VAUDREUIL, QC, Oct. 27, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - The Quebec English School Boards Association (QESBA) met over the weekend in Vaudreuil-Dorion, Quebec for the Annual Fall Professional Development Session and Annual General Meeting.
Newly named Minister of Education, Recreation and Sports Marie Malavoy delivered a speech last night to 70 delegates, elected commissioners from QESBA's nine member boards from across Quebec, after having held an hour-long meeting with the Association's leadership. QESBA President David D'Aoust called the meeting "…an important, cordial and productive first step." Mme Malavoy noted that all Quebecers would have to await next week's inaugural speech in the National Assembly from Premier Pauline Marois for a detailed look at the PQ government's agenda. Malavoy nevertheless signalled a number of important directions. Significantly, she announced that the Premier had given her instructions to undertake a prompt and intensive feasibility study with a view to conducting school elections on the same day as municipal ones in November 2013. This would respond to a long-standing demand from QESBA for democratic renewal of school boards.
"What struck me most about our first meeting," President D'Aoust observed, "was to see that on student success and well-being, Mme Malavoy speaks our language. She demonstrated a rigorous understanding of the issues we raised and a clear determination to work with us to maximize the opportunities for each of the students we serve. There are - and we told the Minister in no uncertain terms - important differences with her government and its approach. There are obstacles to allowing our English public schools to play their full and productive role in preparing our students to contribute to Quebec's future. We challenged her, and will continue to do so, on narrowing those differences. That said, this is a Minister we can work with."
At the event, QESBA also held its' annual awards ceremony, honouring L. Jacques Ménard, Chairman, BMO Nesbitt Burns and President, BMO Financial Group, Quebec for his dedication and innovation in placing the challenge of keeping young Quebecers in school at the heart of Quebec's public policy debate. M. Ménard was named only the third-ever recipient of QESBA's Award for Honorary Membership in its 80-plus year history. The Association was also proud to recognize former QESBA and Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board Vice-President Carolyn Curiale with its Award of Merit, upon her retirement from a lengthy career as an elected school board leader.
A plenary session was held on Saturday morning with the focus of analyzing the political climate in Québec since September 4 including panelists: Antonia Maioni, McGill Institute for the Study of Canada; Peter Blaikie, former Progressive Conservative leadership candidate, former Chair of Alliance Québec; Carole Beaulieu, editor and publisher, "l'Actualité, Michael Bergman, lawyer. The session was moderated b Aaron Rand, CJAD News Radio host.
"The weekend has helped our network exchange on the new political climate in Québec and has given our Board of Directors a strategic path for the coming year," concluded D'Aoust.
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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