Government proposes further two-year delay - QESBA disappointed with postponement of elections... again

MONTREAL, Nov. 9, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - The Quebec English School Boards Association (QESBA) expressed its disappointment with the announcement made by Minister of Education, Recreation and Sports Marie Malavoy of her government's intention to further postpone school elections to the Fall of 2014. Mme Malavoy announced today in Québec City that the government has foregone the idea of holding school elections on the same day as municipal elections in November 2013, a scenario supported by QESBA as well as its partners at the Fédération des commissions scolaires du Québec - and one that was under clear consideration by the Parti Québécois minority government since its election on September 4th.

School board commissioners are universally elected to manage and deliver public education in Québec. In the English sector, they represent the only level of government uniquely responsible to electors who identify with Québec's English-speaking minority. "QESBA has been actively working on the school elections dossier since 2009 and has always championed the citizens' right to democracy," said QESBA President David D'Aoust. He did acknowledge his appreciation for the efforts of the Minister to move forward on the file but nevertheless regretted today's decision: "Yes, the holding of simultaneous elections in November 2013 posed a challenge but one that could have been overcome. We are aware of the views of both the Directeur général des élections and the associations representing the muncipalities on this subject; but we don't share them. QESBA is impatient about renewing our rendez-vous with our electors. Our English public schools are cornerstones of our communities. Those communities should not have to wait yet again for the chance to choose their English education leaders."

D'Aoust noted QESBA's frustration with the past government's inaction on the school elections dossier. The Liberals had promised to renew school democracy but never set an election date after indefinitely postponing the last scheduled elections of November 2011 a year earlier.

"QESBA remains committed to democratic renewal," D'Aoust added. "I have been assured by Minister Malavoy that our Association will be regularly consulted and involved in preparations for the new date in 2014. There are boundaries to be redrawn, funding for elections to be allocated and electoral lists - particularly English ones - to be properly revised. This is not the timetable we were looking for but now, it is time to move forward and start preparing for the 2014 election of school commissioners to lead our school boards."

QESBA representatives will meet with the Directeur général des élections in Québec City tomorrow, with a view to re-starting that work immediately.

QESBA is the voice of English public education in Québec representing some 105,000 students.

SOURCE: QUEBEC ENGLISH SCHOOL BOARDS ASSOCIATION

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