English-speaking Quebecers don't want CAQ government to abolish school boards: poll


A new poll suggests many English-speaking Quebecers think their school boards are important to them and don't want them to disappear.

This comes as the Legault government is getting ready to abolish boards and school board elections or possibly tweak the English language system.

The Léger Marketing poll commissioned by English language community groups and school boards suggests 82% of English speaking Quebecers say schoolboards are important to them and nearly as many (77%) don't support the plan to abolish them. 

Overall, 55% of respondents including French speakers also disagree with the plan and just as many (59%) want the population at large to elect the boards.

"We went out and asked the questions we thought people were getting wrong," said Geoffrey Chambers, president of the Quebec Community Groups Network, one of the groups that commissioned the poll.

"We keep hearing that, 'Oh well, notwithstanding what we hear, the English school boards don't really have that kind of support.' Well, it's the low 80s."

Chambers said the numbers are not surprising but they can provide a counterargument for any viewpoints suggesting people don't care.

"So we think we already know because we're pretty connected to the community but we wanted to measure it in a way that's hard to deny. It's not anecdotal," said Chambers in an interview with CJAD 800.

The poll also suggests 84% of English-speaking Quebecers believe that getting rid of English-language school boards will put minority language rights at risk.

Chambers said the English-speaking community has constitutional rights that need to be honoured and if the Quebec government wants to go to court over that,

"You want to have a fight on this?" said Chambers.

"We've seen litigations in this kind of thing go all the way up to the Supreme Court quite frequently - we'll have to do that if we have to do it."