Positive Changes Regarding Indigenous History; Stubborn Refusal to Fix Serious Problems with Representation of Minority Groups

CBC’s Mike Finnerty discusses the most recent changes with the Quebec history curriculum and the changes that still need to be made:

Press release:

June 18, 2018
Montreal, QC – The Committee for the Enhancement of the History Curriculum in Quebec (ComECH-Quebec) will
hold a press conference at June 19th at 8:30AM at the English Parent’s Committee Association office (7875 Chemin de la Côte-de-Liesse). We will respond to a memo the Ministry quietly sent to schools on May 31st announcing that the secondary three History of Quebec and Canada textbooks distributed to schools in the fall of 2016 would be replaced next year in order to better respond to the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

“While we are encouraged that the Ministry seems to be taking concrete steps to listen to Indigenous communities, Image result for inclusive history quebecwe hope that it is the entire curriculum program that will be fixed and not merely the textbook, as was the case with the Sec 4 program” said ComECH-Quebec chairperson Robert Green. “We also hope that the Ministry is not intending to cherry-pick the TRC Calls to Action and leave out important recommendations such as the call to establish senior- level positions in government at the assistant deputy minister level or higher dedicated to Aboriginal content in education.”

The members of ComECH-Quebec will also describe their frustrating experience attempting to convince the current
Government of Quebec to address the very serious problems with the curriculum’s depiction of Anglophones and
other minority communities.

“We met with Greg Kelley, the Premier’s liaison to the English community and we had two meetings with
representatives from the Ministry” said Green. “We provided page references showing how this curriculum demonizes Anglophones, omits much of the history of Black Quebecers, reinforces negative stereotypes about Muslims, whitewashes Quebec’s history of xenophobia and antisemitism and fails to acknowledge the positive contributions to Quebec society of any of its minority groups. Not only did this government refuse to take action to fix these problems, it refused to even acknowledge that these were problems to begin with!”

Finally, the members of ComECH-Quebec will announce their intention to make the reform of the history curriculum
an issue in the upcoming election.

“We have a government that loves to pay lip service to inclusive values, but is right now stubbornly refusing to change a curriculum that still looks more like divisive ethnic nationalist propaganda than an inclusive portrait of Quebec society.” said Green. “If political parties want the votes of Anglophones and other minority groups, they should clearly state their position on a curriculum that asks students from these communities to spend two years studying a program that renders them second-class citizens.”

Over the summer ComECH-Quebec will be contacting each of Quebec’s political parties to ask whether they would, if
elected, maintain the current curriculum or make changes to reflect the positive contributions of Quebec’s diverse
minority communities. The committee will then hold another press conference in the fall to report on where the parties stand on this important matter.

About the Committee for the Enhancement of the Curriculum of History in Quebec: ComECH-Quebec is an ad hoc committee created by the English Parents’ Committees Association (EPCA), Quebec Anglophone Heritage Network (QAHN), the Quebec Federation of Home and School Associations (QFHSA), and the Quebec Association of Geography Teachers. The Committee is chaired by Westmount High School teacher Robert Green.

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