A simple question by a candidate X to the LBPSB Director of Elections has led to an extremely acrimonious exchange between two LBPSB candidates. The exchange, emailed to all candidates, sees one candidate accusing the other of improprieties and the other countering in his own defense. Here is the text of the exchange as obtained by ACDSA. We have omitted the names in order to protect the identity of the parties.
Candidate X. Asks Director of Elections ” Thank you for this, but my question is: Are candidates allowed to be standing outside the building or in any lobby areas greeting electors as they come in..”
Candidate Y. Intervenes “Candidate X, You should be asking how many people you stock since last week, My dauther is not very confortable with you! !!”
Candidate X Responds “THis doesn’t deserve an answer…But Candidate Y, this is character defamation and my lawyer is currently looking into a lawsuit into this matter..but this is sick….and stooping this low………my time is too precious to be dealing with this nonsense…”
” (Director of Elections) , PLEASE PUT A STOP TO THIS NONSENSE… BEFORE THINGS GET OUT OF HAND !!”
Candidate Y Replies “Candidate X , You dont deserve to be a candidate stoking my dauther, !!! You think is nonsense and I am not sure how many other people you done again I am putting you notice you will come near anyone and I will call the police!!!@ Make sure you lawyer has what you admited going to her Facebook! !@ and with this I will not answer any other questions from you !!!”
The content is not only bothersome in terms of the exchange but it raises a very important question? Are we voting for an individual who’s language skills are rather rudimentary and who then is supposed to understand legal documents as they relate to the disbursement of two hundred and seventy million dollars of taxpayers money?
Surely, this is a ridiculous and unprofessional exchange but it also exposes the shortcomings of the school board election process and school boards themselves.
Education Minister, Bolduc, your job of “streamlining” school boards should be an easy one. Abolish them.
LBPSB did not breach election rules: Elections Quebec
By Robert Frank and Kevin Woodhouse, The Suburban
Dion added that Elections Quebec is mindful that school boards continue to operate during elections, and that the incumbents continue to administer them. Whether wrongdoing took place boils down to the answer to a single question. By Robert Frank and Kevin Woodhouse, The Suburban
Quebec’s election authority confirmed that, after verifying the news conference hastily convened last week at Lester B. School Board Headquarters (LBPSB) by outgoing chair Suanne Stein Day who is running for re-election, there had been no breach of Quebec election rules.
Stein Day sent a midnight invitation to selected reporters to attend a 9 a.m., Oct. 23, news conference at LBPSB headquarters. Stein Day asserted that the news event “non-partisan”. However,only Stein Day’s name and that of her supporter, incumbent commissioner and outgoing commissioner Craig Berger, appeared in the news release, which opposition candidates did not get to see prior to the news conference.
The news release described Stein Day only as LBPSB chairperson, while listing Berger — who has repeatedly spurned The Suburban’s interview requests since early this year — as a candidate for reelection.
When The Suburban arrived 20 minutes prior to the news conference, LBPSB staff were unaware that a news conference had been scheduled and had to hastily ensure the availability of the LBPSB board room, which had been booked for another meeting at that time. Stein Day employed LBPSB staff Alycia Ambrosiak and Jim Hendry to organize and monitor the unexpected meeting.
“The purpose of the news conference was to promote or protect the right to vote of anglophone electors and to encourage the participation of Anglophone electors at the school board elections, Elections Quebec Spokesman Denis Dion told The Suburban.”It was not to promote a particular candidacy. Therefore, they are not electoral expenses.”
The ruling seems to go against what other candidates have faced during the election because they had been ordered at the outset of the election not to campaign on LBPSB property. They said that they did not expect that they could breeze in to LBPSB headquarters and summarily demand that staff organize an impromptu news conference there.
Dion also stated that the Lester B. Pearson School Board (LBPSB) did not interfere with the electoral process Oct. 16, by paying a lawyer to force one of Stein Day’s opponents, candidate Chris Eustace, to take down a campaign video critical of Stein Day that had been making waves. LBPSB made the move three days after Berger had published a diatribe against the video on Facebook.
“The law says that ‘During an election, no person other than an authorized candidate may incur or authorize electoral expenses,’” Dion said in an interview. “The cost of any goods or services during an election period to promote…directly or indirectly the election of a candidate…is an election expense.”
Regarding the removal of the video, the spokesman for Elections Quebec said “it is possible that this video contained material belonging to the Lester B. Pearson School Board. And it is possible that this material was used without the school board’s authorization.
