Letter to the editor 3, Sept. 29, 2016

Dear Editor,

On Wednesday, September 21, I witnessed democracy in action by the presentation of the Quebec English School Boards Association (QESBA) at the National Assembly concerning school board reform Bill 105.

Part of the democratic process involved the opposition parties questioning the QESBA's position.

In contrast, on September 26, I was again deprived of my democratic right to participate at the Public Question Periods of the Lester B. Pearson School Board Council meeting.

Ironically, earlier in the day, with another act of democracy, the Quebec government put online all the briefs (mémoires) it received regarding Bill 105. My paper included comments on school board intimidation, ethical and financial matters, which makes evident the need for the government to pass this law soon.

Flanked by representatives from the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) and the Quebec Federation of Home and School Associations (QFHSA), the QESBA, basically, rejected the bill, claiming certain sections of the Bill infringed on "minority community rights, to manage and control its educational institutions, as guaranteed in the Canadian constitution."

That is not the real reason. The real reason can be found in the "Explanatory Notes" before the actual bill.

Recall the key word of scrapped school board reform Bill 86 was "Parents" in all decision-making, whereas the key word in Bill 105 is "Principals" in decision-making regarding the allocation of school-board resources.

In our high-tech communication era, this transferring of decision-making power from boards to schools, from commissioners to parents and principals, is the right prescription to modernize and democratize our ailing public school system.

The government is on our side. The QCGN and the QFHSA are on the wrong side.

They should support Bill 105 because the bill protects the citizen, taxpayer, and parent from the irrelevant, self-serving QESBA.

Parents care about safe, clean schools with caring teachers and principals, whose job is boosting academic achievement. They don't worry too much about Article 23 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Finally, consider the Pearson board's unilingual 'Mémoire' signed by Chairperson Suanne Stein Day, who is also vice-president of the QESBA. It states on page 3: "Nous acceptons les commentaires de tous... et toute personne résidant dans le territoire." (We accept comments from all...).

Not true.

It's approaching three years since I was permitted to participate in Lester B. Pearson school-board democracy.

Chris Eustace

Pierrefonds

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