|PARENT COMMITTEES CALL FOR ESTABLISHMENT OF PERMANENT SCHOOL BOARD ELECTION VOTERS LIST|
MONTREAL, SEPTEMBER 14, 2004- The Central Parents Committees (CPC) of the English Montreal School Board (EMSB) and the Lester B. Pearson School Board (LBPSB) are calling upon the Quebec government to establish a permanent voters list for future school board elections.
On June 30 of any given year, upon completion of Secondary V by the youngest family member attending English school, parents are automatically transferred to the French voters’ list unless they have officially requested to be put on the English voters’ list. This has been the practice of the Quebec government since religious public school boards were reorganized around linguistic lines in 1998.
The CPC’s are now requesting that anyone whose last year of schooling was in the English school system be automatically placed on the English school board voters' list. Furthermore, they state that no voter should be removed from the English school board voters' list unless they request to do so. It is therefore being recommended that the electors’ list that was in place for the November 2003 school board elections be the basis for the establishment of a new permanent English list.
Anne Williams, chair of the EMSB CPC and Cindy Karnofsky her LBPSB counterpart, note that in the 2003 School Board elections, a substantial number of people who had voted in the English Sector in the previous election in 1998, were unexpectedly placed on the French voters’ list. That resulted in numerous households being divided between the French and English lists.
"Voting for the English School Boards in one school board election does not automatically guarantee being on the English voters’ list for the next school board election," said Ms. Williams.
In 2003, due to time constraints, not all voters who requested in writing to be added to the English voters’ list were given that option in time for the actual vote which occurred on November 16. "Not enough time was allowed to ensure that the English voters’ list could be completed and updated prior to the election," sites Ms. Williams.
The CPC’s of the EMSB and LBPSB are contacting their counterparts from the seven other English public boards in the province. They are also seeking the assistance of the Fédération des Comités de Parents du Québec (English Sector).
Resolutions to this effect have already been adopted by the EMSB and LBPSB.
Michael J. Cohen