Pearson board slams Charter of Values
‘Fear-mongering’ bill goes against beliefs
The Lester B. Pearson School Board has joined a growing number of educational institutions, CEGEPs and universities in slamming the PQ government’s so-called Charter of Values.
Calling the pending law “unfounded” and “overbearingly discriminatory,” the brief called Bill 60 “completely unnecessary.”
In a Dec. 19, 2013 letter submitted to the Quebec National Assembly Committee on Institutions, the board made its feelings clear.
Stating their opposition to “all the provisions of Bill 60,” LBPSB chairman Suanne Stein Day said there was “no identifiable problem that this legislation is looking to address.
“Furthermore, the proposed restrictions on the wearing of ostentatious religious symbols would irreparably disturb the harmony and balance we have nurtured with our teachers, staff and students.
“There is no possibility of our Board adopting a policy, as would be required by section 19 of the law if Bill 60 is adopted.”
The letter went further, calling the proposal a “fear-mongering, hate-promoting bill (that) goes against everything the English public school system and the Lester B. Pearson School Board believes in, stands for and teaches in our classrooms.
“We believe in openness, inclusion and acceptance. We believe that by teaching children about the differences and similarities between people of different religions, cultures and traditions we will enrich our students’ lives, not exert undue influences on them.”
The board also took exception with section 40 of the bill that includes the term “primacy of the French language.
“It is not a stretch to say that Bill 60 is the “Speak White” of 2013 as if to say there is only one way to be a Quebecer and the “Speak White” of today means you have no right to manifest your cultural and religious beliefs in the public sphere,” she said, referring to famous poems that have highlighted the plight of French Canadians and, later, newly arrived immigrants to Canada. Both maintain that past wrongs do not condone current discriminations.
The board also rejected the government’s claim that the bill would ensure equality for women.
“In the public school sector, where the number of women employed far exceeds the number of men, the bill ensures that those who want to follow their religious or cultural traditions will be forbidden to work. Violence against women includes controlling what they can wear and what they can’t.”
The brief was also sent to Soulanges MNA Lucie Charlebois, Vaudreuil MNA Yvon Marcoux, as well as MNAs Geoffrey Kelley, Yolande James and Philippe Couillard, among others. The English Montreal School Board and the Quebec English School Board Association were also copied.