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CAQ education policy includes getting rid of school boards

CAQ holds pre-session caucus
WATCH: The Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) is holding a two-day pre-session caucus in Saint-Adèle and as Global's Raquel Fletcher reports, Day 1 focused on the party's education platform which includes doing away with school boards and replacing them with service centres.

The hotly contested debate on abolishing Quebec’s school boards could start back up if the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ)forms the next government.

At the CAQ caucus retreat in the Laurentians on Monday, leader François Legault explained his plan is not the same as the Liberals’ now defunct Bill 86.

READ MORE: Quebec education minister scraps Bill 86

The CAQ is proposing to replace Quebec’s school boards with service centres.

“The idea of our reorganization is to give more power to different schools and less power to school boards,” Legault said.

He argued this idea would not impede on the right for minority language groups to govern their own schools, but he’ll have a constitutional fight on his hands regardless as English school boards are already vowing to fight the issue if his party forms government in October.

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READ MORE: Quebec re-invests in daycare and kindergarten

A week after the Liberal government unveiled its early childhood education strategy, the CAQ is in the process of coming up with its own.

“The future of Quebec lies in education,” Legault said, beginning his opening press conference.

The plan is two-fold: make sure all newborns have a family doctor and then make sure they are tested for learning disabilities and developmental problems before they start kindergarten — which, under the CAQ, would be offered to all four year olds.

The CAQ has recruited a pediatric neurologist who’s made these issues his life’s work.

“Whether I can do it as a doctor at Sainte-Justine (Hospital) or whether I need to go into politics. That’s really the focus of my reflection right now,” Dr. Carmant said.

READ MORE: Do children need preschool?

The neurologist said the type of screening the CAQ is proposing for young kids could be extended to teenagers, particularly in light of the legalization of marijuana.

“I think the reason people are so worried about the use of cannabis is that a lot of (teenagers) have anxiety problems, depression problems and we have all the tools to screen for these problems,” Dr. Carmant said.

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He is not yet an official candidate, but the soft-spoken doctor, who moved to Quebec from Haiti at four years old, would be a big change from the current health minister, who’s known for being blunt.

When asked about Gaetan Barrette’s health care reforms, Dr. Carmant said he is “disappointed with the evolution of our health system.”