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Why it’s important
The the Quebec Human Rights Commission has this to say about Law 12 (formerly Bill 78): “To say that an employee has a duty of loyalty does not mean that he or she can be prohibited from publically speaking out in disagreement against his employer by legitimate means, as this is an exercise of freedom of expression.”
Disciplinary action was recently taken against 11 teachers of Collège Lionel-Groulx for a lack of loyalty to their employer.
The teachers co-signed an opinion piece, published in Le Devoir, that offered a point of view different from that of management regarding what led the Sûreté du Québec riot squad to be deployed on campus on May 15, 2012. The 11 teachers were summoned by managers of the college’s human resources department, and after a meeting with the director general, were invited to apologize for having “too harshly” judged the university administration.
In other words, these 11 signatories have been given written reprimands because they publicly expressed a version of the facts that could tarnish the image of the college’s management, because they dared to sidestep communication processes that were insufficient in the circumstances, and because they wanted to denounce such a deployment of police force and prevent it from happening again.
In our opinion, this disciplinary measure is unjustifiable. It accuses the teachers of having a lack of loyalty to the institution, even as they set out to defend its fundamentally humanist character.
Such an outrageous administrative decision has an adverse affect on freedom of expression. It hampers freedom of expression for all members of Collège Lionel-Groulx because it leads people to fear similar administrative sanctions. We denounce such sanctions and we demand the immediate withdrawal of reprimand letters from the records of the 11 signatories of the published opinion piece.
To SUPPORT THE 11 PROFESSORS, to HAVE THIS DISCIPLINARY MEASURE LIFTED, and IN THE NAME OF FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION in our democratic institutions, we sign our names to this petition.
[Translator’s note: The original French document includes a link to the opinion piece published in Le Devoir, which can be found here: http://www.ledevoir.com/politique/quebec/351265/violence-a-lionel-groulx-voici-notre-version. It can also be found, in English translation, at: http://www.quebecprotest.com/post/24470574512/the-violence-at-lionel-groulx-our-side-of-the-story.]
Translated from the original French by Translating the printemps érable.
*Translating the printemps érable is a volunteer collective attempting to balance the English media’s extremely poor coverage of the student conflict in Québec by translating media that has been published in French into English. These are amateur translations; we have done our best to translate these pieces fairly and coherently, but the final texts may still leave something to be desired. If you find any important errors in any of these texts, we would be very grateful if you would share them with us at email@example.com. Please read and distribute these texts in the spirit in which they were intended; that of solidarity and the sharing of information.