Language

CSL leads the way in speaking out against Bill 14

Côte Saint-Luc, in particular our mayor Anthony Housefather, has taken a leadership role against the minority PQ government's mean spirited Bill 14. Among other things, it threatens to remove bilingual status from cities and towns like ours. Mayor Housefather wrote the script for this impressive video, with our valuable Public Affairs and Communications Director Darryl Levine working ever so carefully behind the scenes.

This video really explains the situation as Bill 14 impacts upon bilingual municipalities magnificently.

 

 


CSL takes leadership role opposing Bill 14 language law

With Côte Saint-Luc certainly taking the lead, municipalities with bilingual status  are adopting resolutions  affirming their desire to retain their bilingual status and opposing Bill 14, which would give the Quebec government the power to unilaterally remove this status against the will of the municipality or borough concerned.

“If the bill becomes law, more than half of the 84 municipalities and boroughs that have bilingual status might lose it,” said Mayor Anthony Housefather of Côte Saint-Luc. “It is unconscionable that the Parti Québécois government amended the legislation in 2000 to define who is an English-speaker in the narrowest possible way and now wants to use those misleading numbers to unilaterally remove bilingual status.”

Since 1977, it have been illegal for municipalities to, among other things, send a bilingual tax bill, erect bilingual signage, or send a bilingual memo to city workers. However, an exception was made under Section 29.1 of the Charter of the French Language, commonly referred to as bilingual status, for municipalities where a majority of residents spoke a language other than French. In 2000, another Parti Québécois government adopted Bill 171, which drastically changed the criteria to obtain bilingual status from a majority of residents of a municipality or borough who spoke a language other than French to a majority of residents whose mother tongue was English.

This revised criteria was imposed without consulting municipalities and boroughs, and adopted the narrowest and most inaccurate definition of the English-speaking communities.

 Bill 14, tabled by the new Parti Québécois minority government, would allow for the potential removal of bilingual status from municipalities or boroughs by decree--and against the will of the municipality or borough concerned, its duly elected council and its residents—if less than 50 percent of residents are mother tongue English speaking.

Of the 1,476 cities and towns and boroughs in Quebec, only 84—or 6 percent—have bilingual status.

I am urging readers to please go to www.bilingualstatus.com and from there write a letter to your Member of the National Assembly, requesting that they vote against this law.

Here is an interview Mayor Housefather did on Bill 14 on  CBC Radio One. Just right click on the file and then cliick open for it it to play:

20130117-CBC-Bernard-St-Laurent-interviews-Mayor-Housefather-re-Bill-14-v2

Here is a report on Global TV:

 

 Here is the report from CTV News:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Côte Saint-Luc adopts important resolution on ``bilingual`` status

Côte Saint-Luc City Council has every intention of retaining our bilingual status, something that is threatened by the PQ government`s Bill 14.

Here is a copy of the resolution:

RESOLUTION
ON SECTION 29.1 “BILINGUAL” STATUS

 

Whereas  the Charter of the French Language (“Charter”) was adopted by the Quebec National Assembly in 1977, and  over 80 municipalities throughout the Province of Quebec were recognized as having “bilingual status” pursuant to the provisions of Section 29.1 of the Charter; and

Whereas the original provisions of the Charter allowed those municipalities that had a majority of residents who spoke a language other than French to be officially recognized under Section 29.1; and

Whereas the City of Côte Saint-Luc has been recognized as having bilingual status under Section 29.1 of the Charter since 1977 and wishes to retain such “bilingual status”; and

Whereas currently the Charter does not allow the recognition of “bilingual status” under Section 29.1 to be removed from a municipality orborough except at the request of such municipality or borough; and

Whereas the Quebec National Assembly adopted Bill 170 imposing forced municipal mergers on municipalities in 2000 and simultaneously adopted companion legislation Bill 171 which drastically changed the criteria to obtain recognition under Section 29.1 of the Charter, from a majority of
residents of a municipality or borough who spoke a language other than French to a majority of residents whose mother tongue was English; and

Whereas the revised criteria,  under Bill 171, was imposed without consultation with municipalities
recognized under Section 29.1 and adopted the narrowest and most inaccurate definition of the English-speaking communities within said municipalities or boroughs; and

Whereas the current Quebec Government has now proposed Bill 14, which would allow for the removal of Section 29.1 recognition from municipalities or boroughs by decree and against the will of the municipality or borough concerned,  its duly elected council and its residents; and

Whereas the City of Côte Saint-Luc is firmly opposed to the proposed amendments to Section 29 of the Charter as set out in Bill 14

It was moved by Mayor Anthony Housefather, second by the entire city council and  resolved:

  • THAT The City of Côte Saint-Luc hereby declares that it wishes to retain its “bilingual status” recognition under Section 29.1 of the Charter now and in the future and wishes to do so irrespective of any fluctuations in its population shown in census numbers now or in the future.

