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Montreal Jews Denounce New Quebec School Law As Discriminatory

June 20, 1985
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Jewish leaders strongly criticized today a new law which they claim discriminates against Jewish parents of children attending Protestant schools in Greater Montreal by denying those parents the right to vote on School Board decisions even when they are elected board members.

At a meeting here last Sunday, held under the chairmanship of Bernard Finestone, chairman of the Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC) Quebec region, the new legislation was sharply attacked by Claude Ryan, official education critic for the Liberal Party in the Quebec Assembly; Herbert Marx, Liberal Assembly member from Montreal; Mildred Kholodny, representing the CJC; and Jean Pierre Proul from the newspaper, Le Devoir.


Despite several CJC telegrams of protest, Bill 59 was enacted into law on June 4. Finestone said it was “particularly odious since it removes the basic democratic right of representation based on taxation.”

He said the CJC had informed the Quebec government that the new law, “by discriminating on the basis of religion,” was in direct contravention of its own charter of Human Rights and the Canadian Law of Rights and Freedoms, which explicitly ban such discrimination. He said that if the law is not amended, the CJC will consider filing a complaint with the Quebec Human Rights Commission.

Education Minister Francois Gendron, who had been invited to speak at the meeting, was unable to do so, but did not send a representative to explain the provincial government’s position on the new law.

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