lise Thériault (Anjou–Louis-Riel), Martin Lapointe.
Ms. Mancini emphasized that Bill 14 would amount to the beginnings of the demise of English public education in Quebec and a slow suffocation of English society as a whole. She stated that the proposed amendments to the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms would increase the strict conditions on who could attend English public schools. Noting that the EMSB has the second highest graduation rate of any public school board in the province at 84 percent, the schools within the EMSB system continuously produce educated and bilingual graduates.
The delegation also voiced their concerns on behalf of other English school boards, specifically that of Central Quebec, which would suffer a loss of an estimated 700 students due to the bill overturning the exemption of military families temporarily stationed in Quebec to attend an English public school. Central Quebec serves Canadian Forces Base Valcartier.
Finally, it was stressed that Bill 14 will target school boards through the measures directed at businesses. The delegation stated that these new measures will have a direct effect on EMSB alumni, who, despite being bilingual, already have difficulty in securing employment in predominantly Francophone areas post-graduation.
In addition to Bill 14, Ms. Mancini and the delegation noted the EMSB’s deep concern with the across-the-board cuts that have been asked of the school boards. With a declining enrolment as well as a decrease in financing, it was stressed that it is impossible to provide the proper services for students with such budgetary restrictions. As such, future cuts are being made at the school level, thus directly affecting the students. Should nothing be done, Mancini indicated that the EMSB would have no choice but to adopt a deficit.
Michael J. Cohen