As Canada gets set to welcome 25,000 Syrian refugees by the end of the year, the Lester B. Pearson School Board says it would welcome refugee children – but it can’t without an exemption to Quebec’s language law, Bill 101.
The English-language school board is composing a letter to the Quebec government, asking Premier Philippe Couillard to consider allowing the refugees to attend its schools.
The school board, one of Quebec’s largest, oversees English-language schools from Verdun to the West Island and further west, off-island.
“We feel that the humanitarian clause of Bill 101 should be invoked to allow us to help these refugees and to help Quebec succeed in bringing these refugees in,” the board’s chairwoman, Suanne Stein Day, told CBC Montreal’s Daybreak.
Bill 101 — Quebec’s language law — specifies that only immigrants to Quebec who have parents who were educated in English in the province or elsewhere in Canada can go to English-language schools. Exceptions can be made in rare cases, for example, for humanitarian reasons.
“I can’t think of a larger humanitarian situation than bringing this number of children into our midst,” Stein Day said.
Ontario, British Columbia and even Quebec may flood their rafters with Syrians but I can’t see the francophone oligarchy waiving the language apartheid bill just for them.