The Quebec English School Boards Association (QESBA), as a general rule, does not comment on the particular situations of our member boards. However, the trusteeship, by the Government of Québec of the English Montreal School Board (EMSB), the largest English school board in Québec, is an exceptional event.
Firstly, the process leading to this decision of the Québec Cabinet has been less than transparent. The Education Department report on the EMSB has never been made public. Neither the EMSB nor the QESBA has seen the full report. A version of the preliminary Treasury Board Report on their audit of the EMSB was leaked to the media by unnamed sources, without including the comments of the EMSB. The EMSB has since reviewed and refuted some of the Treasury Board findings. Further leaks of the unreleased Education Department Report appeared in the media again on November 4th, the day the Parliamentary hearings on Bill 40 began.
All of this leads us to the conclusion that this process has not been as fair and independent as one would expect of government procedures.
Regarding the trusteeship itself, the QESBA notes that the mandate of the trustee is time limited and that control over EMSB initiated court cases remains with the elected Council of Commissioners. The choice of a trustee who is actively engaged in the English-speaking community was, under the circumstances, necessary.
The QESBA will continue to work with all of our member boards, including the EMSB, to ensure that our network provides the best possible education to our students and to represent the positions of our members to the Government of Québec.