“But there’s no rule in the Act respecting school elections relating to this issue,” said Dion.
“Was it an administrative gesture or was it a political gesture? This is analyzed on a case-by-case basis,” Dion explained, “and we need to have enough information to be able to characterize the intervention”
The school board elections take place Sunday, Nov. 2.
Un stratagème de financement électoral illégal est dénoncé, par un ex donateur. Dans cet article de la CBC, on décrit comment dix personnes ont avancé 500$ pour l’équipe Action scolaire Laval. Ils ont ensuite été remboursés. Des compagnies fournissant des biens et services à la Commission scolaire de Laval ont été reliés à ce stratagème. Au moment où se sont produits les infractions à la Loi sur les élections scolaires, Action scolaire Laval était menée par Francine Charbonneau, l’actuel ministre de la Famille pour le gouvernement liberal.
One man tells Radio-Canada he wrote cheques to candidates in Laval school board elections and was later reimbursed. (Radio-Canada)
Allegations have emerged that school board elections in Laval in 2003 and 2007 were partially funded by a straw man scheme.
CBC’s French-language service Radio-Canada has found at least one man who said he issued cheques in exchange for cash.
“I was a straw man,” he said. CBC and Radio-Canada are withholding his name.
Under Quebec’s strict election financing rules, only individuals can make donations. But for years, there have been allegations that some companies encouraged employees to donate, and then paid them cash to cover the cheques.
The man said he wrote cheques to candidates from Action scolaire de Laval — cheques that were later reimbursed.
It’s illegal – but the man said that’s exactly what happened to him during school board elections in Laval 11 years ago.
He said he and an acquaintance wrote 10 cheques for $500. Then he got an envelope.
“I received an envelope that contained the total amount of the cheques of $5,000 — in cash,” he said.
He said that he and others also wrote cheques during the 2007 campaign.
Radio Canada’s investigation also found that most of the donors in 2007 were connected to companies that provided services to the Commission scolaire de Laval.
During both elections, Action scolaire de Laval was led by Francine Charbonneau, who is now Quebec’s minister of families.
Francine Charbonneau, currently minister of the family, used to lead Action scolaire de Laval and denies any wrongdoing. (Radio-Canada)
?Charbonneau denied she ever did anything wrong.
“I always followed the financing rules. Not only did I follow them, I always encouraged others on my team to do the same and I can say with honesty that I never participated in a so-called straw man scheme,” Charbonneau said.
Mr Berger claims the following on his Facebook site, while discussing a video posted by LBPSB chairman candidate Chris Eustace
“both video and audio, leads one to believe that Mr Luke Horne was thrown out of a Council meeting and this I can tell you has never happened.”
This is a screenshot of Mr. Berger’s posting
Now, watch the following video and ask yourself where was Mr. Berger or how could he make such an obvious false claim.
Let us hope Mr. Berger was more attentive when the one million dollar International School profits were allocated hopefully to their rightful recipients…………………..the schools and the classrooms of the LBPSB.
Taxpayers deserve better observation, reporting and respect from their School Board Commissioners.
Editors note: Mr. Berger has been asked on two occasions by Mr. Horne, the taxpayer, to take down or correct the false statements. up to the date of this posting he has failed to do so.
Two Lester B. Pearson School Board (LBPSB) chairman candidates filed a complaint to the Director General of Elections Quebec (DGEQ) last week, claiming the incumbent, Suanne Stein Day, is manipulating the school board race in her favour.
Stein Day held a prompt press conference last Wednesday morning at the LBPSB Dorval headquarter, urging the DGEQ to allow people to switch to the appropriate voter list on Nov. 2 – the day of the school board election.
Both Chris Eustace and Angela Nolet told the Chronicle the incumbent chairman shouldn’t be allowed to use the LBPSB headquarter to convey an urgent message to the DGEQ.
“This is not democratic in my view,” said Nolet, the current LBPSB vice-chairman.
“…Having it on school board property is partisan politics. We’re not allowed to step on the property go give a pamphlet to anybody. Why should she be able to give a press conference?”
Chris Eustace, a former Pierrefonds Comprehensive High School teacher running for chairman, too, denounced the move as “partisan.”
In a letter addressed to the DGEQ’s director, Lucie Fiset, Eustace writes “I am concerned that employees of the board helped organize this meeting, and in doing so, improperly supported a candidate.”
