The Quebec Human Rights Tribunal will hear the case of Luc Cagadoc on Nov. 23 and 24 against the Marguerite Bougeoys School Board and two other school staff members, according to Fo Niemi, executive director of the Center for Research-Action on Race Relations, a Montreal-based human rights advocate group.
The hearing, which is open to the public, will be heard at the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal at the Montreal courthouse (Palais de Justice) at 1 Notre Dame East, Montreal.
Mr. Niemi said the case was filed by Luc’s mother, Maria Theresa Gallardo.
The case stemmed from the racial discrimination Cagadoc allegedly suffered from school officials in 2006.
Cagadoc, then seven-year-old, was reprimanded by school officials for eating in the Filipino customary manner, with fork and spoon, during a lunch break. He was born in the Philippines but grew up in Canada.
In the controversy that followed, the school principal, Normand Bergeron, was quoted by a newspaper article telling Gallardo, a Filipino-Canadian, that since “you are here in Canada … you should eat the way Canadians eat.”
In September 2008, the Quebec Human Rights Commission (QHRC) found the comments of the educator, Martine Bertrand, discriminatory and violated Cagadoc’s rights.
In Quebec, the QHRC receives and investigates complaints of civil rights violations and takes the case to the Human Rights Tribunal on the victim’s behalf if it finds sufficient evidence of discrimination.
However, the QHRC did not address Gallardo’s complaint against Bergeron. Instead of filing the case before the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal, the Commission suggested mediation for both parties.
This prompted Gallardo to launch a fund-raising drive to pay for her lawyer and other expenses that come with filing of the case. With the help of the Center for Research-Action on Race Relations (CRARR), she enlisted the help of René Saint-Léger in her lawsuit before the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal.
Gallardo, a native of Quezon City, is seeking $29,000 in damages from the school board and the two staff members, including Bergeron. – KK, GMANews.TV