Everything you couldn’t care less about school board elections

If you’ve been wondering what those election-style signs are doing up around town, you’ve missed the fact that there’s a school board election going on. Four boards on the Island of Montreal (two English, two French) are electing 54 of 86 commissioners on Nov. 4 to vote on important school board matters, not that I have any idea what important school board matters are.

Media coverage lacking

The Gazette’s Don Macpherson complains in a column that voters aren’t getting enough information about the candidates and issues. He places the blame for this problem on the school boards:

The school boards themselves might do more to inform voters. For example, the Pearson board provides candidates with space on its website. But most others give voters only a list of the candidates’ names.

Nowhere in his piece does he mention the fact that it’s the media’s job to inform us of the issues related to election campaigns, a job they are failing miserably to do in this case. (UPDATE: To his credit, his opinion on the weekend of the election points out that major newspapers abdicated their responsibility for coverage of candidates to the community weeklies.)

The media talk the talk about how important school board elections are, but why aren’t they giving us platforms? Profiles of the candidates? Examinations of the issues?

Instead, we get stories about how hard it is to convince people to vote for school board elections, and others that gloss over confusions over what boards voters are registered to vote for. The articles giving us lists of candidates, when they appear, tell us only who the incumbents are and what wards they’re running for.

Last Friday, a letter to the editor pointed out that the media has a job to do too, profiling the candidates and talking about the issues.

The Transcontinental-owned community weeklies, including the West Island Chronicle, are being surprisingly effective at covering the individual candidates. Links to those articles are in the “candidates” section below. But even then the profiles are lacking. No questions about the role of religion in school. No questions about funding priorities. I don’t care what age they are, or how many kids they have in school, or why they decided to run. I want to know what policies they’ll support. And I’m not getting that information.

The Gazette’s West Island section has articles about the elections of each of the school boards (Lester B. Pearson, Marguerite Bourgeoys), but they seem to focus on people complaining about the lack of candidates, or the reasons people are retiring. There’s absolutely no discussion of any issues, or platforms, or anything else that would help people to decide who they will vote for.

Henry Aubin, The Gazette’s regional affairs columnist, also opines about the lack of a real campaign. He blames the EMSB for not holding debates and the candidates for having vague, platitudonal platforms. At least his piece delves into some of the ugly partisanship behind the scenes with a look at the “parties” as well as some controversial issues they face (like closing schools and dealing with Bill 104). But it’s hardly enough to satisfy our need for information about this election.

Why do I care?

The lack of coverage about the issues, combined with the lack of controversial positions being posted to the few candidate websites out there, suggest that there simply aren’t any important issues to be decided here.

I respect how important grass-roots democracy is. But nobody’s proposing we start teaching Intelligent Design here as far as I can tell. Whether it’s the media’s fault for not digging enough, or the candidates’ faults for not having polarizing opinions, there’s just nothing to vote for or against here. Just a bunch of people I don’t know running against each other.

The Suburban tackled the issue of whether this election really matters in a point-counterpoint: School board commissioners matter vs. School boards’ use is long past. Neither side is very convincing.

When it comes down to it, why are we electing school board commissioners in the first place? We don’t elect hospital administrators, or police commissioners, or board members of Crown corporations. We don’t even elect board members for CEGEPs and universities. What makes elementary and high school administration so important it requires its own political system?

(Think I’m asking a lot of questions? The Gazette has an editorial full of them, along with an op-ed from a former teachers’ union president about how little this election matters.)

The candidates

(Note: “Ward” and “Electoral District” are used interchangeably. I use “ward” because it sounds cooler. Contested seats are bolded. The rest are considered acclaimed.)

Lester B. Pearson School Board (7/21 seats contested)


Ward 1 (Verdun—PDF map)

  • Douglas Flook

Ward 2 (Southern LaSalle—PDF map)

  • Sergio Borja

Ward 3 (Northeast LaSalle—PDF map)

Ward 4 (Western LaSalle/Ville-Saint-Pierre—PDF map)

Ward 5 (Lachine—PDF map)

  • Patrick Whitham

Ward 6 (Dorval—PDF map)

Ward 7 (Eastern Pierrefonds/eastern Dollard/northwest Dorval/eastern Pointe-Claire—PDF map)

  • Rosemary Murphy

Ward 8 (Roxboro/Riverdale—PDF map)

  • Craig Berger (email)
  • Bashir Hussain (email)
  • Nazia Nadeem (email)
  • Howard Solomon (incumbent) (email)

Ward 9 (Central Pointe-Claire/Valois—PDF map)

  • Allan Levine

Ward 10 (Lakeshore Pointe-Claire/Pointe-Claire Village/Western Pointe-Claire—PDF map)

  • John Killingbeck

Ward 11 (Central Dollard-des-Ormeaux—PDF map)

  • Marcus Tabachnick (LBPSB chairman and chairman of Quebec English School Boards Association)

Ward 12 (Île-Bizard/Sainte-Geneviève/north central Pierrefonds/Rive-Boisée—PDF map)

  • Sylvia Di Donato (incumbent) (email)
  • Bart Sellitto (email)

Ward 13 (Northwest Dollard-des-Ormeaux/Greendale—PDF map)

  • Martin Sherman

Ward 14 (Southwest Dollard-des-Ormeaux/Fairview Pointe-Claire/eastern Kirkland—PDF map)

  • Joseph Zemanovich

Ward 15 (North/east Beaconsfield—PDF map)

  • Ralph Tietjen

Ward 16 (West Kirkland/east Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue—PDF map)

  • Suanne Stein Day

Ward 17 (West Pierrefonds—PDF map)