According to Stein Day, Nolet and Eustace were invited to the press conference, and had the same chance to voice their concerns regarding English voters list.
“I am still the chairman and spokesperson for the board, however our guidelines state that when using a board property, that all candidates are invited,” said the incumbent, who added the urgency of the matter didn’t allow for her to find an alternate location.
The invitations to the press conference were received the evening of Oct. 21, less than 24 hours before the 9 a.m. press conference in which Stein Day denounced the shortcomings of the English voter list. The Chronicle received a media invitation at 11:50 p.m.
It was held at 9 a.m., said Stein Day, because English Montreal School Board (EMSB) chairman candidate Anne Lagace Dowson was having a similar press conference at 10 a.m.
“There was absolutely no malice of thought. We are concerned about the democracy of the process,” she said.
While Eustace attended the conference, Nolet couldn’t attend on short notice.
Remi Poliquin, the LBPSB returning officer, confirmed to the Chronicle that school board property cannot be used for campaigning.
As chairman, Stein Day reserves the right to use her office until Nov. 2, but Poliquin couldn’t say whether she was allowed to hold a press conference on board property.
@ST:Problems with English voter list continue
@R:While Nolet and Eustace wait for a response from the DGEQ, all candidates agreed a problem with the voter transfer list process exists – and must be addressed before election day.
English-speaking residents have complained of being omitted on the English voter list in the last two weeks, despite filing the appropriate transfer forms.
“People will be denied the right to vote,” said Stein Day.
Eustace went a little further, claiming “we’re being treated like a third world country that we have to go through rigmarole to vote for school board commissioners.”
The vice-chairman, on the other hand, doesn’t anticipate a low turnout despite the omissions on the English voter list.
“I don’t anticipate a low turnout simply because the government has forewarned everyone there would be repercussions if participation wasn’t high,” she said.
Dans le projet de loi qu’il présentera cet automne, le ministre de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport, Yves Bolduc, accordera plus d’autonomie aux écoles, mais se donnera le pouvoir de mettre sous tutelle les écoles déficientes.
«Si tu arrives dans une école où c’est tout croche [il faut] que le ministre soit capable de dire: c’est fini, on reprend le contrôle le temps de replacer ça et après ça, on vous redonnera le pouvoir», a expliqué Yves Bolduc dans une entrevue accordée au Devoir.
Selon le ministre, qui juge que le système d’éducation au Québec est un des meilleurs au monde, il peut arriver que deux écoles dans un même milieu socio-économique aient des résultats bien différents. «Tu as deux écoles dans le même quartier à 500mètres. Tu en as une que ça peut être bon et tu en as une très mauvais. Ça dépend de la direction, ça dépend des professeurs, ça dépend de la culture, a décrit le ministre. S’il y a un endroit qui est déficient […],il faut avoir un pouvoir d’intervention.»
Yves Bolduc promet que le projet de loi qu’il déposera en novembre, tout de suite après les élections scolaires, ira dans le sens d’une plus grande décentralisation. «Je suis décentralisateur», a-t-il dit. Le système fonctionne mieux quand les «gens qui sont sur le terrain» ont plus de pouvoir et que des mécanismes de reddition de comptes sont mis en place. «C’est comme en santé, c’est la même philosophie», a-t-il avancé.
L’abolition des bureaux régionaux du ministère doit conduire à une décentralisation en faveur des commissions scolaires. Le ministre est prêt à aller plus loin dans la mesure où les commissions scolaires «se décentralisent vers l’école». Et les directions d’école devront, à leur tour, accorder plus d’autonomie aux enseignants. «Les professeurs au Québec, c’est une de nos grandes forces», a-t-il dit.
Le ministre a d’ailleurs demandé aux directeurs d’écoles et aux syndicats d’enseignants de lui faire part de leurs demandes précises quant à l’autonomie qui pourrait être exercée.
Après les élections scolaires, le ministre doit également décider quel sort il réserve à la démocratie scolaire. S’il abolit la structure faite de commissaires élus, il doit la remplacer par autre chose ; tous les scénarios sont envisagés, y compris de recourir aux comités de parents dans les écoles.
Chose certaine, a assuré le ministre, quelle que soit la nature de cette décision, certaines commissions scolaires devront fusionner ou encore partager entre elles certains services, comme la paie et l’informatique. C’était là une des recommandations du groupe d’experts, présidé par Pauline Champoux-Lesage, qui a remis son rapport sur les commissions scolaires en mai 2014.
