Low turnout for school board elections could lead to abolition: Bolduc
Education Minister Yves Bolduc said Friday that Quebec school boards might be abolished if voters turn out in small numbers for elections on November 2.
Bolduc made the comments while attending the campaign launch for the school board elections alongside Josee Bouchard, president of the Federation of Quebec school boards (FCSQ).
Bouchard agreed that the threat would put extra pressure on its members but said that she's confident that enough people will turn out and vote to keep the democracy alive.
The school board elections will be the first in seven years.
"If the population thinks that the school boards are important and scholarly democracy is important, they should go to vote. This is the simple message that we want to give," said Bolduc.
In a bid to improve turnout the government has launched a social media campaign to encourage voters.
In 2007 just 7.9 percent of Quebecers bothered to cast ballots to choose the councillor in their local school board -- although the percentage among the Anglophone school boards was much higher, at 16.7 percent.
The seven-year mandate for commissioners was never supposed to be this long, but in 2011 then-Education Minister Michelle Courchesne deferred the elections until Nov. 2014.
There are some changes, notably this will be the first time that voters get to elect the Chair of the board directly.
The total number of commissioners among many boards will also be lower, with the Lester B. Pearson board having 12 seats, the English Montreal School Board having ten councillors, and the Sir Wilfrid Laurier Board having nine.
The mandate for all commissioners will be just three years, with the next elections scheduled to happen on the same day as municipal elections in 2017.
The catch for many would-be voters is that they are transferred to the French Board in their riding once they or their children graduate high school.
Those eligible to vote for an English board councillor have until Oct. 14 to fill out a form with their local school board and get registered.