CAQ’s double standard imperils school board elections

OPINION:

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Photo: Central Québec School Board

On Nov. 19, Premier François Legault, accompanied by the minister of health, the minister of education and the province’s director of public health, announced that there might be a way for families and friends to celebrate Christmas.

Gatherings of 10 people or fewer would be allowed, on the condition that there is no sudden surge in the number of COVID-19 cases before Dec. 24. In fact, the premier called on all of us to agree to a “moral contract’’ whereby we would go into a sort of voluntary confinement until Dec. 24, which would then allow us to have four days of somewhat restricted but acceptable celebrations.

What a grand idea! However, the present School Board Elections Act requires that both the open school commissioner seat in Ward 3 and the position of chair be the object of a byelection within a defined number of days. The Central Québec School Board (CQSB) will soon confirm that this byelection will be held on Jan. 10, 2021. This means that candidates will need to submit their candidacy papers by Dec. 6.

You probably also know that the government has decreed that the elections previously scheduled for Nov. 1 be held on Dec. 19 and 20. CQSB is not affected by that section of the decree, but still, isn’t it odd that the premier considers that, for the sake of la nation québécoise, it is essential that people refrain from contacting family and friends until Dec. 24, but anglophones can and must hold their elections while under red alert restrictions?

This makes no sense. Does this government have any respect for the English-speaking community? In any case, we need to “go higher when they go lower.” I have therefore decided to run one more time for the position of chair of the Central Québec School Board. I would be very appreciative if those who trust that I will scrupulously follow health protocols in order to ensure their safety and mine contact me so that we may agree on a time to visit you and obtain your precious signatures.

Anyone 18 years of age and over without a child in the French-language school system can sign as a potential elector. I need to collect at least 50 signatures by Dec. 6.

I do not take this issue lightly, so on Nov. 19, the very night on which the premier mentioned the “moral contract,” I wrote to the minister of education.

Again, as I had done on Sept. 22, I requested that he reconsider a deferment to a time when the level of COVID-19 alert would be acceptable. I still have some hope that this government will show us some respect. I await your feedback at this email address: [email protected].

Thank you and stay safe!