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Mud-slinging dominates EMSB campaign

WATCH ABOVE – Aalia Adam explains how the English school board election campaign is starting to heat up

MONTREAL – The fight for the chair of the English Montreal School Board is certainly not a cake-walk.

Global Montreal hosted the two candidates this weekend for a debate on Focus Montreal, and it turned into a mud-slinging match over ethics complaints from years gone by.

Now, it’s being ridiculed across the city, so much so that even Aislin drew a comic about it.

Montreal Gazette cartoonist Aislin drew this to depict the on-going mudslinging between the two EMSB candidates running for chair of the school board
Montreal Gazette cartoonist Aislin depicts brawl between EMSB candidates Aislin / The Montreal Gazette

On Saturday, the debate between Angela Mancini and Anne Lagace-Dowson, both vying to be chairperson of the EMSB, turned into a “she-said she-said” round of accusations.

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The focus was not on issues plaguing English school boards in Quebec but on past allegations involving Lagace-Dowson’s team member, Julien Feldman.

Watch: Focus Montreal – Quebec school board election debate: EMSB

It didn’t end there. The debate sparked a war of words in the form of press releases issued on Monday.

The first came from Mancini, again attacking Lagace-Dowson’s candidate Feldman.

“It’s serious when someone [who] wants to be the leader of the EMSB has on her slate a candidate with six convictions of ethics charges against him, from three different ethics commissioners,” Angela Mancini told Global News.

A few hours after Mancini’s press release, Lagace-Dowson launched her own attack, calling out Mancini for using sand box politics and launching “personal attacks on her opponents rather than defending her record of governance.”

Legace-Dowson defended her teammate on Tuesday, saying, “the ethics complaints that Mrs. Mancini refer to are primarily bogus complaints. They’re sort of trumped up charges, based on personal animosities, and in no way do they advance the cause of English language public education in Montreal.”

Read more: How to make sure you’re eligible to vote for an English school board

Political analyst Harold Chorney believes dirty politics can be detrimental to the English school boards in the long run.

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“There are a lot of other important issues. Namely, what’s the future of the English-speaking community in Montreal, and particularly its control over the school system, which is a very serious problem facing the community,” Chorney said.

“At the very minimum, I would hope the candidates would also spend some time discussing these issues.”

He added that dirty politics always ends up doing more harm than good.

The real focus now should be on gaining interest from the parents and getting them out to vote.