LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Remembrance, schools, support for the QCT
I was just thinking about how important the QCT is in its role of chronicling our community. I was also thinking how valuable you and Peter [Black] and Ruby [Pratka] are in particular and how lucky we are to have you.
Of late, I especially appreciated the article on the new school, the tribute to Larry Hodgson and Peter’s article on medically assisted dying, each very informative and well written.
Thanks to everyone at the QCT for being there. Long live the QCT!
In its brief submitted on Oct. 24 to the Senate Stand- ing Committee on Official Languages studying Bill C-13, the Quebec English School Boards Association (QESBA) paints a doom-and-gloom picture of our public school system.
The organization asks that the English minority-lan- guage community of Quebec receive “the same recogni- tion, respect, and support” as the French minority-language community in the rest of Canada.
QESBA adds: “The need to support the Quebec minority-language education system is clear.”
No, it is not. Besides asking for more direct funding for the system, it is difficult to discern exactly what else the association wants.
There is mention of a land- mark decision by the Supreme Court of Canada – Mahé v. Alberta (1990) – when the Court wrote that minority- language representatives should have exclusive authority on decisions relating to “expenditures of funds provided for instruction and facilities.”
The group then complains that Constitutional rights to control and manage the school system are often in contradiction with the position of the Government of Quebec.
Of course, there is disagreement. QESBA is stuck on a decision made in 1990 concerning another province. Meanwhile, governments evolve; this is Quebec 2022. Besides, education is a provincial matter.
Consider the three articles in the Nov. 2 QCT issue concerning new schools. The piece “Parents have questions, but like new merged high school plan” concludes with CQSB chair Stephen Burke thanking CAQ Premier François Legault for the new high school.
“Our kids deserve it,” he said. Indeed, they do.
I was going up Grande Allée with my sons on a sunny afternoon and as usual one of the boys was intrigued by the number of statues, busts and monuments one encounters on the way from the Parc de l’Esplanade to Place George-V, not to mention elsewhere in our beautiful city. Indeed, one crosses the likes of a Russian writer, an Indochinese philosopher, a Boer War volunteer, Churchill, Roosevelt, Gandhi, Garneau, Papineau, Duplessis, even Confucius (!) who greets us just short of Place George-V, where monuments take on a military flavour, such as the one to the Royal 22e Régiment, the Voltigeurs, and even one that has been recently placed there on the instigation of two Quebec radio stations.
Of course one expects to see monuments in a historic city like Quebec; not only does it give character to its public places, but it also brings questions from young people and forces adults to remember the history of their city, its institutions and the diversity of the people who made the city what it is today or who have represented it abroad.
As the boys were contemplating the names of some of our most recent casualties in Afghanistan at the monument to the Van Doos in front of the Grande Allée armoury, they asked if those soldiers had lived in the armoury just behind. I had to explain that the armoury was the home of the Voltigeurs, but also had been the home of another Quebec regiment who had left for the great adventure over 80 years ago. Indeed, The Royal Rifles of Canada was a Quebec City regi- ment, from which the sons of such families as the Addie, Bradley, Clarke, D’Avignon, Fitzpatrick, Hunt, Johnston, Kirouac, Leboutillier, MacMillan, Power, Price, Reid, Ross, Simons, Sommerville, Williams, Woodside, Young and so many others, had volunteered to serve their country abroad.
While we remember the casualties the nation has recently suffered in Afghanistan, in this year of the 81st anniversary of the sacrifice of many sons of Quebec families in Hong Kong (more numer- ous than all of our casualties in Afghanistan), I cannot but ask where is their memory preserved, so that the sons of my sons one day ask where they were from and why they went to the other side of the planet to die. If we can manage to have monuments to the likes of Gandhi, Confucius and others, why is the sacrifice of so many sons of Quebec not remembered through a monument of their own?