Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Bill 103- A Dog's Beakfast

If Premier Charest was trying to find some sort of middle ground with Bill 103, it a pretty safe bet that he failed miserably. Perhaps I was right when I said a few days ago that it was a plan to create language controversy so that the heat could be taken off the corruption debate.

The new law replaces the old Bill 104, which was rejected by the Supreme Court, eliminating a loophole whereby children, not eligible for English schooling, could win that right by attending a private English school for as little as one year and then switching to a public English school.

The replacement law, Bill 103, is different from its predecessor in that it extends the required period of private English instruction to three years, as well as making students and their families jump through additional hoops to qualify for public English education.
Convoluted as it is, it might just pass muster with the Supreme Court.

The original law, Bill 104, passed by the separatist Parti Quebecois back in 2002, was enacted in reaction to the approximately 500 students a year that availed themselves of this 'secret passage' to get into English public school. The English school boards, desperate for students, turned a blind eye to what was and remains an underhanded way of getting around the law. Not only French language radicals, but the average Joe is displeased that these students are essentially buying their way into English school.
While polls indicate the majority of Quebeckers believe in free educational choice, the idea of rich people circumventing Bill 101 or any other law with money is unacceptable to almost everyone.

All of this wouldn't be necessary if the government had listened and reacted fairly to the English school boards complaint that falling birthrates coupled with the effects of Bill 101 have contributed to a precipitous decline in enrolment in English schools.

Quebeckers (both Anglophone and Francophone) don't produce enough babies to keep the population stable and so immigrants are required to stave off population decline.

But if all these immigrants are forced into French schools only, it means that English school enrolment is bound to decline. It doesn't take a genius to figure this out, despite of all the phony-baloney statistics produced to the contrary, by language extremists like Mario Beaulieu.
It is a simple and incontrovertible fact, something that even blockheads in government should be able to grasp.

Anglo school boards need more students or they will die, it's as simple as that. If the government is okay with that scenario, than the government should say so.

If the government believes that the English community has a right to a viable school system, it needs to provide a way to top up enrolment. Not drastically, just enough to maintain the system as it is.

The government could have avoided all this unpleasantness by negotiating a deal with the English school boards that would stop this back door practice voluntarily, in exchange for allowing other students to fill the void and keep the English student population stable.
It would have avoided a humiliating loss in the Supreme court.

One of the simplest and fairest ways to do this would be to give a Bill 101 exemption to all immigrant children who come from English-speaking countries like the USA, Great Britain, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and English speaking island nations of the Caribbean. These students already speak English as their first language and forcing them into French schools doesn't make much sense anyways. There aren't that many immigrants in this category to begin with, less than 400 English families immigrate to Quebec each year from these countries. They would probably produce roughly 500 potential students, a neat compromise! It might also open the door to more Anglos immigrating to Quebec. As of now Anglophones avoid Quebec as a destination of choice like the plague.

To French language militants this solution is likely less acceptable than drinking a glass of poison, but the majority of Quebeckers would probably see it as fair.

The new Bill 103 will probably cut the number of back door entries into the English school system by half, to less than 300, but for the militants, it is 300 too many. Get ready to see demonstrations and parades, as separatist and language militant leaders wax rhapsodic over the injustice and inhumanity of it all.

A general call to arms.... all over a paltry 300 students in a Province of almost eight million people.

Of course 'Uncle' Thom Mulcair  and 'Smiling' Jack Layton of the NDP are front and center, joining a coalition composed of separatist and radical French groups formed to oppose the law. And so they are joining such ignoble groups as the Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste, Conseil de la souveraineté, Parti québécois, Québec solidaire, Bloc québécois, Syndicalistes et progressistes pour un Québec libre plus the always threateningly popular Réseau de Résistance québécoise and Jeunes Patriotes du Québec.

'Smiling' Jack and 'Uncle' Thom have no interest in seeing the Quebec English school system remaining viable. Not enough votes in that, so better to join forces with the radical separatists and hope some votes will rub off. Ecch!   LINK

Meanwhile, lost in all this, is the fact that at any given time there are over 10,000 students, eligible for English schooling, who are attending French schools voluntarily. Ahem.....

How ridiculous is Bill 103? Very....
As you may know the law creates a point system, with 15 as the minimum required to gain entry to English school.
A reader sent me an email detailing how the point system works. The document is in French and for those of you who can read it, have a go. It is as stupid as it looks. Check out the last pages even if you don't speak French. It lists point values. Argghhh!!!!!!!!!!

Bill 103-Point System

It's hard to believe that so much effort went into this!


  1. 1 of 2:


    Could the creator of this blog please identify him/herself? I don't mean name, but at least have the courtesy to identify if you're a Quebec-born Anglophone, Francophone, immigrant to Quebec, whatever! I only discovered this blog within the last month or so, and I therefore don't really have a beat on where you're coming from.

