LETTERS: New Year’s greetings from across the country; tramway and school reform thoughts
Thanks for the photo of the [Robert Wakeham] Pilot painting of Quebec (“Historic paintings of Quebec City on display in Montreal,” Dec. 20). He was an excellent landscape painter. I guess the view of the skating rink on [Dufferin] Terrace could be called ”improvised” in that there was no signs of it in the summer, as there was and is of the toboggan slide. However, in its time, it was a very organized winter feature. I know because my father – abnormal as it was – lived in the Château Frontenac for a few years in the winter time in the late 1920s. He (tall) and his pal (not tall) had a job entertaining people on the rink, as a couple of clowns.
As one of your Alberta subscribers, congratulations to the QCT team for your consistently good job.
I left Quebec City in the late ‘60s. Work had me all across this country, and I settled in southern Ontario, but Quebec City always remained home. While I did get back to my hometown annually, it was difficult to keep up to date with all that was going on. Fortunately, a year ago I discovered the digital version of the QCT. It not only brings back many wonderful memories, but keeps me up to date. Thanks for what you did!
I’m reading the Dec. 20 QCT. It’s fun to see the reference to the Chateau Ramezay exhibit about Quebec City (“Historic paintings of Quebec City on display in Montreal”) and the photos of all the contributors on page 11. And it’s a twelve-page paper!
Happy New Year to all!
Further to “Could tramway pause be beneficial?” (Nov. 22, Dec. 5 and Dec. 12): More questions have since been raised, without obtaining a satisfactory public answer :
- The loss of on-street parking. The tram project will remove a considerable number of on-street parking spaces. During the consultations by the Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (BAPE), the Ville de Québec said it would come back with the solutions to allay the sudden loss of so many spaces. No [further] information has since been circulated.
- The use of the rail lines during the night to place the railcars at the railhead in the morning (5 a.m.) and to bring them back to the garage after 1 a.m. risks disturbing the sleep of thousands of residents (the project of a garage on 41e Rue was jettisoned but could make a comeback).
- The installation of tactile warning strips to alert visually impaired people about the possibility of danger, which is in itself a positive move, is not applied uniformly and could possibly disorient people with limited vision. No information has been provided to show this confusion has been resolved.
- With global warming, it is expected that the St. Lawrence River will rise and that the southwest part of the Limoilou district, near the Saint Charles River, will be flooded. How has the tramway project taken this into account?
One can thus dream of a means of transit greatly improved! The extension towards Charlesbourg could be accomplished fairly easily, since the studies have already been undertaken. An extension toward Lebourgneuf will require much more than a simple line on a map – for example, it needs to cross both the Saint Charles River and a freeway at the same time!
*The writer is an urban mobility consultant and former city councillor.
A comment made by former MNA Robert Libman in his Jan. 6 column in the Montreal Gazette regarding rulings made by francophone judges on matters related to the anglophone community warrants concern.
He wrote that it was “impactful” that a francophone judge “smacked down the Legault government regarding Bill 40 on English school boards.”
It is important to examine the implications of such comments, specifically in regard to the potential implications for the relationship between the two linguistic groups. Let’s analyze.
The governance of Quebec’s public education system has been a matter of debate for years.
In 2015, former Liberal premier Philippe Couillard introduced Bill 86 in an effort to restructure the province’s anachronistic education system. The bill aimed to shift the “centre of gravity” of the system toward schools, teachers and parents, granting them greater autonomy and control over the direction of their children’s education.
The Quebec English School Boards Association launched a campaign threatening to challenge in court the violation of minority-language educational rights guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The threat was effective; the bill collapsed.
In 2019, the CAQ government introduced school board reform Bill 40. The matter is currently wending its way through the judicial system.
These challenges have caused an ethical issue that strikes at the heart of our Canadian values of democracy and equality.
At present, there exists a notable discrepancy in the compensation received by English-speaking commissioners serving on school boards and their French-speaking counterparts on service centre boards, despite performing equivalent duties.
Also, directors are not permitted to run for municipal offices as councillors and mayors, whereas commissioners have the liberty to do so. I believe these factors threaten to erode the very fabric of Quebec society.
That said, we must ensure fair treatment for all, regardless of background.
*The writer is a retired teacher