Quebec to appeal court ruling on Bill 40 that declared overhaul of school board system was unconstitutional
The Quebec government will appeal a recent court ruling that declared parts of a law that overhauled the province's school board system were unconstitutional.
"I think we need to appeal," Premier François Legault said at a news conference in Jonquière following a pre-session caucus meeting on Friday.
He confirmed that the government does not want to let the English-speaking community keep the current school board system, which was allowed when Bill 40 was challenged in court three years ago. The controversial bill aimed to replace school boards with school service centres, which are operated in the French school system.
Last month, a Superior Court judge ruled that parts of the bill infringed the rights of the English-speaking community to manage its own school system.
When asked why the province is appealing the decision, Legault said, "We will explain to you very soon why we need to appeal."
"I think even on the English side, not many people vote, so the percentage of participation is very low … It's important that you make sure the best practices are put in place everywhere — the French and English sides," he said.
On Friday, the Quebec English School Boards Association (QESBA), one of the groups that launched the legal challenge, said it was "extremely disappointed" by the government's decision to appeal the judgment.
"This was a strong judgement for our community and we are very disappointed that this government has decided to pursue an appeal of the entire judgement. This decision means that the onus continues to be on us to defend our Charter rights. Although this is a heavy burden, we are prepared to continue the fight to ensure that our rights are maintained for our community and the students we serve," said QESBA President Dan Lamoureux in a news release.
The association applauded the ruling for upholding "the fundamental importance of minority language rights" and had urged the province not to launch an appeal.
In his 125-page ruling, Justice Sylvain Lussier said parts of Quebec's Bill 40 were not justified and went too far by abolishing English school boards.