MERN Forum Presentation id=421
MERN Forum # 26
Session: 1A
Author: Jules Rocque
Affiliation: Université de Saint-Boniface
Title : Section 23 of the Charter and French Minority Language Rights in Canada – fragile communities facing reluctant Government responses
Description : Language and culture are fundamental to the way we construct our identities as individuals and communities. The journey that the minority French-speaking community has taken to preserve and legitimize its right to a francophone education will be explored in this presentation. It will look at francophone minority language rights in Canada while focusing on Section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. A brief historical overview will set the stage explaining the place that French has occupied in Western Canada. The intent of Section 23 will be presented outlining landmark Supreme Court of Canada’s rulings handed down since the mid-1990s. The notion of “Equity in Education” from a francophone minority perspective will be discussed along with the distinct dual mandate of francophone education (i.e. teaching knowledge, skills and attitudes that not only reflect a provincially-mandated education but that also contribute to the vitality and sustainability of minority languages). Significantly, within Francophone School systems, parents play a fundamental and legitimized role in their governance. They have the responsibility to define goals and outcomes for their education system. A critical analysis of the Supreme Court rulings will help identify challenges overcome by parents who have engaged in lengthy battles against provincial and territorial governments while seeking an equitable and excellent education program for their children. Exploring current legal battles (2011) helps illustrate that equity in francophone education is not yet completely understood by political leaders nor realized to its full potential in Canada
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