The Quebec government appears poised to bring down legislation to extend the present mandates of
public school boards in the province and merge their elections with those of municipalities in 2013.
Why is the twinning of school board and municipal elections such a bad idea? My colleague Marcus Tabachnick of the Lester B. Pearson School Board shared with me some excellent points.
First of all, the board-by-board territories do not match the municipal boundaries. In addition, the ward, or riding, boundaries do not match. It is possible that people will have to go to two different polling locations to cast both sets of votes.
There is no proof that twinning actually increases election turnout results. Newfoundland has just untwinned their municipal and school board elections. Voters in our territory will just be confused. And what about available poster space?
There are more acclamations in municipal elections than in school board elections. Take my case for instance. In Côte Saint-Luc, Mayor Anthony Housefather was acclaimed as was I. Therefore, nobody in District 2 had to go vote. How would this help the two school board candidates?City Mayor, Borough Mayor, City Councillor(s), Borough Councillor(s), School Board Chairman, Commissioner, and who knows who else ? Some people could have to fill out as many as six or seven ballots!
The electoral lists do not match and for the school boards there has to be separate English and French lists.
Quebec’s Minister of Education should focus on better promoting school board elections and providing voters with more incentives to cast their ballots.
I did raise the matter with D’Arcy McGee MNA Lawrence Bergman. He is the chairman of the government caucus. The Quebec English School Boards Association did a follow up meeting. Will Lawrence see the light on this one? I hope so. In the meantime I would like to hear what folks like Alan DeSousa, Michael Applebaum and Marvin Rotrand think. And how about Richard Bergeron's Projet Montréal?