|EMSB EXPRESSES CONCERNS OVER NEW CHARTER OF QUEBEC VALUES|
MONTREAL, NOVEMBER 14, 2013 – The English Montreal School Board has reiterated its opposition to the proposed new Charter of Quebec Values, now described under Bill 60 as the Charter Affirming The Values Of Secularism And The Religious Neutrality of The State, As Well As The Equality Of Men And Women, And The Framing Of Accommodation Requests.
“The fact that we have a proposal such as this from our government is deeply disturbing,” stated EMSB Chairman Angela Mancini. “This is an affront to human rights and human dignity and sends the opposite message of tolerance we try to convey to our students every day. We have teachers who wear religious symbols to work, not to mention students and this in no way affects their ability to lead.”
Ms. Mancini pointed out that the Council of Commissioners of the EMSB already adopted a unanimous resolution earlier this fall against the proposed Charter. In meetings with various MNA’s, the Chairman has repeated our opposition to this draft Bill and will continue to express the EMSB’s concerns to other elected officials. A number of schools have stepped forward to express their opposition to the proposal, notably Westmount High School where popular teacher Furheen Ahmed wears a hijab.
Ms. Mancini and Vice-Chairman Sylvia Lo Bianco intend to present a brief on behalf of the EMSB during the consultation process at the Quebec National Assembly.
The fact that the ban on religious symbols has been expanded to include not just religious headgear and jewelry, but also clothing and “other adornments” concerns Ms. Mancini. “I am again not comfortable with the fact that the government expects us to enforce a law with our staff which requires them not to wear any religious symbol which is important to their own personal faith,” she said.
Michael J. Cohen