May 3, 2018 5:31 pm
Updated: May 3, 2018 6:08 pm

CAQ could form minority government, but still lacks anglophone support

WATCH: The Coalition Avenir Québec continues to promote its education plan, which includes abolishing school boards. As Global's Raquel Fletcher reports, the party says English Quebecers should not be afraid of its plan to reform the school board system.

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A new Ipsos poll released Thursday shows that if an election was held now, the Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) would form a minority government.

READ MORE: Quebec party leaders agree to English-language debate ahead of provincial election

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The party still lacks support from the English-speaking community, but it’s repeating that if elected, it will abolish school board elections, an idea Quebec’s anglophones are staunchly against.

Quebec’s anglophone communities have already fought — and won — a battle to protect its constitutional language rights when in 2016, the Liberals abandoned a bill to abolish school board elections.

On Thursday, education critic Jean-François Roberge said a CAQ government will try again — and that anglophones should embrace its plan even if it will replace Quebec’s school boards with service centres.

“The anglophone community will still continue to control its institutions,” Roberge explained.

READ MORE: Premier calls for French schools in Quebec to follow English lead

These centres would have the power to make budget decisions, but they would not be elected and they would not be able to determine the school tax rate.

This would then allow a CAQ government to set school taxes at the same rate across the province at the lowest current rate — a plan they say will save Quebec taxpayers about $700 million.

READ MORE: Quebec introduces bill aimed at harmonizing school taxes

Their political opponents say that’s a bad idea.

“It can’t work — I mean the CAQ is a surefire way to have more cuts in education and in health,” said PQ Leader Jean-François Lisée.

Lisée said he was also against the idea of abolishing school board elections in principle.

A recent Ipsos poll puts the CAQ slightly above the Liberals in voter intentions, but when it comes to francophone votes, the CAQ soars ahead with 41 per cent. The PQ has dropped five points from this winter to 24 per cent. The Liberals have 20 per cent among francophone voters — a fact that could see them ousted from power.

READ MORE: Courting the English vote: PQ, CAQ insist they’re the best choice in Quebec

If the Liberals are trying to regain support in the francophone population, the education minister’s comments about why Quebec has such a low graduation rate are really not helping.

He said the French school system is last in Canada and trails far behind the English system because francophone parents in Quebec are not as invested in their children’s education as anglophone parents.

“It’s not the fault of parents, it’s the fault of the Liberals,” Legault said in Thursday’s question period.

However, the Liberals say this year, they’ve re-invested billions of dollars in education and they are convinced they are on the right path.

“Our action plan is the right one,” said Education Minister Sébastien Proulx.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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