 

  • THAT The residents and Council of the City of Côte Saint-Luc view the recognition of our municipality under Section 29.1 as fundamental to the character of the municipality and as a testament of the historical presence of both the English- and French-speaking communities in the municipality;

 

  • THAT The City of Côte Saint-Luc  vigorously opposes the proposed modifications
    to Section 29 of the Charter set out in Bill 14 and demands that the Quebec National Assembly continue to recognize the acquired rights of all municipalities and boroughs that currently possess such status and refrain from adopting any legislation that allows Section 29.1 recognition of bilingual status to be removed from a municipality or borough except at the initiative of and express request of said municipality or borough.

 

  • THAT The City of Côte Saint-Luc calls upon all of the members of the Quebec National Assembly to remove the provisions of Bill 14 that propose to amend Section 29 of the Charter or to vote against and defeat such provisions since we view such provisions as an attack on the fundamental rights and intrinsic character of all municipalities and boroughs that currently possess Section 29.1 recognition.

 

  • THAT The City of Côte Saint-Luc directs its  clerk to send copies of this resolution to
    all of members of the Quebec National Assembly, to all other municipalities in Quebec officially recognized under Section 29.1 of the Charter and to the local federal member of Parliament and the Commissioner of Official Languages of Canada and the UMQ, FQM and FCM. 

CSL Council adopts resolution on Bill 104

Côte Saint-Luc City Council has taken a leadership role in the pursuit of having the Quebec government respect the Supreme Court of Canada ruling which declared Bill 104 unconstitutional.  I sincerely hope that other municipalities follow our lead. Bill 104 was adopted in 2002 and has a negative effect on the English public and private school systems. The English Montreal School Board, for instance, has seen its youth sector enrolment drop from 27,000 to 22,000 students over the last eight years.

Here is our resolution, adopted on April 12, 2010:

WHEREAS in 1984, the Supreme Court of Canada (‘‘the Court’’) declared that certain portions of the Charter of the French Language (‘‘the Language Charter’’) were unconstitutional and that Canadians whose parents received the ‘major part’ of their education in English in Canada had a right to attend publicly-funded English language schools in Quebec pursuant to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (“Canadian Charter”);

WHEREAS the Language Charter was later amended to comply with the Court’s decision;

WHEREAS in 2002 Paragraph 2  of Section 73 of the Language Charter was then amended by the Quebec National Assembly (“Legislature”) to state that education received by students at unsubsidized private schools in Quebec should be disregarded when determining whether a child is eligible to receive instruction in the publicly funded English language school system;

WHEREAS in 2002 Paragraph 3 Section 73 of the Language Charter was then amended by the Quebec National Assembly (“Legislature”) to establish the same rule with respect to instruction received pursuant to a special authorization granted under sections 81, 85 or 85.1 of the Language Charter in a case involving a serious learning disability, temporary residence in Quebec, or a serious family or humanitarian situation.

WHEREAS Section 73 of the Language Charter is inconsistent with the principle of preserving family unity provided for in the Canadian Charter said section rendering it impossible for children from  the same family to receive instruction in the same school system.


WHEREAS the Canadian Charter protects the rights of parents to educate their children in English making no distinction concerning :
    the type of instruction received by the child,
    whether the educational institution is public or private, or
    the origin of the authorization pursuant to which instruction is provided in a given language,

WHEREAS in 2005, in the case of Solski (Tutor of) v. Quebec (Attorney General)the Court established that in determining the requirement of the “major part” of the instruction as stated in section 73 of the Language Charter calls for a global qualitative assessment of a child’s educational pathway which is based on factors that include:
    time spent in different programs of study,
    at what stage of the child’s education the choice of language of instruction was made,
    what programs are or were available, and
    whether learning disabilities or other difficulties exist.