Les changements apportés dans le projet de loi prendront effet le 30 juin 2015, à la fin de l’année scolaire. Mais ils n’auront pas l’ampleur de la réforme en santé. «Je suis capable d’atteindre des résultats de façon progressive», a certifié Yves Bolduc.
Examen de français
Par ailleurs, le ministre a indiqué qu’il entendait dispenser certains étudiants de l’obligation de réussir l’épreuve uniforme de français pour l’obtention de leur diplôme d’études collégiales, une recommandation de l’auteur du rapport sur la formation collégiale, Guy Demers. Environ 15 % des étudiants du cégep échouent à l’examen de français : les deux tiers d’entre eux parviennent à le passer par la suite. Environ 1000 étudiants par an n’y arrivent pas, selon Guy Demers. «Il y a peut-être un 5% [pour lequel] je devrais avoir une règle particulière», a indiqué Yves Bolduc. «Il y a le côté humain», a-t-il dit, qui a cité l’exemple d’un boucher dyslexique. Et c’est sans compter les personnes qui ne s’inscrivent pas au cégep dans une formation technique en raison de leurs piètres résultats en français. «Je les perds», a déploré le minister.
Le porte-parole en matière d’éducation de la Coalition avenir Québec, Jean-François Roberge, dénonce ce «nivellement par le bas». Le député de Chambly croit que des cours d’appoint pourraient permettre aux étudiants qui éprouvent des difficultés de réussir l’examen. «Si le ministre lui-même démissionne, comme vont-ils persévérer?», s’est-il demandé, jeudi, à l’Assemblée nationale.
En ce qui a trait aux compressions exigées des universités, Yves Bolduc croit qu’elles devraient pouvoir les absorber sans trop de difficultés puisqu’il s’agit de sommes destinées au «développement». Aux 172 millions imposés au printemps s’ajoutent quelque 50 millions. Les recteurs comprennent la situation du gouvernement, croit le ministre. «Je leur dis: “C’est normal que vous sortiez dans les médias parce que si vous ne sortez pas, à un moment donné, c’est peut-être votre job qui va être en jeu. Mais ils ne sortent pas de façon agressive avec moi et on a une bonne collaboration”», a-t-il relaté. Surtout, il explique aux recteurs que l’effort est exigé pour l’année en cours et l’an prochain. «Après ça, on va repartir», leur a-t-il promis.
Over the past year, I have had numerous people suggest I run for commissioner of our local school board. I was flattered and at times even mildly tempted. However, each time I seriously considered throwing my hat into the ring, I was confronted with a plethora of reasons why I shouldn’t. Here are three.
As chairperson of the governing board at my children’s schools, I became acquainted with the commissioner for our ward. At one time he was an awesome teacher, a very capable administrator, but eventually he became a frustrated schoolboard commissioner. Even though he is very intelligent, competent and affable, most of his efforts to affect significant and enduring change at the board level were stymied by myopic bureaucratic thinking or antiquated policies. His experience as commissioner convinced me that I could do much more for students and for education in general outside of the board’s framework. I know a few other commissioners. One of them is my old high school principal! Individually, they are beautiful, hard-working and well-meaning people. However when they are all seated around a boardroom table, many of the placid and courteous commissioners suddenly throw away all vestiges of civility. Some commissioners are notorious for their rowdy ramblings as the meetings deteriorate into acrimonious debates. Not convinced? You can watch hours of recorded board meetings online.
The second reason I will not be running for school-board commissioner is that I believe institutions that are divided along linguistic lines are at odds with the current reality of our student population. I have questioned would-be candidates about their motives for running. The vast majority of the people I chatted with stated that people should elect them, “to protect anglo rights.” (If this is truly a function of a school board, where have they been for the past 50 years and how do they rate their effectiveness?) Undoubtedly we need to protect the rights of individuals and groups of individuals or else we will see their rights erode to nothing.
However, the current reality, at least in the Montreal area, is that young people communicate using vocabulary that best reflects what they want to say in the language that is most convenient at the time. Ride the métro just as schools are letting out and listen to the conversations.
In speaking with many students from a variety of linguistic groups, I discovered that quality education, safety, future jobs, the environment and technology were their preoccupations. The language in which these values should be addressed in schools did not show up on their radars.
