English Montreal School Board revokes statement denying Quebec's nationhood

Earlier this week, the English Montreal School Board [EMSB] issued a document in which it denied Quebec's nationhood, sparking outrage from the Bloc Québécois.

Now, the EMSB has voted to withdraw the statement.

"The Council wishes to acknowledge that it now recognizes that some of these criticisms were unfounded or mistaken," reads a press release. "In particular, the EMSB does not question the fact that Quebec forms a nation."

On Sept. 7, the EMSB issued a document outlining its opposition to Bill 96. It expressed particular concern over how the Bill might impact Quebec's English-speaking community.

But one clause focused on Quebec's status as a nation, stating that "Quebec's intelligentsia is deliberately misusing the word 'nation,' so as to imply a reality that exists only in their self-mirage."

The offending clause is now being removed, but criticisms regarding language issues will remain.

EMSB Chairman Joe Ortona said the main focus of the resolution was not to deny Quebec's nationhood, but to implore the government to withdraw Bill 96.

"The purpose of the resolution was to bring to light the concerns that we have regarding Bill 96, and to state that it is not necessary in order to promote and protect the French language."  

But according to the Office of Simon Jolin-Barrette, minister responsible for the French language, "the damage has already been done."

"The comments made by EMSB last week were contemptuous and unacceptable," reads a statement. "Quebec bashing has no place and must stop."

The statement defended Bill 96, saying it "aims to ensure the sustainability of French in Quebec, while respecting the rights of English-speaking institutions."  

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