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February 7, 2020
CSBA Denounces the Quebec Government’s Decision to Push Bill 40
The Canadian School Boards Association is gravely concerned with the Quebec government’s push to pass Bill 40 eliminating governing school boards for the majority of Quebec citizens.
“This Bill covers off an incredible amount of change in the public education system, and has not gone through the proper channels of democratic debate and discussion, culminating with the Coalition avenir Québec invoking closure on Bill 40,” said CSBA President Laurie French. “Our education partners and colleagues in Quebec, including some members of the opposition, are frustrated with the lack of collaboration and discussion throughout the process of passing Bill 40 that will so negatively affect education.”
While English rights are protected to an extent, the CSBA is also concerned with the erosion to the democratic process of establishing representation for Anglophone communities. “This bill introduces new restrictions on who can run for school board, which goes against true democratic representation,” said Ms. French. “School boards across the country have allowed for people of all backgrounds, parents and non, to run for a seat and represent their communities. Any restriction on that stands in the way of democracy and places additional demands on a limited few with little ability to truly influence educational policy.”
In grave contrast to the changes happening in Quebec, the Prince Edward Island Ministry of Education and Lifelong Learning recently announced their plans to reinstate governing school boards by fall of 2020. Most recently the province of Prince Edward Island did not have English governing school boards. A francophone school board remained as per the Charter of Rights, but the majority language boards had been abolished. “Their Minister of Education identified the importance of locally elected governing school boards in public education. This is the total opposite of what the CAQ is saying to their citizens in Quebec,” said Ms. French.
“We will continue to support our colleagues in Quebec through this very challenging time, and we implore the Quebec government to stop Bill 40 and allow for proper consultation,” said Ms. French. “We have seen what happened in Nova Scotia when a majority government was allowed to push through legislation to abolish school boards. Communities across that province are now suffering the consequences of having no local voice and no local input in public education. The same fate will fall upon citizens of Quebec if this bill is allowed to pass.”
The Canadian School Boards Association represents governing school board members from across the country through their provincial associations. The CSBA champions collaboration and innovation in public education as applied to both the delivery of education and system governance.
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