    This editorial indicates one of two things: You're very young and naïve (and ignorant on the history of Quebec over the last 50 years), or you're a s--t disturber!

    Premier Goldilocks has made his position as conspicuous as Hitler, but he just doesn't adorn himself in the fleur-de-lys the way Hitler did the swastika, at least not visually.

    His politics is as conspicuous as was Hitler's, Fidel Castro, and even the Yankee Doodle Dandy that Reagan was!

    As I've mentioned previously, Reed Scowen, former MNA in the très anglophone NDG riding and author of "Time to Say Goodbye", eloquently and succinctly wrote within the first 60 pages of his book that both the separatist and (is there really a) federalist governing parties going back the last 40 years took SOME responsibility for the old English-speaking community that was born in Quebec certainly prior to the Quiet Revolution, and decreasingly so for those born between 1960 and, say, 1980. Much of that population has left Quebec forever, and the rest are either dying or decreasing in numbers to the point the Quebec Government is decreasingly willing to politely assume that responsibility anymore.

    Scowen unambiguously stated that even children born Post-Bill 101 to (using his moniker) «anglophones de souche» i.e., those "old English" described above, will decreasingly have access to services in English, whether it's schools, healthcare facilities and other government services. As the pre-Bill 63/22/101 English-speaking population dies or leaves, so does the Quebec Government's will to provide services in English.

    All of the PLQ, PQ and ADQ, plus any new parties that may formulate in the future desire and expect the entire Quebec population to live in French as time goes on be it the born post-1980 children of «anglophones de souche», newcomers to Quebec since the start of all this and those who may (be stupid enough to) come in the future.

  2. 2 of 2:

    Immigrants from other countries, be they English speakers or not, absolutely and unequivocally will not have the right to attend English schools whether they exist in the future or not. Only newcomers already living in Canada coming from other provinces and territories will have the right (only because of the Constitution) to attend English instructional schools, but you can rest assured the Quebec Governments of the days to come will drag their feet giving those newcomers the clearance to do so.

    Based on my observations as a person having lived over 50 years of life, the first half of that life in Quebec up until my graduation from university and not one day more, and my observations of Quebec politics over that time, I see a day coming where the "numbers will no longer warrant" the maintenance of English instructional schools as per the Constitution. Every effort on the part of the Quebec Governments of all stripes will do whatever they can to achieve that scenario. I don't know if I'll be alive to see it through, and while I hope my prediction is wrong, I really don't believe it will be wrong.

    David Kelley, the MNA for the very Anglo riding of Nelligan on the western tip of the Island of Montreal, was recently presented with a 12,000 signature petition against fortifying the teeth of Bill 104 modifications (now a.k.a. Bill 103), and it was rejected. Quel surprise! I'm not surprised, but bitterly disappointed. Kelley took an earful from his constituents for this. Big deal! It's not as if those foolish Neliigan constituents will vote for someone else.

    Unless and until the foolish population occupying those last English speaking bastions form a political party and cast their ballots to represent their interests, the David Kelleys of the world may hear an earful, but at the end of the day they will dust themselves off, move forward and be re-elected because there are no other choices.

    As far as I'm concerned, that boat has long set sail for less turbulent waters in Ontario and elsewhere. The Equality Party proved to be a one-hit wonder, Galganov tried but perhaps was too zealous and Alliance Quebec, a Quisling organization at best, is gone as well.

    Quebec thumbs its collective nose at its minorities with feeble resistance, Harper only recently stuck it to Premier Goldilocks for being duped by said Premier into giving Quebecers a fat tax break at the expense of taxpayers from the rest of Canada, and there is simply NO desire on the part of the Quebec government to continue to support the English speaking community much longer.

    The numbers existed in the 1970s to fight the tyranny of the majority, but there was a dire lack of organization and effort to do so hence I left forever in 1984. I have never looked back. I agree with a previous comment on this blog (in a recent editorial) that it's better to organize a party that caters to English interests, even if for only a few constituencies, than the status quo and what I see happening in the future, so either give the Quebec government one last fight, or put up, shut up and suffer!

  3. First, it's Geoff Kelley, not David (that guy produces crappy TV shows) and he is the MNA for Jacques Cartier, not Nelligan.

  4. 9:34AM: Thank you. I stand corrected. Yes, it is Geoff Kelley. I believe he USED to be the MNA for Nelligan, so I'm off by a constituency. As for David Kelley, I'd sure like to have his crappy TV show money!

    Yes, it's Yolande James in Nelligan. Bright academic, young, attractive, excellent credentials. The perfect token minority for Premier Goldilocks to place in his cabinet of fewer minorities than he previously had. Anglophone, female and black. Talk about killing three birds with one stone!