Leaders in Quebec’s English-speaking community are asking for a meeting with Education Minister Jean-François Roberge in hopes of avoiding what they describe as a major crisis.
In a letter, the authors say they are concerned about the timing of a damning report into the governance of the English Montreal School Board (EMSB) as the province prepares to table a bill that would overhaul the public education system.
“We are requesting a meeting with you before decisions are taken,” the letter reads.
The request comes on the heels of a letter penned by Roberge that was published in the Montreal Gazette on Saturday. He writes that while he is faced with a hard decision over what to do about the EMSB, he will consider the concerns of the entire anglophone community.
“I want to be unequivocal when I say that no matter what decision is made by the government, we will ensure the EMSB and the English community will not be muzzled,” he wrote. “No matter the situation, fundamental rights are never in question.”
Last week, Roberge said he hadn’t ruled out trusteeship after a government investigation into the EMSB found there was “dysfunctional” governance and that it was unlikely to grow under its current management.
Those behind the missive — including Quebec Community Groups Network president Geoffrey Chambers, former Liberal MNA Geoffrey Kelley and Russell Copeman, the executive director of the Quebec English School Boards Association — say Roberge’s letter from the weekend “appears to reflect a desire to calm the waters.”
The authors go on to argue that putting the EMSB in trusteeship or taking action along those lines would “remove from our institutions their capacity to assert constitutional rights.”
Instead, the leaders of the province’s English-speaking community say they hope to speak with Roberge in the coming days to find a solution.
“All we are seeking is a dialogue of reasonableness on these sensitive matters,” the letter reads.
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