The Council of Commissioners of the Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board (SWLSB) voted unanimously on Thursday evening to declare support for the English Montreal School Board’s legal challenge of Bill 96 (An Act respecting French, the official and common language of Québec).
According to a statement issued by the SWLSB, the board considers that parts of Bill 96 contravene the English-speaking community’s rights to manage and control their educational institutions as per section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The SWLSB says the commissioiners “do not believe that the Quebec government has acted in the best interest of its citizens, whether English-speaking or French-speaking,” with the adoption of Bill 96 on May 24.
“We have always proudly promoted our school board tagline of An English Education, A bilingual Future,” said SWLSB chairman Paolo Galati.
“Although we agree that we must protect the French language, this bill clearly violates our constitutional rights and that is why the Council of Commissioners is supporting EMSB, in this legal proceeding.
“Bill 96 is divisive and we are very concerned about the repercussions it will have on English-speaking Quebecers,” added Galati. “We need to stand united now more than ever.”