Letter to the editor 1, Sept. 3, 2015

Dear Editor,

Communication and public debate are the hallmarks of a participatory and healthy democracy.

While it is common knowledge the Lester B. Pearson School Board (LBPSB) does not appreciate that thought, it is sad to learn, from recent experience, the Central Parents' Committee (CPC) is now, seemingly, following the modus operandi of the Pearson Board.

Let's analyze with a tale of two Montreal Island CPCs, keeping in mind the concept of 'Best Practices.' This is a very broad explanation of things.

Last April, the majority Liberal Quebec government rightly decided to scrap school board elections, which would automatically overhaul the entire school system, to the benefit of all.

The Quebec English School Boards Association (QESBA), which greatly contributed to the wrecking of the English school system, claimed that this would be an assault on the minority language education rights. Nonsense.

It threatened to go to the Supreme Court, backed out, and then decided - on their own - to come up with an 'elections panel,' in the hope of changing the government's mind, all at taxpayers' expense.

In June, the CPC of the English Montreal School Board decided to consult with all parents of the board to see what direction it should take on general matters. They received about 900 responses.

The EMSB-CPC is a member of the Federation of Parents' Committees of Quebec. Last week it was reported in La Presse, the EMSB - CPC agreed with the government to abolish elections.

Also, last week the CPC announced at the webcast board meeting, it was creating its own website, separate from the EMSB. They also said they communicated throughout the summer.

Meanwhile, back at the LBPSB, it was evident that the board was the base of the 'elections panel,' as a Pearson commissioner was listed as the contact person.

About two weeks ago, I Iearned the LBPSB - CPC submitted a brief disagreeing with the government's idea to modernize and democratize the school system.

This submission was done without any consultation. There were no meetings. In fact, for several weeks the CPC did not have, and still does not have, an email address. Their site lists two email addresses, which don't work. There is no mention of a change of day regarding the first CPC meeting of the year.

Whether the LBPSB, with its bullying tactics, likes it or not, I hope the CPC comes around, in this "transition year," and works together with the government, to build a brighter future for Quebec's education system.

Chris Eustace


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