Dawson College expansion abruptly halted to ‘give priority to French-speaking students’

In a letter to members of the Dawson community, the college principal said the news was announced at a “hastily called meeting” on Friday.

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After publicly and repeatedly expressing its support for the project despite criticism from the Parti Québécois, the Legault government informed officials at Dawson College on Friday that it was ending the school’s planned expansion.

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In a letter sent Sunday to “members of the Dawson community,” college principal Diane Gauvin said Quebec Minister of Higher Education Danielle McCann announced the news at a “meeting convened in a hurry” on Friday.

Gauvin wrote that McCann said the government “chose to prioritize, in his words, ‘French-speaking’ students…(and) urged Dawson to explore other options, such as leasing”.

The decision to kill the expansion – which was part of the Legault government’s larger infrastructure program to revive Quebec’s economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic – is a sharp reversal of a position which, at a At one point saw Premier Francois Legault defend Dawson City as a “valued” educational institution.

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The prime minister made the remark in June 2020 after interim PQ leader Pascal Bérubé said the expansion would lead to more young French-speaking Quebecers being assimilated by the English-speaking community.

My answer is that Dawson The college is valued as a college, “said the Prime Minister, adding that CEGEPs are not covered by Bill 101, the Quebec Charter of the French language.

I know that some francophones will Dawson. And put money to expand the capacity of Dawson does not mean that we refuse other projects in francophone colleges. And we don’t intend (to) change… Law 101. It doesn’t apply to colleges. I therefore support the expansion of Dawson University.

In February 2021, the Legault government voted against a PQ motion to redirect $100 million in Dawson Project funding to the French education sector.

Gauvin wrote on Sunday that “based on its standards, the Ministry (of higher education) has recognized that Dawson suffers from a space deficit of 11,200 (square meters) or the equivalent of more than 10 floors of typical offices”.

She added that “the project has encountered challenges, many of which have been publicly aired in the media.”

Gauvin added that the college “will analyze its options and determine the best course of action.”

This story will be updated.

  1. The application of the Charter of the French language to the CEGEP system would mean that Francophones and allophones would no longer have the possibility of attending the English system.

    Our approach to allophones in Anglophone CEGEPs is the best, according to the CAQ

  2. Nathan McDonald, a 19-year-old student in Dawson College's professional theater program, has started a program to recycle procedure masks used by school students and staff.

    Dawson College has recycled over 20,000 masks. Why not everyone?

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