Grade 11 students at West Island’s Pierrefonds Comprehensive High School (PCHS) gathered last week to protest Bill 21, which would ban the wearing of religious clothing in the workplace for employees in a position of authority, including teachers, police officers and judges, to name a few. To show their support for their French teacher Rawan Moudarre, who wears a hijab, over 500 students followed her out of school protesting. Colleen Galley, the principal of PCHS, was proud of her students and saying that “it’s indicative of how the community, the teachers, staff and Lester B. Pearson School Board have raised our kids. It’s not divisiveness, it’s inclusion. We stand united”.
Previously, the bill proposed that anyone wearing religious symbols be transferred to a branch o f the civil service where they would not be in a position of authority, but according to a report from La Presse, this alternative has been dismissed. Instead, the bill now contains an exception, the “grandfather clause”, in which government employees who already wear visible religious symbols could therefore continue to wear them without fear of losing their jobs which is raising concern about the effects it will have on their children and future generations.
One of the students protesting, Victoria Deslauriers, thinks that Bill 21 would discourage young Muslims and others from pursuing careers as teachers and police officers. The Lester B. Pearson School Board and Montreal English School Board have vowed not to enforce Bill 21 if it becomes law.
With the spring flooding of 2017 a too recent memory for many West Island shoreline residents, the borough of Pierrefonds-Roxboro is once again taking a proactive approach, adopting flood protocols in preparation of the upcoming thaw.
Yesterday and today, borough employees as well as Mayor Jim Beis have been visiting homes along Rivière des Prairies in order to discuss strategies and to distribute the “In case of a flood, be prepared!” booklet containing key contact numbers as well as flood avoidance suggestions.
A copy of the guide can be downloaded via the borough’s website at ville.montreal.qc.ca/pierrefonds-roxboro and search for the Residents’ Guide.
The water level of the river is also taken daily and analyzed by the borough as well as noting snow melting patterns. According to a release from the borough, other measures are to have ”mobilized the necessary material and resources for prompt and effective management in the event of a flood, and has put in place prevention tools that will be distributed to residents.”
Residents can also check out the Pierrefonds-Roxboro Facebook page for updates and news or on its website or through electronic newsletters or the billboards for updates as well.
The borough also suggests residents have a 72 hour emergency kit prepared and to keep abreast of weather news or storm forecasts.