Dr. Yves Bolduc visits CEGEP Champlain-St. Lawrence

Auditorium.jpeg

In July 2012, architects from Saucier et Perrotte Architectes proposed plans such as this one for the future Multidisciplinary Auditorium at CEGEP Champlain-St.Lawrence.

The Minister of Health and Social Services of Quebec and the member of the National Assembly of Quebec for the Quebec City riding of Jean-Talon before the September 4 elections, Dr. Yves Bolduc, visited CEGEP Champlain-St. Lawrence on August 27. Students and staff filled the cafeteria, eager to hear the minister campaign about two points of vital interest to these voters: Bill 101 at the CEGEP level and the Liberal government’s support for the proposed Multidisciplinary Auditorium project.

When Minister Bolduc arrived in the cafeteria at noon it was quite full. He spoke to the students about the importance of politics in the lives of young people and about their getting involved.

“There were two important topics, one national and one local,” explained the Minister to the QCT. “If the PQ applied its proposed policy [Bill 101 in CEGEPs], 80% of these CEGEP students would not be able to attend St. Lawrence. Francophone students whose parents did not study in English would not be allowed and it would be even worse for Allophones. This is significant.”

“Dr. Bolduc reassured us that the Liberal Party had no intention of applying Bill 101 to the CEGEP system,” recalled Jean Robert, Director of CEGEP Champlain-St.Lawrence. “We have 900 students here of which 600 to 700 are Francophone or Allophone. So if the Bill were applied, there would be very few students left.” This would pose a real threat to the future of the establishment, its students, their careers and the staff. “Bill 101 has taken over my week,” said Jean Robert who granted interviews to English and French media throughout the hectic week.

A former CEGEP Champlain-St. Lawrence student, Tanya Lefrançois, recently posted a message on Facebook for Pauline Marois, expressing her disagreement with the PQ’s proposal. There was such a strong public response to her post that The Gazette published an article on August 20 entitled Facebook campaign to keep English CEGEPs available gets over 42,000 Likes. To date, almost 46,000 had responded. “Mme. Marois, I am proud to have done my studies in English at CEGEP St. Lawrence,” she wrote in French. “It’s one of the best decisions that I took for my professional future and for my openness to the world. I think that every Quebecer should be bilingual or at least understand English, because it’s our SECOND OFFICIAL LANGUAGE and because this language is necessary as soon as you put one foot outside of Quebec.”

“On a local level, I have also been supporting the proposed expansion of the campus,” said Minister Bolduc about the second major topic. “The number of students has increased at CEGEP St. Lawrence and they need more space. This is a ten to twelve million dollar investment and I made it one of our top priorities during my campaign.”

Dr. Bolduc’s commitment to support the long-awaited construction of a Multidisciplinary Auditorium for Quebec City’s only English-language CEGEP was well received. The new structure would serve many functions, such as a venue for theatre productions, receptions, student activities, physical education activities and community activities.

“It was a good visit,” commented Jean Robert. “Yes, I am very satisfied with the visit,” also said the Minister. “I think the students were also very receptive to our message about the importance of voting.” He was also pleased to have met members of the staff as he walked through the CEGEP.

Last July, the architect firm, Saucier et Perrotte Architectes, proposed tentative new plans. “We could build on the roof over the gym, but that would mean shutting down a large part of the building for a year or so and we’d have to relocate sports activities etc.,” explained Jean Robert. “The other option would be to build in the parking lot, which would cost less.” Needless to say, Robert and the students and staff were pleased to hear the Liberal Minister repeat his commitment to the project.