On the eve of a provincial election, which will take place on October 3, the English Montreal School Board will engage with candidates to advance important issues related to public education.

As an educational exercise, the EMSB will organize a bilingual virtual information session on Tuesday afternoon, September 20 at 1 p.m. which will be broadcast live in the classrooms of the school board. Representatives of each political party were invited to participate. EMSB President Joe Ortona and General Manager Nick Katalifos will deliver the keynote address. Two members of the English Montreal Student Advisory Council (EMSAC) will serve as moderators. The session will be streamed live on YouTube, with students able to ask questions via the chat feature.

The links that anyone can watch, including the public, are:

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/EnglishMTL/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EnglishMTL/

Additionally, some schools will also host in-person or virtual sessions with their local applicants. These meetings are apolitical and aim to provide students with a means of learning more about the democratic electoral process and the functioning of the Quebec government. Finally, Mr. Ortona and certain members of the Council have taken the initiative of meetings with various candidates in order to initiate a dialogue on important issues on the agenda of the EMSB. These efforts began in June, when Mr. Ortona and Mr. Katalifos held a virtual meeting with the leader of the Conservative Party of Quebec, Eric Duhaime, and other similar meetings have continued.

Mr. Ortona is now publishing a list of questions the EMSB asks candidates. He hopes that everyone who supports the English public education system will take the time to ask some of these same questions when they meet with any party’s candidate 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 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? Are you going to invest in air purifiers? Will you reimburse the school boards that bought them with their own funds?

TEACHER SHORTAGE

How does your party intend to tackle the problem of the teacher shortage that we are experiencing in both the francophone and anglophone sectors?

LANGUAGE PROBLEMS

  • 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 French or English linguistic minority of the province where the parent resides, they have the right to have their children educated at the primary and secondary levels in this language. However, due to Article 59 of the Constitution Act 1982, paragraph 23(1)(a) does not apply in Quebec. Do you believe that paragraph 23(1)(a) should apply to English-speaking Quebecers, as it does to French-speaking people in the rest of Canada?
  • What is your position on Bill 96, Act respecting French, official and common language of Quebec? Would you like to keep the law as it is? Would your party change it in any way? Would you repeal part or all of this law?
  • If part of Bill 96 is declared unconstitutional by the Superior Court judge, will your party appeal the decision to the Court of Appeal?

LAW 21

  • What is your position on Bill 21, State Secularism Act? Would you like to keep the law as it is? Would your party change 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 school boards in Quebec, would your party accept this decision or appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada?
  • If the judges rule that Bill 21 is unconstitutional because it violates section 28 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and is of no effect (cancelled entirely), would your party accept this decision or appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada?

LAW 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 declares 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 school boards in Quebec, would your party accept this decision or appeal to the Court of Appeal?

About the English Montreal School Board

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