Letter to the editor 3, Oct. 1, 2020
QESBA is not a ‘menace’
Full transparency, I am presently the acclaimed commissioner in Ward 11 so this reply has nothing to do with the local election, but now that Mr. Chris Eustace is a confirmed candidate for the Chair of the Lester B. Pearson School Board, I feel that his September 24 letter to The Journal concerning QESBA, the Quebec English School Boards Association, deserves a reply.
His first paragraph mentioned that the mandate of the commissioners had been extended for two years from 2014-2020. What he failed to mention was that had it not been extended he would not have been eligible to run for chair as he had received a four-year ban from Elections Quebec for his previous run for chair. The exact details you would have to ask him and I hope you will.
He also stated correctly that presently Bill 40 is on hold. What he failed to mention again was that he was a ‘Friend of the Court’ and presented briefs along with the CAQ government to eliminate the whole concept of school boards in Quebec and replace them with service centres. While that is his opinion it strikes me as more than hypocritical that right after losing the injunction in court he decided to make a complete about-face and run for the chair of the very institution he tried so hard to eliminate the previous months.
He also states that both Bill 86 and Bill 40 were designed to give greater powers to parents, teachers and administrators. Again, while that is his opinion, I speak to the parents of the Governing Boards of seven of our schools, the very people who were supposed to run for the new Board pf Directors, and none of them either supported Bill 40 or believed that it would give them more control over their children's education. I still am a teacher in the EMSB and none of my colleagues nor the many teachers I speak to in both the EMSB and the LBPSB believe in or desire this change. I still haven't met one administrator who thinks it's a good idea. Mr. Eustace claims to speak for these people but so far I haven't met any.
As for QESBA being a menace, if it wasn't for its timely intervention in the case we would now be living with the results of a change which would not have given anyone but the Minister of Education greater control of the education of our students. The CAQ has always been about the centralization of power in its hands and always will be.
Commissioner Ward 11