EMSB unveils strategy on key issues for election campaign

Montreal, September 6, 2022-  On the eve of a provincial election, which will take place on October 3, the English Montreal School Board  will be  engaging with candidates to bring forward important issues related to public education.

As a pedagogical exercise, the EMSB will organize a bilingual virtual information session for Tuesday afternoon, September 20 at 1 pm that will be streamed live into classrooms across the school board. Representatives from each political party will be invited to participate.  EMSB Chair Joe Ortona and Director General Nick Katalifos will give opening remarks. Two members of the English Montreal Student Advisory Council (EMSAC) will serve as moderators. The session will be broadcast live on YouTube, with students being able to ask questions via the chat function.

In addition, some schools will also organize in-person or virtual sessions with their local candidates. These meetings are apolitical and are intended to provide a method for students to learn more about the democratic electoral process and how the government of Quebec functions. Finally, Mr. Ortona will also continue to take the lead in meetings with different candidates in order to engage in dialogue on issues which are important to the EMSB agenda. These efforts began in June, when Mr. Ortona and Mr. Katalifos held a virtual meeting with Quebec Conservative Party leader Eric Duhaime and  other such meetings have continued in the early days of the election campaign.

Incumbent Liberal MNA for St. Léonard Filomena Rotiroti met with EMSB representatives after visiting Honoré-Mercier Elementary School.

The EMSB is releasing publicly a list of questions the EMSB is asking candidates. He hopes that anyone who supports the English public education system will take the time to ask some of these same questions when they meet with the candidate of any party during the campaign.

INVESTMENTS IN EDUCATION

What investments would your party make in education over the next four years? 

AIR VENTILATION AND AIR QUALITY IN SCHOOLS

The issue of air ventilation and air quality is an important issue for parents, students, and staff. What will your party do to ensure good air quality in our classrooms? Will you invest in air purifiers? Will you reimburse the school boards who purchased them with their own funds?

TEACHER SHORTAGES

How does your party intend to tackle the issue of teacher shortages we are experiencing in both the French and English sectors?

LANGUAGE ISSUES

·       According to paragraph 23(1)(a) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, parents whose first language learned and still understood (or mother tongue) is that of the English or French linguistic minority of the province in which the parent resides , they  have the right to have their children receive primary and secondary school instruction in that language. However, due to section 59 of the Constitution Act, 1982, paragraph 23(1)(a) does not apply to Quebec. Do you believe that paragraph 23(1)(a) should apply to anglophone Quebecers, as it does to francophones in the rest of Canada?

·       What is your position on Bill 96, An Act respecting French, the official and common language of Québec? Would you keep the law as is? Would your party amend it in any way? Would you repeal part or all of this law?

·       If any part of Bill 96 is declared unconstitutional by the Superior Court judge, will your party appeal the decision to the Court of Appeal?

BILL 21

·       What is your position on Bill 21, An Act respecting the laicity of the State? Would you keep the law as is? Would your party amend it in any way? Would you repeal part or all of this law?

·       The Court of Appeal will hear the case in November. If the judges confirm that Bill 21 is unconstitutional because it violates section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and is inapplicable to English language school boards in Quebec, would your party accept this decision or would it appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada?

·       If the judges decide that Bill 21 is unconstitutional because it violates section 28 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and is of no force and effect (struck down entirely), would your party accept this decision or would it appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada?

BILL 40

·       What is your position on Bill 40, An Act to amend mainly the Education Act with regard to school organization and governance?

·       It is possible that the Superior Court will render a decision on Bill 40 before October 3, 2022. If the judge rules that all or part of Bill 40 is unconstitutional because it violates section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and is inapplicable to English language school boards in Quebec, would your party accept this decision or would it appeal to the Court of Appeal?

About the English Montreal School Board

With a youth and adult sector population of more than 35,000 students, the English Montreal School Board (EMSB) is the largest English public school board in Quebec. Established on July 1, 1998, when the province created new boards along linguistic lines, the EMSB network consists of 77 schools and centres. For more details, visit the EMSB website at www.emsb.qc.ca

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Contact:

Michael J. Cohen

Manager,   Marketing and Communications

English Montreal School Board

514.826.0383

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