The English Montreal School Board was furious about its exclusion from national assembly hearings on Bill 86, legislation that, if passed, will profoundly change the structure of school boards in Quebec.      

But Friday afternoon the government changed its mind – the EMSB will be invited to the table.

“It's the first step, an acceptance of, to me, a minimum of what should have been done by the Couillard government and the next step has to be, will the message be listened to? Do we have a closed audience in terms of the messages that will be passed or has a decision already been made which way they want to go? That will be the important next step,” said EMSB chair Angela Mancini.

The hearings are slated to begin on Jan. 28 and would include more than 50 groups. 

The legislation itself would bring in major changes in how school boards are governed in Quebec; it would eliminate school board commissioners and school board elections, and put more power into the hands of parents, school employees and community leaders.

The EMSB is questioning the constitutionality of this legislation because they're arguing there are guaranteed rights for minority groups in Quebec to control education. 

On Thursday, PQ Leader Pierre Karl Peladeau came out in defence of Anglophones, saying he was “flabbergasted” the EMSB hadn't been included in the decision-making process.