Quebec government passes bill to scrap school board byelections
MONTREAL – The Quebec government has passed a provincial bill to scrap all Quebec school board byelections – and the English Montreal School Board (EMSB) is fuming.
The EMSB had a byelection scheduled in Côte-Saint-Luc-Hampstead for Dec. 13.
“It’s unbelievable to all of us and incredible to see how the Ministry is disorganized under Mr. Blais,” Angela Mancini, chairperson of the EMSB, told Global News Wednesday.
“It’s almost like the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing and he just changes things as he goes along.”
READ MORE: No more school board elections, says Blais
Quebec Education Minister François Blais introduced the legislation Wednesday, calling for the cancellation of all school board byelections in the province.
The bill was one page long.
Blais cited low voter turnout for why he made his decision, saying it casted doubt on the legitimacy of the outcome.
“What we want to do is to put back teachers, parents, school administrators at the level where they should be – at the centre of discussions,” said Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard.
Mancini insisted school board byelections are just as legitimate as provincial political ones.
“At English Montreal, we had a 22 per cent turnout,” she explained.
“We presently had provincial byelections in which the turnout was 21 per cent. So, I’d like to know the legitimacy of those elected officials, as compared to us.”
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The Côte-Saint-Luc-Hampstead byelection was to replace longtime commissioner Syd Wise, who passed away last month.
Three candidates already filed their documents to run for the position and Mancini said the EMSB is prepared to go to court.
“I think that there may be a bid towards the supreme court,” she told Global News.
“That’ll be a decision that the Quebec English School Board Association (QESBA), the nine member boards will make in the future.”
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