This article focuses on PQ Education Minister, Camille Laurin’s proposal to weaken the mandate of locally elected school boards and transfer important decision making powers to the Quebec Minister of Education. It was published in The Gazette, Montreal, September 14, 1983 under the headline: “New education bill will spin fine web of authority” and again in the News and Chronicle, Montreal, Wednesday November 16, 1983 under the headline: Bill 40 will not develop new form of democracy.
Camille Laurin, Quebec’s education Minister, may claim to be developing a new form of democracy, but his most recent blueprint still displays a determination to create a web of authority that reaches into every corner of the province.
If Bill 40 is enacted into law it will create a new and important vehicle for a political party whose primary aim is the wholesale reconstruction of Quebec society. A new system will be developed through which all substantive elements of Quebec education can be controlled and monitored by the minister.
Laurin’s original intention to eliminate locally elected school boards was not well received by the Quebec public. As a consequence, Bill 40 has introduced some new elements in an effort to make the Minister’s original plans more palatable.
Instead of entirely abolishing locally elected school boards, the bill would simply remove their authorship to develop educational policy. A cursory examination of the responsibilities and powers being allotted to the “new boards” indicates an abrupt end to any role they have been able to play in the more formative aspects of public education.