School board chair criticizes Bills 40 and 23 at Commissioners’ meeting

School board chair criticizes Bills 40 and 23 at Commissioners’ meeting

Council approves construction projects and swears in newest commissioner


By Jack Wilson

Local Journalism Initiative


The Eastern Townships School Board’s (ETSB) Council of Commissioners met May 24, discussing legal battles against the provincial government and approving a list of construction projects. The council swore in a new commissioner, Richard Gosselin, and praised a number of school initiatives.

ETSB chair Michael Murray told council he expects a decision soon on the Quebec English School Board Association’s (QESBA) challenge of Bill 40, which sought to dissolve school boards. Though a court injunction temporarily preserved English-language school boards, their ultimate survival remains in limbo two years after court proceedings concluded in 2021.

Now, the judge “has indicated that he intends to render judgement on our challenge to Bill 40 before the end of June,” Murray said, adding that an appeal from the QESBA or the province is likely.

In response to Bill 23, the latest proposed education shakeup, Murray said the QESBA told the province it “would see no option except to contest the bill should it be adopted in present form.” The bill would give Quebec more control over school boards, including the ability to hire and fire directors general, which Murray and the QESBA charge is a violation of English school boards’ right to self-govern.  “The supreme court has defined appointing a director general as one of the most fundamental rights of a minority education system,” he said.

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