MONTREAL, Sept. 5, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - The President of the Quebec English School Boards Association (QESBA) offered his congratulations to Premier-elect Pauline Marois this morning, and pledged the collaboration of Quebec's English public school network with her newly elected minority government.
"First, we express our relief for Mme Marois' personal safety, and our admiration for the calm and courage with which she dealt with last night's tragedy", noted QESBA President David D'Aoust. "With yesterday's results, Quebecers appear to have sent a message for change and stability at the same time. In our view, that message, and the very slim margin of victory by the Parti québécois yesterday behooves Mme Marois to abandon her radical plan to extend Bill 101 restrictions to Cegeps and school board adult education programs.
"QESBA leaders have met many times over the years with Premier-elect Pauline Marois," D'Aoust noted. "We have before and will again work with Mme Marois and her team to strengthen public education in the province, reduce the student drop-out rate and improve services to students with special needs. Our English school boards have a proud record on each of these priorities. At the same time, the Premier-elect will have a fight on her hands should her new government carry through with its Bill 101 proposal."
The nine-member Boards of QESBA serve some 10,000 adult-sector students, many of whom would lose their right to attend important vocational and general education programs if the PQ proposal is put into place. "Adults in these program are getting the second chance to add skills, often to complete high school and improve their French, and ultimately, to contribute more fully to Québec's economic future," D'Aoust added. "There are absolutely no winners if that door is shut. QESBA expects to add its voice to that of the Fédération des Cégeps du Québec, the Conseil du patronat and numerous student and community groups in opposing the application of Bill 101 to adult and vocational centres."
QESBA will also be calling on the Opposition parties in the newly constituted National Assembly to oppose any further extensions of Bill 101 provisions. The Association would instead urge the new government and the other parties to focus on restoring public education funding levels, supporting student success, confirming a date for the next school board elections and seeking social and linguistic peace. The PQ promised to do all of these things during the recent election campaign.
"The Parti québécois, as Mme Marois herself properly recognized has now been charged with the solemn task of forming a government for all Quebecers - those who voted for them, those who didn't and, surely, Quebec's children, whose educational welfare and success must depend on responsible and inclusive government action. So long as such action is evident, QESBA will be an engaged ally and productive partner," D'Aoust concluded.
QESBA is the voice of English public education in Quebec.
SOURCE: QUEBEC ENGLISH SCHOOL BOARDS ASSOCIATION
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