Lester B. Pearson school board wants Bill 86 scrapped

WATCH ABOVE: The Lester B. Pearson School Board offers alternatives to the Quebec government's school board election reform at the Bill 86 hearings in Quebec City. Global's Raquel Fletcher reports.

QUEBEC CITY – Officials at the Lester B. Pearson School Board (LBPSB) hope it’s not too late to change the province’s mind.

They testified Wednesday at the Bill 86 public hearings.

“The projet de loi is not passed yet and it is subject to a couple more phases that allows modification,” said LBPSB chairperson Suanne Stein Day.

READ MORE: QESBA ‘optimistic’ after Bill 86 hearings

Bill 86 would see the end of mandatory school board elections.

Last week, Quebec English school boards said they would sue the province to stop them from abolishing school commissioners.

Stein Day said the English community cares about its school system and more would vote if elections were better organized.

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“Some of our constituents have to travel 80 kilometres on a Sunday afternoon to go stand in line at an understaffed polling station to vote,” she said.

READ MORE: More English voices need to be heard at Bill 86 hearings, says QCGN

An even bigger problem, she added, is the thousands of people who were put on the French voting list instead of the English voting list, which made them unable to vote for the English boards.

“We explained it over and over again during the last election. I don’t know how many times we were in touch with the Director General of Elections (DGE),” said Craig Berger, a Lester B. Pearson commissioner.

“They need to put money into it so that it is a proper election. They could make it so that it is done on the same day as municipal elections,” said Richard Goldfinch, with the Quebec Provincial Association of Teachers.

READ MORE: EMSB applauds decision to be included in Bill 86 hearings

Once again, representatives from the anglophone school system are calling on the government to scrap Bill 86 entirely – and they do have some political support.

“We totally support the English community,” said Alexandre Cloutier, PQ education critic.

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“We have a new minister. He just came out on this subject, now trying to put in place a new reform of the education system and has no idea what should be put in place.”