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Vaudreuil mother upset over ‘anti-immigrant’ text at school

MONTREAL – The mother of a sixth-grader is upset over what she views as anti-immigrant textbook materials given to her daughter at school.

According to Selina Richard, who is the president of the Montreal-area charity Community Wings, her daughter Angelina Richard-Lavoie was asked the following question in French during a segment of her class at St. Ignace school in Coteau-du-Lac that dealt with the Charter of the French Language:

In what region of Quebec was French the most threatened? Explain your response. 

The answer, which according to Richard came from the book’s answer key, was Montreal “because it had the most immigrants.”

She went to Facebook to voice her dismay, and is sounding the alarm over what she views as an anti-immigrant text.

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“It’s basically indoctrination. Propaganda. Anti-Anglo, anti-immigrant, and I don’t understand why,” she told Global News.

According to both the province’s education ministry and the Commission scolaire des Trois-Lacs, the text included sufficient context for students and covered the broader topics of the Charter of the French Language.

“These explanations… don’t reflect racist or discriminatory elements,” board spokesperson Colette Frappier wrote to Global News in an email.

But according to Richard Bourhis, a psychology professor at UQAM who specializes in language minorities in Quebec, the underlying logic of the question is flawed.

“Immigrants are the ones learning French the most in all of Quebec,” he said.

He pointed out this happens mostly in Montreal, especially if they don’t have French as a mother tongue.

“To leap to say that French is threatened in Montreal, is a non-sequitur,” he added.

Richard’s daughter disagreed with the government’s appraisal of the question.

“It’s racism,” said Angelina Richard-Lavoie, 11.

“It’s like they said you’re not allowed to go to Quebec because you’re threatening our language.”

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