Canada Kicks Ass
Court orders Yukon to build $15M school for 41 francophones

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Gunnair @ Thu Jul 28, 2011 7:53 pm

$1:
Citing the need to protect minority-language rights, a Yukon court has ordered the government to give its lone French-language school $2-million and begin a multi-million-dollar school expansion to house an arts studio, separate classes for every grade and space for a student radio station.

In a French-only ruling released this week, Yukon Supreme Court Justice Vital Ouellette ordered the government to build a $15-million high school within two years to house the board’s 41 French high school students.
Maxime Faille, the Ottawa-based lawyer who represented the Yukon government, warned Thursday the ruling would create a “huge inequality between francophone students and other students in the territory.” At around one teacher for every 10 students, student-teacher ratios at the school are better than many others in the territory, Mr. Faille said.

“People in Toronto pay [up to] $50,000 a year to have their students in private schools with student-teacher ratios that are worse than what they have in this school,” he said. Meanwhile, schools for Aboriginal students, who make up 30% of the territory’s population, are so underfunded that students often have move hundreds of kilometres away to Whitehorse to go to high school.

“If another high school has to be built in the Yukon Territory, I’m not sure it should be in the City of Whitehorse for the francophone population that already has a high school, a very good one,” he said.

Whitehorse’s École Émilie-Tremblay was built in 1996 for $6.2-million, shortly after Yukon created its only school board, whose sole job is to run the territory’s lone French school, serving 184 students among a 1,200-strong francophone community.

Since then, officials with Commission scolaire francophone du Yukon have complained that the government hasn’t handed over complete control of Émilie-Tremblay’s nearly $5-million annual budget. The board argued that the government never consulted school board officials when it diverted $2-million in federal French-education funding to pay for French immersion programs in the territory’s 27 other schools.

Judge Ouellette found the government violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom’s protection of minority language education, and ordered it to return the federal money to the school.

The government said it plans to appeal the new case to the Yukon Court of Appeal, arguing Judge Ouellette, who was once president of a minority-language francophone school board in Alberta, was biased in favour of the school board, Mr. Faille said.

The territory appealed to the judge to recuse himself last year, saying he had laughed at some of the government’s witnesses and joked around with the school board’s lawyers. The judge refused, saying that while he didn’t deny he had joked around, judges couldn’t be expected to maintain their composure the entire length of an extended trial. His association with French language education in Alberta was well-known before he was appointed to the bench in 2002, he added.

In previous court rulings, the judge ordered the territorial government to build new portable classrooms at the school and give the board money to hire three new teachers.

Roughly 4% of Yukon’s population is francophone, numbers school board officials said during the trial were underrepresented because, they argued, the Statistics Canada census was flawed. The judge agreed, saying there could possibly be as many as 400 students who could qualify for French-language education in the school. English students who want to learn French can also enroll in the school.

Roger Lepage, the lawyer who represented the school board, called the ruling a “resounding victory” in a news release. “The positions of the judge are well supported and consistent with Canadian jurisprudence,” he said.

   



wildrosegirl @ Thu Jul 28, 2011 7:57 pm

What a load of crap. French immersion programs, fine. But a $15M school? What a waste of money that would be.

   



ShepherdsDog @ Thu Jul 28, 2011 8:29 pm

does every other school in the Yukon have an art studio and student radio station? No...fuck 'em

   



jeff744 @ Thu Jul 28, 2011 8:33 pm

No province/territory west of Ontario should be forced to do this kind of crap, there are simply not enough French speaking people to make this stuff worthwhile. I was raised in a small town in Saskatchewan and almost nobody spoke French on any level (I only know one person and he was raised in Ontario) and the French High School course was actually one of the least popular options we had and we were forced to take that from Kindergarten.

The government needs to realize that French is not a very popular language west of Ontario and spending millions on these programs is wasted money.

   



jeff744 @ Thu Jul 28, 2011 8:34 pm

ShepherdsDog ShepherdsDog:
does every other school in the Yukon have an art studio and student radio station? No...fuck 'em

My school of 300 didn't even have a radio station.

   



Freakinoldguy @ Thu Jul 28, 2011 8:36 pm

jeff744 jeff744:
No province/territory west of Ontario should be forced to do this kind of crap, there are simply not enough French speaking people to make this stuff worthwhile. I was raised in a small town in Saskatchewan and almost nobody spoke French on any level (I only know one person and he was raised in Ontario) and the French High School course was actually one of the least popular options we had and we were forced to take that from Kindergarten.

