26 March 2010

Historical anti-semitism in Quebec schools

While it's true that anti-jewish prejudice was common in English Canada decades ago, I have no evidence that the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" was on the curriculum there.

It was in Quebec, tho.


Or the choice of absence


The UNESCO Convention/Recommendation against Discrimination in Education, of which Canada (federal government and provincial governments) are bound, states that in the absence of choice, the establishment or maintenance, for linguistic reasons, of separate educational systems or institutions is discriminatory by definition.

20 March 2010

The 'mother country' gives Quebeckers a wake-up call


It was a pathetic performance of subservience and parochialism, French governments having long grown tired of the subject. France had been opposed to Quebec secession since the presidency of François Mitterrand, and relations had been generally excellent between Paris and Ottawa ...

France and Quebec, he continued, share universal values, such as "the refusal of sectarianism, the refusal of division, the refusal to be self-absorbed, the refusal to define one's identity by fierce opposition to another." Quebec is a member of France's "family"; Canada is France's "friend." One kind of relationship does not preclude the other ...

The French are rationalists and realists in foreign policy. The creation of a little state in North America makes no sense to them. The French language is well protected in Quebec, cultural exchanges are strong and, in a divided Europe, France doesn't need any examples of secession that could spread by way of example ...

18 March 2010

"Pearson school board fighting for its future"


The Lester B. Pearson School Board is participating in a new campaign promoting the benefits of the English-language school system ...

[Marcus Tabachnick said in an interview] “Without our education system, we don’t have a community here. This is the last institution we can control on our own.”

While all school boards in Quebec have been affected by declining demographics, the English school boards have been particularly hard hit. And now the attempts to close the loophole in Bill 104 - which would put a stop to students attending a year of school in a private English school so they could then qualify for the English public system - could mean a loss of even more students in English schools ...

The Kyle Wozniak file


If Canadian federal-jurisdiction workplaces are strictly federal, then it should be hands off from provincial interference. Unless of course, the interference is for a principle you support, like the prima facie-tiousness of French in Quebec.

But federalism, like democracy, is a series of checks and balances. Schools are a provincial jurisdiction under the Constitution of Canada. Educational rights in the official languages are enumerated there. The so-called Canada clause, where access to English schools in Quebec is granted, was whittled down by federal-provincial wrangling all the way up to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Thomas Mulcair of the federal NDP is a former Quebec provincial cabinet minister, and a putative federal one. His comments and insight on Quebec are germane and welcome at any time.

But Kyle Wozniak's father's presence or absence is not germane in this case. His educational history and Kyle's mother's rights are.

Now you care about Kyle's education. Kyle's mother presumably went to French school in Quebec, but since she didn't move anywhere, she has a presumptive right to schooling her child in English.

The majority and the minority both will have to suffer along with the political types' endless appeal to insecurity. Recall Proposition 08 against gay marriage in California (please). Minority rights balanced against those of the majority are another price we all owe each other.

Maybe Woody Allen would be as hard-pressed to satirize Quebec as Mordecai Richler was: just present the facts and no one will believe it's not a put-on.

09 March 2010

Niqab-wearer blocked again from class


The Quebec government has intervened again in the case of a Muslim woman who refused to remove her niqab veil during a French-language class. 

Last week, Naïma Atef Amed filed a complaint with the province’s human rights commission after she was kicked out of a government-funded language class for new immigrants at the CÉGEP de Saint-Laurent in Montreal. The school had demanded that Amed take off her niqab veil, which covers her head and face and leaves only her eyes exposed, for part of the class. 
Premier Jean Charest defended the school's decision, saying that people who expect to receive public services must show their face

Whither 101?


... If Quebec were ever to extend the language-of-work provisions of Bill 101 to companies with 50 or fewer employees, there would be a lot of unhappiness in Montreal's busy western suburban industrial parks. It's much easier for small companies to pick up and leave than it is for larger ones. So far, the prevailing view within successive Parti Québécois and Liberal governments has been that extending the law to small companies would be too risky for the Quebec economy. Better to let these entrepreneurial start-ups grow up and establish roots in Quebec, the thinking goes, before folding them into the language regulation ...

04 March 2010

Boom de bebes


To be sure, Quebec isn't the only jurisdiction confronted with the challenges of an aging society. But Quebec had the largest baby boom in the western world, followed by one of the biggest baby busts, and it is already carrying one of the developed world's largest per-capita debts.

How to contribute: numbers crunched ...

Conservatives 2008 Q4 = raised $ 6.34 million
total eligible voters = 23.68 million