'There is no emergency': Unions, school boards, parents blast government's plan to ram through Bill 40
MONTREAL -- Quebec unions, school boards and parents are lining up to blast the Legault government's decision to invoke closure to speed through passage of Bill 40, its controversial legislation that will overhaul the province's school board system.
Hundreds of workers represented by the CSN protested the government's move to ram through the bill, which, among other things, will eliminate traditional school boards and replace them with service centres, staffed almost exclusively with appointed people (except for a few posts in the English school centres that will continue to be elected.)
"Just before resorting to closure, the government itself tabled 82 amendments," said Veronique De Sève, vice-president of the CSN. "These changes to the bill will never be considered by parliamentarians. The government should have learned that there is nothing to be gained by rushing. There is no emergency.
"The risk is now very high of ending up with a poorly crafted bill. We fear that it is the employees, the students and their families who will pay the price."
Calling the move "autocratic and anti-democratic," the Federation des commissions scolaires du Quebec, which represents most of the French school boards in Quebec, said it will challenge Bill 40 before the courts once it is passed.
In a statement Thursday, the parents committee of the Commission scolaire de Montreal, the province's largest school board, said that the government's decision to invoke closure to rush through passage of the bill means that "education, this founding value of modern Quebec, is swept away without further ado."
"(Education) Minister (Jean-Francois) Roberge has never demonstrated that his Bill 40 is a gesture of love for Quebec schools, its stakeholders or its children," the statement added.
This will be the fourth time in less than a year and a half in power that the Legault government has used closure to pass legislation, a move opposition parties say is unnecessary and arrogant.
The CAQ government is expected to beging the closure process on Friday morning in the National Assembly.