P.E.I. French Language School Board files notice of lawsuit against province
Board wants say in how federal money for French language is spent by province
P.E.I.'s French Language School Board has filed a formal notice to sue the provincial government in order to gain access to federal funds it says it is entitled to.
The board said they want the province to stop using federal funds allocated for French-language education for other operations. It wants the funds used for the needs of the French Language School Board, its students, and Acadian and Francophone communities.
At a news conference Friday at Carrefour de L'Isle Saint-Jean, school board president Emile Gallant said for the past five years the board has been trying to get the government to let it have a say in where the federal funding goes.
Now it'll be up to government, which has 90 days to respond, whether it goes to court, Gallant said.
"We're not going away," he said. "This will be settled one way or another."
This will be settled one way or another.— Emile Gallant
The school board estimates that at least $1 million of $1.5 million annually received from Ottawa go directly to provincial coffers. The board is aiming to receive that money directly.
"We need funds to develop the cultural and linguistic side, because without that our community will slowly die," said Janine Gallant, a parent who is also part of the suit.
The next agreement for French-language education funding between the province and the federal government is expected this year.
"The school board wants to be at the table, wants to be directly involved when such agreements are negotiated," said Mark Power, a lawyer who is representing the school board. "The federal funding is supposed to be for extras, but province using it to subsidize the basic costs of what the province has to anyway."
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With files from Natalia Goodwin