EMSB faces off against Minister Drainville

EMSB officials
Angelica Montgomery/CJAD

To the apparent aggravation of Minister Bernard Drainville, officials from the English Montreal School Board would neither admit to nor dismiss any possibility of openly defying his secularism charter, if passed.

 “Do you rule out civil disobedience, clearly and explicitly, yes or no?” The minister asked six times.

“I ask you, please, to carefully weigh the words you’re using,” he told EMSB chair Angela Mancini, vice-chairman Sylvia Lo Bianco and member of the Education committee Patricia R. Lattanzio.

But the EMSB merely pointed to contradictions it saw with the Education Act, and said they have a duty to uphold diversity.

“Your charter is positioning us in a situation where we can not apply the law,” said Mancini.

Eventually, a Liberal MNA objected and said the EMSB was not on trial.

It led the chair to ask the minister to “insist a little less.”

Drainville also noted that other participants had said religious symbols would have a negative effect on children.

“Do children have rights according to you?” asked Drainville. “Or is it just the teachers that have rights and the children are just spectators?”

The minister also quizzed the EMSB three times on whether it would allow a teacher to work in a nikab or a chador.

School board officials said the questions were outside the point they were trying to make in their appearance, but that any face covering would create a security problem.

It again led to Drainville’s frustration.

He spoke for nearly two minutes about how the EMSB’s answers were not sufficient.

“It seems to me the answer should be, ‘Mister Drainville, a teacher who covers their face is unacceptable for us,” he said.

Once again, a Liberal MNA called another point of order. Laurent Lessard said participants do not come to the assembly to get a lecture from the minister.

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  1. sam posted on 02/12/2014 11:44 PM
    Oh the irony ! Democratic Institutions Minister Bernard Drainville bullying presenters with “It seems to me the answer should be, ‘Mister Drainville, a teacher who covers their face is unacceptable for us,” It's just so Orwellian and creepy to anyone outside of the Parti Quebecois newspeak version of democracy.
  2. powder60 posted on 02/12/2014 11:47 PM
    Please boycott this hearing, participation is useless . The PQ want to create negative
  3. Warner posted on 02/12/2014 11:57 PM
    Unbelievable . It's no wonder our family and countless others left Quebec decades ago. The same old crap goes on but the message should be clear-stand up to bullies.
    Marois must go for the sake of your beautiful province and country.
  4. maria posted on 02/13/2014 07:30 AM
    Does this guy think he is GOD (oops excuse the pun) - And this is the problem with people in Gov. it really goes to their HEAD!!!I am really surprised of Drainville's position in this Political Party given that Canada and english institutions have done so much to bring him forward in his career. take a look at his Bio. London school of economics, university of ottawa etc...Anyway he has no right to talk to people the way he is , he should have his mouth taped shut, I can not believe this is going on, this is totaly unacceptable, how the
    He-- is he going to keep on talking like this to reputable educated people and be allowed to get away with it. and then allow some farmer talk about going to Morocco and freaking out because they stopped to pray, and he sits there with a straight face and says nothing.
    this is soooooo biased and unjust this is worst than a circus.!!!!!
  5. chuck posted on 02/13/2014 09:35 AM
    I would say this hearing is useless since the PQ will not change the proposed legislation. An i think Drainville is overstepping the bounds by his attitude. The more i see them in action the more xenophobic and small minded they appear.
  6. sam posted on 02/13/2014 11:21 AM
    democratic institutions minister ! drainville !!! Nobody? expected the Parti Quebecois Inquisition ? Here is your question and this is what your answer must be.
    I'm proud of the EMSB's presenters and the Université de Montreal's presentation and the Quebec Family Doctors' etc etc etc in facing the foaming mouths of the inquisitors. When the ministers Drainville and Lisée "denounce" these fine respected people and the presentations against the state's attempted imposition of intolerant supremacist values, it is an added honor.
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