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“Isn’t it time to recreate the Estates General on Francophone education in Alberta? “

These pages are yours. Le Franco allows its readers to take the floor to express their opinions. This week, Marc Arnal and Paul Dubé, publish this text in which they submit the idea of ​​creating States General on Francophone education in Alberta.

In the context of an overhaul of education in Alberta by the Kenney government and the perspectives suggested which ignore the advances of the last thirty years relating to Francophone education in our communities, is it not time to take into account hand our educational future as the five major judgments of the Supreme Court since Mahé give us the power?

Conservative ideology à la Kenney wants to impose a nostalgic return to another form of education that seems to bring us back to a pre-article 23 era, when French education, the first language, did not exist. This is a vision contrary to the one managed since the implementation of section 23 by our communities, accompanied, as it should be, by a solid team of Francophone experts within the department.

For those who are not convinced. e. s of our political power on this issue of French-speaking education, let us recall that on the basis of the Mahé judgment (1990) a series of four Supreme Court rulings was established which amplified the accumulated powers of article 23. Among them, the one that grants us autonomy and authorities to which even the minister is subject (the Arsenault-Cameron-2000 decision), or even the power given to itself by the Court to impose the application of an order. that a refractory government is dragging on to respect (the Doucet-Boudreau-2003 decision), or tries, à la Kenney, to push back.

Moreover, let us not forget that the curriculum proposed by the current regime, even if it has been seriously revised following the rise of criticism from everywhere, will always be that of the majority, ideology and pedagogy included. Its translation for Francophones will always be prejudicial with problematic “incidences” (Mahé) on Francophone education. In this context, is it not time to kill several birds with one stone?

Especially since our society has been transformed in recent years by the expansion of our demographic base. To so-called “native” Francophones, those with an immigrant background as well as Francophiles from immersion schools have joined our community. Today, Alberta ranks third among the Canadian provinces with the largest French-speaking populations.

Paul Dubé is a former professor of literature at the University of Alberta and an author. Credit: courtesy

Without forgetting all these people who support French without necessarily speaking it, we collectively represent a political and demographic force. Don’t we have a golden opportunity to review all aspects of French education, from the curriculum to a pedagogy adapted to the needs of this new Franco-Albertan population?

In our opinion, there is a need to create States General of French education in Alberta. We have to go back more than 40 years, in 1977, to find this kind of major public consultation on this crucial issue of the education of our children. It was undoubtedly these Estates General who had launched the research leading to the Perron Report, whose recommendations when it appeared in the summer of 1981 identified the desire for French-speaking schools in the Franco-Albertan community.

As the great sociologist Pierre Bourdieu says, the institutions of a society reproduce the great ideological schemes defined by the majority. In the case of Jason Kenney’s Alberta, they assert themselves in their eloquent transparency. We know more and more that the denied recognition of our status as a national minority and the educational vision proposed by the Alberta government cannot correspond to our vision of the Francophone future. So it’s up to us – especially as we have the power – to define a vision that corresponds to what we want our community to become in the context of its diverse population. To define it, what better than a broad consultation of all the stakeholders through a structure such as the Estates General, a democratic structure which ensures that all bring their voices to the chapter of history.

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The members of the initial committee (organizer) chosen to compose it would be called upon to imagine a vision to fuel the discussion around ideas proposed as an object of reflection, as well as practical applications. The said founding committee of the project must, first of all, bring together the “best” elements of the community for reasons of general mobilization, relevant representativeness, convictions in relation to the objectives of the project, and all-round commitment. Secondly, in consultation with experts, it will also have to imagine a popular consultation structure (we could, for example, study the Manitoba version of its Estates General held on the Francophone community a few years ago) in order to produce the desired extent of this vast collective reflection. Third, it must define a process establishing a precise plan of deadlines which prepare the final congress producing a report setting in motion the anticipated revolution in the field of French education in Alberta.

These are just a few ideas to get the project started. It seems to us that the future of our Francophone community depends on it and that it is time to take advantage of the opportunity that the government is offering us, despite itself, in addition to the need for such an initiative for the education of our children.

In short, as thought must lead to action, next week in these pages we will offer you a first reflection on a social project that it is difficult not to include in this kind of great collective questioning. It will be a call to imagine what a project focused on transculturality, both educational and societal, can look like.

Marc Arnal

Paul Dubé

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