Congratulations to the Quebec Federation of Home and School Associations,
which is throwing the formidable influence of its 4,500 members behind the
effort to protect the community from Bill 104 before the Supreme Court.
Bill 104, you'll recall, is the 2002 law, introduced by a Parti Québécois
government and passed unanimously through the National Assembly, which
nailed shut a legal route into English schools for allophone or francophone
A trickle of families a year had been sending kids to fully-private
English school for one year - as allowed by law - and then using that as
justification for entry into English public or "private" (really
Last summer the Quebec Court of Appeal struck down Bill 104, saying it
violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Within hours of the
decision, the Liberal government, ignoring the interests of its faithful
anglophone and allophone voters, announced its intention to appeal to the
So now a constitutional right to English education must be defended by the
Supreme Court, which is expected to agree to hear the case. The problem is
that such a defence will be costly.
So it was useful, as well as courageous, for the Quebec Provincial
Association of Teachers to contribute the sum of $20,000 toward the costs
of the defence. And now the Home and School Federation is asking for
fundraising help from its members.
Those members are the people, almost all mothers, who do so much to make
our schools better through a whole range of extracurricular efforts, from
breakfast programs to Christmas fairs.
It's not easy to ask these devoted and energetic people to do even more.
But since the Conservative federal government abolished the
court-challenges program, which was started to support minority language
rights, funding for defence of these rights is painfully hard to find.
We hope the Quebec English School Boards Association, and others, will
also find ways to help support this important appeal.