Quebec Liberal Party leader ends tour around the Townships’ education sector

By Michael Boriero - Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Quebec Liberal Party leader Dominique Anglade concluded a short tour through the Eastern Townships Friday after meeting with representatives from Bishop’s University, Université de Sherbrooke, the Eastern Townships School Board and Townshippers’ Association.
“The conversations were long,” she told The Record in a phone interview. “We had really good, quality time together to really understand what is at stake right now.”
Anglade noted that there are a number of people within the English community that feel they are not being well-served by the provincial government right now. She added that from the conversations she had with educators there is a need to improve accessibility.
“The takeaway is you can decide to throw money at the problem but the issue is more systematic than that,” Anglade said adding that the English secretariat is not being taken seriously by the government right now.
There needs to be a deeper conversation about the influence of the secretariat, she continued, the whole idea was for this to be implemented and to see the results across all of the ministries, but the results aren’t there.
She also discussed the current state of Bill 40, the Coalition Avenir Québec government’s law that replaces school boards with service centres. During her meetings, people expressed their disappointment with the bill. They feel like their voices are being stifled, she said.
The timing of the law is also awful, Anglade added. She believes the CAQ will blame the COVID-19 pandemic, but at the end of the day, she said, they forced the bill through parliament because they’re stubborn.
“You have institutions that can play a key role in fixing those issues around the education of our children, of our English speaking children,” she said. “But instead of involving the institutions and giving them the means in order to fix the problems, we’re basically eliminating them.”
Last week, the Liberal party asked Premier François Legault about the emergency protocols in place at schools in case of a Covid outbreak. According to Anglade, Legault didn’t offer anything concrete. It felt improvised, she said, including their decision to axe school sports.
She said the government should be meeting with people, schools, health care works, and parents to fix the problems and prepare for what could be a tumultuous next few months. It comes down to consistency, she concluded.
“As far as the English community, specifically Townshippers, I think we need to see a real interest in making things happen; not just saying that you have a secratariat,” said Anglade.

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