Finally, the closer I came to the orbit of the school-board elections, the more I felt the gravitational pull to join a party; not a real party with cake and balloons, but a politically polarizing party that would require its members to vote uniformly regardless of the needs or desires of the schools the commissioner represents. Gone are the days when a commissioner attends meeting with parent committees, listens to the concerns and then goes to the board to fight on their behalf.
Not convinced? Ask your candidate whether she or he would consider running as an independent.
I will vote on Nov. 2. I hope that I am wrong and that the newly elected commissioners will represent the real concerns of students and that they will work together to make our schools safe, modern places for all of our youth. But I am not holding my breath.
James Watts (Principal, Education Plus High School), St-Laurent
School board election campaign heats up at EMSB By Marian Scott, Montreal Gazette
The Nov. 2 school board election got down and dirty Monday, with outgoing English Montreal School Board chairperson Angela Mancini attacking a commissioner for a “blatant record of misconduct”, while opponent Anne Lagacé Dowson retorted by accusing Mancini of playing “sandbox politics”.
The salvos were the latest controversy in a board plagued by deep divisions between elected commissioners who typically align themselves in different camps.
Mancini issued a press release attacking Dowson for associating herself with commissioner Julien Feldman, a seven-year board veteran who is running in downtown Ward 3, which includes Point St. Charles, St-Henri, Ville Émard and Westmount.
Dowson, a broadcaster and former NDP candidate who is vying for the chairperson’s job, fired back with a statement accusing Mancini of launching “personal attacks on her opponents rather than defending her record of governance, which is a dismal failure.”
Mancini contended that Feldman, who has pushed for greater transparency and an end to closed-door meetings at the EMSB, has discredited himself by repeatedly violating the board’s code of ethics.
In June, Feldman was suspended for a month by the board’s ethics commissioner for inviting a CBC-TV camera crew to EMSB headquarters in December 2012 after the board sold its art collection, to film a room where paintings by prominent artists like Group of Seven member A.Y. Jackson had formerly been displayed, and for making public a list of the artworks that were sold. Feldman obtained the list of paintings under access to information.
He was also suspended for a week for sending what the board’s director-general Robert Stocker had called an “inappropriate, immoral and intimidating email” in September 2013 to EMSB communications officer Mike Cohen. In the email, Feldman complained that Cohen had left commissioner Rocco Barbieri out of a group photo of a prize-giving ceremony that was published in a board newsletter. Barbieri, who is not running for re-election, was part of a group allied with Feldman.
The rulings said Feldman breached ethical rules by tarnishing “the reputation of other EMSB’s (sic) commissioners” and making statements that harmed “the reputation of the director general.”
In an earlier ruling, Feldman was reprimanded for calling fellow commissioners “dinosaurs” and “secrecy-obsessed characters”.
Dowson said the accusations against Feldman were “bogus ethics complaints (…) made mainly by members of (Mancini’s) group and allies.”
“None of the complaints (against Feldman) actually deal with ethics in a substantive way, in particular, conflicts of interest, nepotism or abuse of power by a member of the school board, all of which have been problems on the board in recent years,” she said in the statement.
Last week, an envelope containing the four ethics rulings against Feldman was left anonymously at The Gazette. A cover letter signed by “A concerned citizen and supporter of public education” suggested that they “need to be made public prior to the November 2nd elections.”
Mancini said she knew nothing about the anonymous package. “It wasn’t us.”
Feldman said in an interview he has been the target of constant attacks by rival commissioners since defeating long-time commissioner George Vogas in 2007 by just six votes. Vogas, who died in 2009, contested Feldman’s victory in court but dropped the suit in 2008.
“They’ve accused me of everything but the kitchen sink,” said Feldman, adding that the purpose of the complaints “was basically to intimidate me.”
The ethics commissioner in the two most recent cases noted that Feldman did not show up at the hearing to defend himself.
Feldman said he did not appear because the EMSB had previously refused to cover his court costs and his lawyer had advised him not to appear without legal counsel.
However, Mancini denied this, saying the board has covered Feldman’s legal costs and that ethics complaints against him have cost the board thousands of dollars.
But Feldman said in 2008, he went to court to force the EMSB to cover his legal costs after the board refused to do so. In 2012, the Quebec Court of Appeal ruled in his favour and ordered the board to pay, he said. In 2013, the board finally paid Feldman’s legal fees that were owing, he said.
Feldman has appealed the most recent ethics commissioner’s decision against him in Quebec Superior Court.
Ten commissioner positions are up for grabs in the EMSB election. Advance polls will be held Oct. 26.