Quebec’s education minister doesn’t want to answer for Quebec schools

Quebec’s education minister doesn’t want to answer for Quebec schools

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It is time to change the culture of school service centers in order to make them more accountable, Quebec Education Minister Bernard Drainville said Tuesday as he presented new legislation on school governance.

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Drainville made the remark as he faced a flurry of questions from opposition MNAs during the study of budget credits for his ministry.

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Apparently exasperated by pointed questions from Quebec Liberal education critic Marwah Rizqy on the issue of school fees charged to parents, Drainville called upon school service center directors to “speak up.”

Rizqy had cited the example of a parent who was surprised to be charged more than $1,000 a year for school transportation and access to food services. She described the charges as “fee shock” for families already dealing with galloping inflation.

Drainville replied that parents were dissatisfied with what they had been billed for could address their school service center and seek a revision of the fee structure. He said that one should assign responsibility to the proper decision maker.

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“It’s as if as soon as there’s a problem somewhere in a school … in Quebec, it always has to be the minister who ultimately has to answer for everything, all the time, for everything that’s happening. We’re going to have to change that culture,” he said.

Parti Québécois MNA Pascal Bérubé reminded the committee that the province’s school service centers were “a creation of the CAQ.”

In February 2020, the Legault government invoked closure to pass Bill 40, which replaced existing French-language school boards with service centers.

Since then, Bérubé noted, Drainville is “very critical of his own creation.”

The PQ MNA added: “What did we gain?”