Sunday, May 21, 2006

Cagadoc family receives legal warning from Montreal school board

For immediate release
May 9, 2006

Cagadoc family receives legal warning from Montreal school board

The Marguerite Bourgeoys school board sent a legal warning to the
family of Luc Cagadoc, a seven-year old boy who was punished at school
for eating with a spoon and fork, a customary eating practice for
Filipinos. Incensed by the culturally insensitive school practices,
the boy's family has filed a complaint and made the incident public.

"There is no misunderstanding here, this is clearly an intimidation
tactic by the Marguerite Bourgeoys school board to discourage the
family from speaking out," states Roderick Carreon, Chairperson of
SIKLAB-Canada, a national formation of overseas Filipino migrant
workers in Canada. Carreon furthers, "However, this silencing
strategy is a form of systemic racism and has infuriated the
community. We will not accept this without a fight."

In September 1999, a similar tactic was used by the Vancouver School
Board (VSB), when 25 Filipino youth were stalked and threatened at
Vancouver Technical secondary school. The school's administration
denied that the incident was racist and refused to respond to requests
from the parents to protect these students. All of them eventually
dropped out of school because of the incident. When Ugnayan ng
Kabataang Pilipino sa Canada/Filipino-Canadian Youth Alliance
(UKPC/FCYA) made these racist incidents public, the VSB issued the
community organization a letter threatening a libel suit.

"The disciplinary actions and legal threats of the Marguerite
Bourgeoys school board have struck fear into every Filipino parent's
heart," says Joanne Vasquez, Chairperson of the Philippine Women
Centre of Quebec, "they worry that their own children will be
similarly harassed in their schools. Is this the better life in Canada
we sought?"

The majority of the Filipino community enters Canada through the
Live-In Caregiver Program (LCP) as domestic workers, despite being
amongst the highest-educated immigrants in Canada, where they are
deskilled, legislated into poverty, and separated from their families
for years. After working for 24 months within a three year time
period, they are allowed to apply for permanent residency and sponsor
their spouses and children to Canada. Often, Filipino families in
Canada experience more hardship as their children and spouses also
enter the cycle of cheap labour, encountering racism and harassment in
schools and workplaces.

Local organizations in Montreal, Kabataang Montreal (Filipino youth
organization in Montreal), Philippine Women Centre of Quebec, PINAY
(Filipino Women's Organization in Quebec) and SIKLAB-Montreal
(Overseas Filipino migrant workers) will hold a forum on May 10, 2006
at 6:30 p.m. The address is 4180 de Courtrai, Suite 308, Montreal,

For more information, please contact Joanne at (514) 659-4300 or email



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