Re Francophones Hit the Jackpot:
There are those wonderful days when I sit on the porch, sip a Coke, and read the Yukon News.
Yesterday I read an article that rather ruined my summer mood. Here we have the enlightened school board from Emilie-Tremblay complaining about its present school.
They have a relatively new school, it is only 60 per cent full. Short of homeschoolers, they have the record for low student/teacher ratio and they probably get more tax dollars per student than the rest of the developed nations.
So, they complain about how tough life is and how they need a new school to fill with happy French-speaking students.
I was taken aback and reread the article.
I even used a highlighter.
Then I grabbed the phone book and tested St-Pierre’s statement the Yukon “only has a handful of fluently French-speaking workers able to help the public.”
I found many of them in the blue pages. There were more than a handful.
I then phoned the hospital and asked to speak to the French guy who has the office by the admission desk. He is there Monday to Friday working a full shift. He only gets a few people coming to see him every week, but, hey, Ã‰ it’s a government job, eh?
St-Pierre is quoted as saying, “The Yukon Hospital Corporation used to offer services in French, in 1997, but not anymore.” That short phone call put St-Pierre’s claim into the questionable category.
You know, there are people who never seem happy. They wake up to grey and sunless days and find fault in many areas. I refer to these people as “The Perpetually Disappointed.” I have met them all over the globe, travelling, hunting, fishing, at parties, and they just seem to live their life under a cloud.
I feel that this school board just might fit into this category.
Even the math in this article does not work for me.
I have a decent handle on percentages, and if E.T. is 60 per cent full and the school only has 203 kids in it now, and only 46 are in high school, well, the extra room (40 per cent) would allow for 135 more kids.
Since president Andre Bourcier said the new school could be filled with 150 high school students, simply take the 46 you have now and fill it with the 135 you have room for and, ta-da, you have exceeded your goal of 150.
Building on a shop and a lab might be more prudent than planning and building a whole new school.
This whole thing seems like some rich kids asking dad for a car and then standing there shaking their heads when he just buys a Toyota Corolla. “Hey, what’s this? I thought I was entitled to a Beemer.”
There is one great big question that everyone failed to address: That huge, free-roaming herd of 430 French-speaking high school students who are presently attending PC, FH, and Vanier.
These students need to be contacted and asked this simple question. “If Emilie-Tremblay were to expand, and you had shop classes, a theatre, and science labs, would you attend there?”
Building a huge, new, multimillion-dollar facility without knowing the answer to this question is simply foolish.
I must remind you that Field of Dreams was fiction. Building before you have the population secured is a giant waste of taxpayers’ money. Speaking of which, I would gladly subcontract out and make those 430 phone calls myself, for a paltry sum of, say, $30,000. That way, you would have the answer to that important question. That phone survey would be completed right after hunting season, of course.
The punchline came when I read that Vital Ouellette, known for being a booster for Francophone rights in Alberta, was the judge for this case.
I like it when a bothersome article like this ends on such a humorous note. It makes the sunshine warmer and the Coke even more delicious.