The government needs to realize that French is not a very popular language west of Ontario and spending millions on these programs is wasted money.



My guess would be that you weren't born in Gravelbourg. :D

   



jeff744 @ Thu Jul 28, 2011 8:40 pm

Freakinoldguy Freakinoldguy:
jeff744 jeff744:
No province/territory west of Ontario should be forced to do this kind of crap, there are simply not enough French speaking people to make this stuff worthwhile. I was raised in a small town in Saskatchewan and almost nobody spoke French on any level (I only know one person and he was raised in Ontario) and the French High School course was actually one of the least popular options we had and we were forced to take that from Kindergarten.

The government needs to realize that French is not a very popular language west of Ontario and spending millions on these programs is wasted money.



My guess would be that you weren't born in Gravelbourg. :D

Almost nobody in Sask even knows it exists.

   



ShepherdsDog @ Thu Jul 28, 2011 8:43 pm

jeff744 jeff744:
ShepherdsDog ShepherdsDog:
does every other school in the Yukon have an art studio and student radio station? No...fuck 'em

My school of 300 didn't even have a radio station.

My highschool had about 1 000 students and we didn't have one either and it still doesn't. Seeing as it offered vocational programs that would have been a good idea

   



jeff744 @ Thu Jul 28, 2011 8:46 pm

ShepherdsDog ShepherdsDog:
jeff744 jeff744:
ShepherdsDog ShepherdsDog:
does every other school in the Yukon have an art studio and student radio station? No...fuck 'em

My school of 300 didn't even have a radio station.

My highschool had about 1 000 students and we didn't have one either and it still doesn't. Seeing as it offered vocational programs that would have been a good idea

To be fair we did have a shop, home ec room, art room, and band room but it was a new school and the town is growing again.

   



ShepherdsDog @ Thu Jul 28, 2011 8:50 pm

jeff744 jeff744:
No province/territory west of Ontario should be forced to do this kind of crap, there are simply not enough French speaking people to make this stuff worthwhile. I was raised in a small town in Saskatchewan and almost nobody spoke French on any level (I only know one person and he was raised in Ontario) and the French High School course was actually one of the least popular options we had and we were forced to take that from Kindergarten.

The government needs to realize that French is not a very popular language west of Ontario and spending millions on these programs is wasted money.

Actually, there are quite a few franco manitoban communities, the largest being Saint Boniface. We had Laurier and Ste Rose Du Lac close to where I went to high school. There's also a Ukey and a french immersion school in the town where i went to highschool....none of them have radio stations though.

   



PublicAnimalNo9 @ Thu Jul 28, 2011 8:53 pm

Same here. The smallest high school I went to had a student population of over 1500. The other one I went to had a pop. of around 2000. Not a radio station to be found. I think the court WAYYYYY over-stepped its boundaries with that bit of nonsense.
How the HELL does NOT having a radio station conflict with the CoRF?

   



SprCForr @ Thu Jul 28, 2011 11:05 pm

I'd love to see what the Federal government pays to bus the 3 French school students who happen to live out of town. One kid lives a half hour north (out of the district) but send their kid in because it has the school. The other two live in a hamlet 40 minutes south. The only Franco connection is with the mother of the kids in the south, Dad is Anglo, born and raised in the area of where they live. She was born in QC and moved west when she was a kid. They actually live next door to the area school. The other kid's parents are both Anglo, cannot speak a word of French and drive north (the closest town) to work, but won't send their kid there.

I couldn't imagine sentencing my kids to two hours (minimum) daily on a bus for vanity reasons.

   



ShepherdsDog @ Thu Jul 28, 2011 11:15 pm

Hell, Frontier School Division built a school in Red Sucker Lake in NE Manitoba for four native kids. The sole teacher there is getting paid as a principal and has housing too. The division pays for all supplies required by the kids too, down to pencils, erasers and glue. Some just don't want to go to a band run school, or live on Crown land and the Mof Ed has to provide schooling.

   



SprCForr @ Thu Jul 28, 2011 11:17 pm

Yep, nucking futz.

   



PostFactum @ Thu Jul 28, 2011 11:25 pm

Maybe it'll be much cheaper make french speaking classes is schools that are already built.

   



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