Judge rejects demand to halt transfer of two Montreal English schools to French system

MONTREAL — A Quebec Superior Court judge has rejected a demand to immediately halt the transfer of two east-end Montreal English-language schools to the French system.

The English Montreal School Board had sought a court injunction on grounds the Quebec government's decision to transfer the schools was a violation of minority language rights guaranteed in the Constitution.

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The board argued the Education Department's decision would also hurt the vitality of the English-speaking community and wanted an immediate halt to the transfers pending an evaluation of the merits of the case.

In a decision published today, Justice Dominique Poulin said the English board failed to convince her the matter was urgent. She added an injunction would do more harm to the French-language school board because it is in serious need of space for students.

Quebec Education Minister Jean-Francois Roberge decided to transfer two English schools effective July 1. He argued the French school board was short 3,000 spaces while some English schools in east-end Montreal operate at roughly half capacity.

Poulin says the vitality of the English-speaking community in east-end Montreal can be re-established following a judgment on the merits of the school board's lawsuit.

The school board says it is considering its next steps.

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