Yukon calls French judge ‘biased’

The Yukon government is accusing a judge of bias following his order the government must fund three teachers at the Yukon's only French high school.

The Yukon government is accusing a judge of bias following his order the government must fund three teachers at the Yukon’s only French high school.

Justice Vital Ouellette made the interim order on June 24 while the government and the Commission Scholaire Francophone du Yukon hash it out in a lawsuit over the board’s funding.

Ouellette made the order without providing his reasoning or considering evidence from the government’s side, say documents filed by government lawyers two days later.

He grimaced and laughed at the government’s arguments during the trial – signalling a reluctance to take them seriously, the documents allege.

He also made errors in law, they say. Ouellette took the school board’s view of its contribution agreements at face value and misinterpreted them. The school board was able to convince Ouellette it has authority over its funding, which the agreements makess clear is not true, says the government.

Furthermore, the school board didn’t prove that failing to fund the teachers this coming school year would cause irreparable harm.

“His honour, throughout the proceedings, made statements, rulings, facial expressions, uttering and inconsistent rulings disproportionately favouring the plaintiff, giving rise to a reasonable apprehension of bias,” say the documents.

The appeal is an unexpected twist in the months-long battle between the school board and the government.

The board filed a lawsuit in February alleging it had control over its funding for buildings, personnel and activities. The board argues that its lack of control is a breach of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which protects minority language rights.

The fight was ignited after the Yukon Department of Education cut funding for a pilot project last year that brought “experiential learning” to the territory’s few French first-language students.

The project – which is supported through a Canadian Heritage fund and the Yukon – is meant to increase enrolment, but so far results have been mixed.

The trial was split into two parts. The first dealt with the school board’s demands that it have more control over funds entitled to it under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. That lasted three weeks in June.

A second part, to examine the school board’s demands that new facilities be built, continues in January.

Andre Bourcier, president of the school board, was not available for comment.

Contact James Munson at

jamesm@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Support, opposition expressed for restricted residential rezoning

Property owners want to add a suite to their home

Yukon government seeking expressions of interest for women’s halfway house

Advocates say that a facility for justice-involved women is long overdue

Uncertainties remain as Yukon schools submit COVID-19 back-to-school plans

School principals are hoping that new information will ease anxiety for parents and teachers

WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Aug. 14, 2020

COMMENTARY: Know your rights: Yukon’s anti-discrimination laws in housing

Luke Faught Special to the News For three reasons, now is an… Continue reading

Yukon government commits to numerous health care system changes

Changes to include doubling the medical travel benefit and introducing universal childcare

Yukon Salmon Sub-Committee recommends halt on fishing for Chinook

The Yukon Salmon Sub-Committee is recommending the complete cessation of fishing for… Continue reading

City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week. Lot… Continue reading

Today’s mailbox: long-term care oversight

Letters to the editor published Aug. 12

Group of B.C. First Nations announce mutual support of travel, hunting restrictions

Group of B.C. First Nations announce mutual support of travel, hunting restrictions… Continue reading

Whitehorse airport baggage handling to be upgraded

Baggage handling at the Whitehorse airport is getting an upgrade next year.… Continue reading

Whitehorse driver pleads not guilty in 2019 pedestrian death

A Whitehorse driver charged with failing to yield for a pedestrian at… Continue reading

Yukon Filmmakers Fund awards announced

Four local filmmakers will receive $20,000 as they continue work on their… Continue reading

Most Read