By Joel Ceausu, The Suburban

Côte Saint Luc council strongly opposes the Quebec government’s Bill 86, which abolishes school board elections and commissioners-at-large in favour of governance by parent and school representatives.

While the proposed law affects all school boards, it is particularly offensive to the anglophone community, says councillor Mitch Brownstein.

“English language school boards are the only level of government that the English speaking community has an absolute right to control and manage. English language education is a minority right that is protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and is one of the few ways in which the English community can express its voice and ensure its vibrant future in Quebec.”

A resolution passed unanimously at Monday night’s council meeting says the law “tramples the democratic right and freedom of all members of Quebec’s English speaking community to elect its own representatives to control, manage and govern its school boards,” and “flies in the face of the constitutional protections that are designed to protect Quebec’s English speaking minority.”

It also suggests the vote on the legislation will be skewed by a French speaking majority making fundamental decisions related to constitutionally protected English school boards against the will of elected commissioners. The resolution asks D’Arcy McGee MNA David Birnbaum – a former executive-director of the Quebec English School Boards Association, to vote against his own party’s bill.

“The reforms completely lock out anyone who is not a parent of children in the school system or employee of the school system from being part of the process,” said Brownstein. “Why are grandparents or future parents and every other community member who has a vested stake in our schools left out? It is the antithesis of democracy…Our council will not stand idly by and allow this injustice to occur and encourages other municipalities and the community at large to speak up and be heard.”

To view the entire resolution, visit www.cotesaintluc.org