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Home Sections MiscellaNEWS Filipino-Canadian Boy Gets Day in Court
Filipino-Canadian Boy Gets Day in Court PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Joseph G. Lariosa   
Sunday, 22 November 2009 21:36


By JOSEPH G. LARIOSA

(© 2009 Journal Group Link International)

 

 

C HICAGO, Illinois (JGLi) – The Filipino-Canadian boy subjected to discriminatory comments by his teacher in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, for using fork and spoon while eating is going to have his day in court when the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal hears the civil rights lawsuit filed on his behalf by his mother on Monday (Nov. 23) and Tuesday (Nov. 24), according Fo Niemi, executive director of the Center for Research-Action on Race Relations, a human rights advocate based in Montreal.

 

Mr. Niemi said the civil rights lawsuit filed by Maria Gallardo on her behalf and on behalf of her son Luc against Marguerite Bougeoys School Board in Montreal and two school staff members will be heard at the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal at the Montreal courthouse (Palais de Justice) at 1 Notre Dame East, Montreal.

 

The hearing, which is open to the public, starts each day from 9:30 a.m. in room 13.04.

 

In September 2008, the Quebec Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission ruled that the then seven-year-old Grade-2 student, Luc, had been subjected in 2006 to racially discriminatory comments by his educator, Martine Bertrand.

 

Ms. Bertrand told him among other things, whether “in (his) country Filipinos wash their hands before they eat.” Luc, who is now a Canadian citizen, was born in Manila. He arrived in Canada at the age of eight months old. He is now 10-years old.

 

The Commission ruled that Luc was actually reprimanded by his educator, for his “inconvenient” eating manner at lunch and acting like a clown, rather than for his culture-based practice of eating with a fork and spoon.”

 

As for the principal’s statement to the mother that she should eat the way Canadians eat, the Commission did not investigate this matter.

 

In the end, the Commission only partially upheld the complaint and chose not to elevate the case before the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal.

 

D ue to numerous problems with the Commission's investigation and decision (including the fact that the Commission interviewed the respondents and their witnesses but never did the same for the family), Ms. Gallardo decided to file the lawsuit before the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal at her own expense, to ensure justice and fair treatment for herself and her son. As a result, the CRAR is appealing to Filipino Canadians and Filipino Americans to donate to the legal fund drive of the Gallardos to pay for their legal expenses.

 

Ms. Gallardo, a native of Quezon City in the Philippines, is seeking $29,000 in damages from the school board and the two staff members, including the school principal, Normand Bergeron.

 

Mr. René Saint-Léger has been retained by Ms. Gallardo and her son in the lawsuit.

 

Ms. Gallardo also denounced comments allegedly made by the school principal, Mr. Bergeron, to the effect that Ms. Gallardo ought to teach her son to “eat the way Canadians eat.”


In
Quebec, the QHRC receives and investigates complaints of civil-rights violations and will take the case to the Human Rights Tribunal on the victim's behalf if it finds sufficient evidence of discrimination.


When the QHRC upholds the civil rights complaint but exercises its discretion, in the public interest, not to refer the case to the Tribunal, a complainant can bring the case before the Tribunal at his or her own expense. In this case, Ms. Gallardo was required to file the lawsuit at her own expense.


The Gallardo family and CRARR welcome donations from anyone in
Canada and the US to defray the costs of the litigation. The CRARR is a Montreal-based independent, non-profit civil-rights organization that was founded in 1983 with the mandate to promote racial harmony and equality in Canada. It is considered as one of the leading non-profit race relations groups in Canada and has worked closely with different segments of the Montreal Filipino Community to promote and raise awareness regarding civil rights.

lariosa_jos@sbcglobal.net # # #

 

© opyright 2009 The Journal Group Link International. The contents provided in the JGLi may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of the Journal Group Link International.

 

(Editor’s Note: Watch out for the upcoming outlet-oriented, subscription-based website of Journal Group Link International that guarantees originally sourced stories, features, photos, audios and videos and multi-media contents.)

 

 



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Last Updated on Sunday, 22 November 2009 21:38
 

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