WHEREAS the amendments to paragraphs 2 and 3 of Section 73 the Language Charter were inconsistent with the finding in Solski; and


WHEREAS on October 22, 2009, the Court declared those revised provisions of Paragraphs 2 and 3 of Section 73 of the Language Charter constitutionally invalid but suspended the effects of its decision for a one year period to give the Legislature time to redraft the amendment to the Language Charter so that it does not contravene the Canadian Charter; and

WHEREAS the decision to be made by the Legislature will affect children and families in the City of Cote Saint-Luc (“City”) and the City Council (“Council”) wishes to ask the Legislature to consider the needs of those of its residents impacted by the amendments to Paragraphs 2 and 3 of Section 73 of the Language Charter judged unconstitutional by the Court; ;

IT WAS PROPOSED BY COUNCILLOR RUTH KOVAC
SECONDED BY COUNCILLOR ALLAN J. LEVINE

AND RESOLVED

‘‘THAT the Council (‘‘Council’’) hereby requests that the Legislature carefully consider the historic rights and contributions of the English speaking communities of Quebec as it re-drafts its legislation.

That Council requests that the Legislature not amend the Language Charter to limit access to  unsubsidized private schools in Quebec;


THAT Council requests that the Legislature ensures that its revisions to the Language Charter in response to the Court’s judgment respect the Canadian Charter and requests that the Legislature not invoke the notwithstanding clause when amending the Language Charter;

THAT Council further requests that the Legislature restore the situation which existed before the amendments to paragraphs 2 and 3 of Section   73 of the Language Charter were amended in 2002.’’


Sign the Bill 104 Petition: The Quebec Liberals Should Respect the Supreme Court of Canada Ruling

Here is a press release I sent out from the English Montreal School Board which I urge everyone to read and then go online to sign the petition.

The Central Parents Committee of the English Montreal School Board (EMSB) is urging parents, students, staff and the community at large to support  their online petition related to Bill 104, which the Supreme Court of Canada declared unconstitutional last fall.  This petition calls upon the Quebec government to respect the ruling.

Bill 104 came into force in 2002 and  closed a section in Bill 101, the charter of the French language in Quebec,  that made a child eligible to attend English public school after as little as a year in a non-subsidized private English school. This applied to  siblings and,  eventually,  offspring  as well. The EMSB had more than 27,000 students in its youth sector at the time. That number has since dropped to 22,000, due mainly to Bill 104.

The petition can be accessed at www.emsb.qc.ca

“It is our fear that the Quebec government will draft  new legislation in the very near future that may very well mirror Bill 104, once again infringing upon our freedom of choice,” states EMSB parent commissioner Angie Bertone, who moved the resolution initiating the petition.  “Enough is enough! The time has come to stand up for our rights: the right  and freedom to choose. Let us protect our freedom of choice and that of generations to come!”

EMSB Chairman Angela Mancini notes that the October 22, 2009 Supreme Court of Canada ruling gave the Quebec National Assembly one year to rewrite the legislation so that it does not contravene the Charter of Rights and Freedoms of Canada. Until such time, their decision is considered suspended and not applicable. The Charter of the French Language (Bill 101), adopted by the National Assembly  in 1977, clearly states its objective of assuring the quality and influence of the French language in Quebec “in a spirit of fairness and open-mindedness, respectful of the institutions of the English-speaking community of Quebec.” The CPC reasons that the  EMSB, as well as other English School Boards across Quebec, have consistently supported this objective of the French Language Charter by going far beyond the minimum requirements for French language instruction set out in Ministry of Education regulations.

Ms. Mancini emphasized that the petition represents a joint effort with the Lester B. Pearson School Board, which also has an online petition. “Our two Central Parents Committees are meeting on the issue,” she said. “I remain in constant touch with their chairman, Marcus Tabachnick.  As the two largest English public school boards in the province I believe it is important that we collaborate on  a matter as important as this.”

Ms. Mancini points out that the EMSB and other English school boards across Quebec have over the years demonstrated their strong commitment to graduate fully bilingual and biliterate students in an effort to better qualify them for the Quebec work force.

The resolution, adds that the charter of the French Language has severely limited access to the public schools of the English-speaking community. Furthermore,  the resolution  wishes to ensure that any proposed amendment to the charter will in no way restrict access to the network of schools of the English-speaking community or threaten its sustainability.  The CPC is also calling for the government to open a dialogue with the English speaking community regarding French language education and its role in the social context of Quebec before proposing any changes to the charter of the French language.