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Press Release | Canada

Press Release: Protest in front of Quebec Government House in New York City

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Below is the text of the FAQ sheet that was handed out in front of Quebec Government House (One Rockefeller Plaza, 26th floor, New York,NY 10020, tel: 212 396-0200, corner 5th Avenue and W. 50th Street) by Tony Kondaks who was protesting Quebec's human rights abuses, which occurred on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2011.
For more information: tel: (480) 208-6118.

How does Quebec violate human rights?

Quebec segregates.

Quebec segregates the rights of its own citizens through The Charter of the French Language[1], commonly known as Bill 101. Although there are numerous provisions that violate human rights, the most significant are the language of education provisions which divide Quebecers into two separate and distinct civil rights categories:

1) those that can choose to send their children to either French-language or English-language publicly-funded schools; and

2) those that can only send their children to French-language publicly-funded schools.

The discrimination procedure used to determine placement in either of these two civil rights categories is based upon:

1) who one’s parents are; and

2) what the parents’ classification is (i.e., eligibility certificate).

This classification is handed down, generation after generation.

This regime of discrimination based upon descent violates the basic tenet of a free and democratic society that all are equal under the law.

Indeed, the language of Bill 101 used in the discrimination process described above is identical in principle to the one used under the now defunct apartheid system of South Africa. It is, in places, virtually word for word.[2]

What effect has this had on the English-speaking minority of Quebec?

It has decimated their school system…and their community.

In 1970, there were 250,000 students in Quebec’s English-language school system. This had declined by 57% to 108,000 by 1990 and slowly risen to 122,834 by 2003.[3]

For example, prior to enactment of Quebec’s language laws, Americans emigrating to Quebec could freely choose to send their children to either English or French publicly-funded schools. Now they can’t.

Please elaborate.

Due to the Quebec government’s unwillingness to put into effect a section of Canada’s constitution[4], an inequality exists between Quebec and all other Canadian provinces. Immigrants from French-speaking countries, such as France or Haiti, whose first language is French, can come to any of the English-speaking provinces outside Quebec, become citizens, and have the constitutional right to send their children to French publicly-funded schools.

However, immigrants from English-speaking countries, such as the United States or Great Britain, whose first language is English, who come to Quebec and become citizens do not have the constitutional right to send their children to English publicly-funded schools.

Those Americans visiting Quebec Government House in New York who are considering emigrating to Quebec and expect to partake in Quebec society – economically or otherwise -- should take heed: they will not be treated equally. Quebec is neither friendly to English-speaking immigrants nor a good place to invest.

Indeed, terrorism and violence against its minority linguistic community is not always universally condemned by Quebec’s government.

How so?

A former Quebec cabinet minister, Gerald Godin, had this to say about Quebec’s English-speaking community:

“Only bombs, in fact, were the ideal communication process to convince the English that we were after something important.”[5]

Quebec has seen fit to name an institution of higher learning – a junior college – after this apologist for terrorism: College Gerald Godin, located in Montreal’s West Island. Ironically, this is the traditional home of Quebec’s English language minority, the very community that Godin believed was justified in being bombed.

When asked, successive Quebec governments, including the current one, have refused to consider changing the name of the college in light of Godin’s comments, words which he never repudiated during his lifetime.

How else has Quebec violated human rights?

Bill 101 has attempted to eradicate the English language from Quebec since its inception. Only numerous rulings from domestic and international courts have held Quebec’s human rights violations in check.

For example, in December 1988, Quebec overrode a unanimous Supreme Court of Canada decision that found the language of commercial signs provisions of Bill 101 in violation of both Quebec’s and Canada’s Charters of Rights and officially suspended freedom of speech and equality rights[6]. Then-Premier Robert Bourassa, the author of the law, bragged that "we have suspended fundamental liberties."

It should be noted that Quebec’s current Delegate General to New York, John Parisella, found fit to seek and gain employment from the human rights violator, Robert Bourassa, as his Chief of Staff for five years. This was immediately after the Bourassa government’s suspension of rights and on the heels of the resignation of three cabinet members from the English-speaking community who quit in protest over the suspension of human rights. John Parisella had no such compunction to protest the abrogation of fundamental freedoms of his fellow citizens and instead chose career advancement over principle.

John Parisella is no friend of freedom.

Charter of the French language, R.S.Q. c. C-11.

[2] See chapter 2 of Why Canada must end found at

[3]Jack Jedwab, “Going Forward, the Evolution of Quebec’s English-speaking Community”, Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages (2004), pp. 32-3.

[4] See s. 59 of the Constitution Act, 1982.

[5] Canada: True North; PBS (1988)

[6]Ford v. Quebec (Attorney General), [1988] 2 S.C.R. 712



Add a new Comment
Author: Ben
Feb 25, 2011
Quebec Human Rights Violator
Yes, it is an outrage what goes on here in Quebec and no one gives a damn. These human rights violations are affecting the lives of families, our children’s future, our career opportunities, our freedom of speech & our freedom to choose the education of our children. The coercive and intrusive nature of the Quebec government in our lives is totally unjust. These government bureaucrats refused my child entry to a public or private English school despite a learning disability. We are only able to send our child to a very expensive unsubsidized school that is a long distance away from our home. The school in the area, we pay taxes for, but we are not able to enroll our children. These bureaucrats do not care, that due to these oppressive language laws, the threat of divorce was an on-going stressor in the family due to the lunacy of Quebec apartheid, rationalized as preserving le Français. What they are preserving is bigotry, discrimination and French elitism. The individual rights and the sanctity of the family unit are the basic tenets of a just society, except in Quebec. The silence of the rest of Canada is maddening. The Quebec Anglophones have become the sacrificial lambs to Canadian unity. We have our own Quebec Taliban controlling the education of our children. This should just not happen in North America.

Author: Y. Ménard
Mar 21, 2011
Tony is right
Tony Kondaks is absolutely right: Language segregation in Quebec must end.

It is great time Quebec society starts doing things like other normal democratic societies : One public language for all; that of the democratic majority, in which minorities will be asked to integrate fully. Just like the United-States, or like English Canadian provinces.

This means only French public schools, only French-speaking hospitals, and government communications only in French.

Thanks Tony.

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