Quebec, P. Q. (Dec. 3)
“I am happy to announce that the legislation adopted last year relating to Jewish schools will not have to be put into force. Protestants and Jews in Montreal have come to an understanding, thanks to the conciliatory spirit brought to bear upon the matter. The government of the Province of Quebec is grateful to those who have brought it about.”
This was the message delivered by the Lieutenant-Governor of Quebec yesterday at the opening of the session of the Provincial Legislature. The terms of the understanding were not divulged.
It is understood, however, that the government will present legislation aiming to fix definitely the status of the Jewish minority of Montreal in school matters and to abolish the bill creating a Jewish school commission which was passed last year and which has become useless because of the agreement between the Jewish and Protestant School Commissions.
It is also understood that new legislation based on the 1925 agreement, according to which 2 per cent of the neutral panel taxes will be turned over to the Protestant School Commission for the education of Jewish children, will be introduced. It is also said that Montreal Jews will be given no status as a national minority, but will be regarded as a separate religious group.
The chairman of the Montreal Protestant Board of School Commissioners, when questioned today on the report of an understanding between the Jewish Protestant school groups, stated that nothing can be said at present on these matters, intimating though that a joint statement will be forthcoming on the matter in the near future.
“The Jewish school question has practically been settled and a splendid settlement has been made, the terms of which will be announced within the next few days,” declared Peter Bercovitch, Jewish member of the Quebec Legislature. But although the terms of the settlement have not been divulged, it is known that it gives the Jews no more rights than they had in the Protestant schools before the Jewish School Bill was passed and deals a blow to the hope of the separatists to create a Jewish school system.
Leaders of Montreal Jewry who have for years been agitating for separate Jewish schools, claiming that only in that manner will the Jews obtain the rights to which they are entitled under the Quebec system of denominational schools, are now making last-minute efforts to delay the forthcoming Protestant-Jewish understanding.