Quebec Solidaire calls for end of private school subsidies
Quebec Solidaire MNA Amir Khadir and candidate Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois called for an end to private school subsidies. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot)
Published Wednesday, April 12, 2017 9:02PM EDT
Quebec Solidaire wants to eliminate subsidies for private schools in Quebec, but that proposal had people mocking the party.
In a private member's bill tabled Wednesday, the party called for "an end to a two-tiered educational system" in Quebec.
The motion called on the province to "ensure that state funding fosters equity in the distribution of resources, equal opportunities for students, and the quality of the public education system."
However Quebec Solidaire's newest candidate, well-known student leader Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois running in the Gouin by-election, attended a renowned private high school, College Regina Assumpta, whose alumni includes astronaut Julie Payette, dancer Louise Lecavalier, and Supreme Court Justice Louise Arbour.
. Nadeau-Dubois was in the National Assembly for the presentation of the motion, and when journalists asked Nadeau-Dubois about his high school experience, he answered that if he had had the choice, he would have gone to public school instead. .
"I was 12 years old then. I had not been exposed to political life, I didn't have all the information needed to make that choice at age 12," said Nadeau-Dubois.
Amir Khadir defended his young colleague.
"If he had a real choice, he's saying that he would have preferred to go to public school, and that's what he's proposing for all Quebecers," said Khadir.
About 11 to 13 percent of Quebec students are in private schools, the highest rate among any province in the country.
Part of that is because the provincial government subsidizes private schools, spending $500 million each year on private education.
Education Minister Sebastien Proulx said this shouldn't be seen as taking money away from public schools.
"If we had to move these students, it would cost us much more, more than one billion dollars," said Proulx.
CAQ critic Jean-Francois Roberge said the motion was pointless, creating unnecessary division.
"We're trying to demonize something that we should be proud of," said Roberge.