MONTREAL, APRIL 24, 2013 – The English Montreal School Board’s (EMSB) new approach of scheduling regular meetings with elected officials at the provincial, federal and municipal level continued on April 22 with the first such opportunity since last fall’s Quebec election with the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ.)
EMSB Chairman Angela Mancini, Vice-Chairman Sylvia Lo Bianco and Commissioners Frank Verrillo and Patricia Lattanzio, special advisors to the chairman on government relations, made up the delegation meeting with Nathalie Roy. She is the CAQ MNA for South Shore Montarville the party’s official critic on education culture and communications and the French language charter.
While the EMSB has held a number of meetings already with high ranking Liberal MNAs, Ms. Mancini said she was eager to sit down with the CAQ specifically to express concerns over the proposed language legislation Bill 14 as well as budget cuts to the public education system.
Ms. Roy spent more than one hour listening to the EMSB delegation, and took good note of the linguistic and financial issues and constraints affecting the EMSB and the English boards as a whole. More specifically with regards to Bill 14 Ms. Lattanzio stated that the foundation and essence of Bill 14 is flagrantly discriminatory to both the anglophone and francophone Quebecers, that any amendment brought forward by the CAQ could not justly remedy all the flaws contained in it. Ms. Roy replied that the English language mustbe protected in conjunction with the French language and that she will work with her party to ensure that the voices of the English community are heard in Quebec City.
“The Liberals have stated clearly that they will oppose Bill 14, said Ms. Mancini. “We shared with Ms. Roy our great hope that the CAQ will do the same.”
With regards to the existence of school boards, Ms. Mancini and Ms LoBianco underlined and stressed the necessity and efficiency of them. Ms. Roy acknowledged that English school boards are protected by the constitution and therefore they cannot be eliminated. “We reiterated how efficiently our school board is run and we hope to meet with her again to explain exactly how we manage our affairs,” said Ms. Mancini.
The same day, the EMSB delegation also met with Liberal MNA for Saint-Henri-Sainte-Anne Marguerite Blais. A follow up meeting will occur to discuss the EMSB Alternative School network. “We underlined to Ms. Blais how budgetary compressions would directly affect our services and precious programs such as alternative schools offered by the EMSB,” said Mr. Verrillo.
The delegation felt confident that its message was well delivered and received by both Mme Blais and Ms. Roy.