Pearson parents propose values charter petition

Derry, Perelmiter elected to serve as LBPSB parent commissioners

By Robert Frank

As The Suburban went to press, Lester B. Pearson School Board (LBPSB) Central Parents Committee (CPC) members awaited an imminent answer on their application to post a petition opposing Quebec’s proposed values charter.

“We’re not outright rejecting it,” CPC chair Laura Derry told The Suburban in an interview.

The draft petition calls upon the Péquiste government “to ensure that religious freedom be preserved by removing any restrictions on the wearing of religious symbols as long as they do not cover the face of people affected by the proposed bill, and that the individual right of all Quebecers’ be maintained.”

Dery indicated that CPC is convinced that diversity brings strength to children’s education and sees no harm in allowing teachers to wear conspicuous religions symbols.”

The National Assembly might amend the wording, if it approves the petition, Derry noted.

Marguerite Bourgeoys MNA Robert Poëti in LaSalle has agreed to read the petition in the National Assembly, his political attaché Luciana Evangelista told The Suburban. She noted that the three-month petition period that CPC has asked for means that it would be several months before Poëti will read the outcome of the petition to his fellow legislators, if the petition is approved.

Dery pointed out that previous petitions “have had great success.”

During the CPC meeting, Dec. 5, members also elected Derry and fellow CPC member Alex Perelmiter to serve as parent commissioners on the main LBPSB council. They will fill vacancies left last week when the council appointed the two former non-voting parent commissioners, Nan Beaton and Domenic Pavone to voting positions vacated last month when Rosemary Murphy and Sue Williams resigned.

They also voted for Derry to continue chairing CPC, given her longstanding experience as well as to provide continuity, with long-overdue school board elections less than 11 months away.

“I’m thinking of running for an elected position next year,” added Derry, an avid volunteer who also presides over the Pierrefonds Comprehensive High School governing board and the Valleycrest swimming pool aquatic association.

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