  • Luisa Bulgarelli-Vero

Ward 18 (Senneville/west Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue/Baie-d’Urfé/south Beaconsfield—PDF map)

Ward 19 (Île Perrot—PDF map)

  • Susan Bartlett-Lewis

Ward 20 (Vaudreuil-Dorion/east Hudson/western shore communities above the St. Lawrence except Saint-Lazare and Rigaud—PDF map)

  • Angela Nolet

Ward 21 (West Hudson/Saint-Lazare/Rigaud/Pointe-Fortune—PDF map)

  • Armando Jardim (email)
  • Daniel Olivenstein (email)

English Montreal School Board (19 of 23 seats contested)


(unofficial, based on Henry Aubin’s list)

  • Team Spiridigliozzi: 23/23 candidates, including 9 incumbents
  • Team Mancini: 6/23 candidates, including 5 incumbents
  • Team Barbieri: 12/23 candidates, including 2 incumbents
  • 6 independents

Ward 1 (Côte-Saint-Luc)

  • Neil Chazin (Spiridigliozzi) (email)
  • Syd Wise (Mancini) (incumbent)

Ward 2 (Montreal West)

  • Susan Gottman (Spiridigliozzi) (email)
  • Joseph Lalla (Barbieri) (email)

Ward 3 (NDG)

  • Elizabeth Fokoefs (Spiridigliozzi) (incumbent, vice-chair) (email)
  • Albert Perez (Barbieri) (email)

Ward 4 (Hampstead/Côte-Saint-Luc)

Ward 5 (NDG/Saint-Henri/Ville-Émard)

  • Leslie Alleynes (Spiridigliozzi) (email)
  • Anne Williams (Barbieri) (email)

Ward 6 (Saint-Henri/Pointe-Saint-Charles/Westmount)

  • Daniel Andrelli (Spiridigliozzi) (incumbent) (email)
  • Richard Lalonde (Barbieri) (email)

Ward 7 (Westmount/NDG)

Ward 8 (Côte-des-Neiges/Snowdon/Outremont)

  • Ellie Israel (Spiridigliozzi) (email)
  • Kurtis Law (independent) (email)
  • Donald A. Reid (independent) (email)

Ward 9 (Mount Royal/Saint-Laurent)

  • Bryce Durafourt (independent) (email | website) (this kid’s been around, running for mayor and city council)
  • Elizabeth Leaman (Barbieri) (currently parent commissioner for elementary schools) (email)
  • Mario Pasteris (Spiridigliozzi) (email)

Ward 10 (Saint-Laurent)

  • Bernard Praw (Mancini) (incumbent) (email)
  • Costa Saisanas (Spiridigliozzi) (email)

Ward 11 (Saint-Laurent/Cartierville)

  • Stratis Kossivas (Barbieri) (email)
  • James Kromida (Spiridigliozzi) (incumbent) (email)
  • Darrell Seal (independent) (email)

Ward 12 (Ahuntsic)

  • Joseph Petraglia (Barbieri) (incumbent) (email)
  • Riccardo Pivetta (Spiridigliozzi) (email)

Ward 13 (Park Extension/Plateau)

  • Adam Beach (independent) (email)
  • Julien Feldman (Barbieri) (email)
  • Ilias Hondronicolas (independent) (email)
  • George Vogas (Spiridigliozzi) (incumbent) (email)

Ward 14 (Saint-Michel)

  • Rocco Barbieri (Barbieri party leader) (incumbent) (email)
  • Antoinette Corrado (Spiridigliozzi) (email)

Ward 15 (Montreal North)

  • Michele Benigno (Barbieri) (email)
  • Sylvia LoBianco (Spiridigliozzi) (incumbent) (email)

Ward 16 (St. Léonard)

  • Dominic Spiridigliozzi (Spiridigliozzi party leader) (incumbent, chair)

Ward 17 (St. Léonard)

  • Frank Verrillo (Spiridigliozzi) (incumbent)

Ward 18 (Rosemont)

  • Agostino Cannavino (Spiridigliozzi) (incumbent)

Ward 19 (Rosemont/Hochelaga-Maisonneuve/Downtown/Plateau)

  • Angela Mancini (Mancini party leader) (incumbent) (email)
  • Sylvie Vogels (Spiridigliozzi) (email)

Ward 20 (Rosemont)

  • Frank Di Cesare (Spiridigliozzi)

Ward 21 (Anjou/Pointe-Aux-Trembles/Montreal East)

  • Elena Celsi (Mancini) (email)
  • Ted Donnini (Spiridigliozzi) (email)

Ward 22 (Rivière-des-Prairies)

  • Stephen Bertone (Barbieri) (email)
  • Rosa Cerrelli (Spiridigliozzi) (incumbent) (email)

Ward 23 (Rivière-des-Prairies)

  • Angie Bertone (Barbieri) (email)
  • Patricia Lattanzio (Spiridigliozzi) (email)

Commission scolaire Marguerite-Bourgeoys (20/21 seats contested)


Ward 1 (Outremont—PDF map)

Ward 2 (Mount Royal/Saint-Laurent East—PDF map)

  • Denise Rochefort (Lamarche-Venne)
  • Jean-Paul Lauly (Éducation et avenir)

Ward 3 (Northeast Saint-Laurent—PDF map)

  • Mohammed Benzaria (Éducation et avenir)
  • Taki Kérimian (Lamarche-Venne)

Ward 4 (South Saint-Laurent—PDF map)

Ward 5 (North Saint-Laurent—PDF map)

  • Mustapha Hennous (independent)
  • Diane Lamarche-Venne (Lamarche-Venne party leader)
  • Norma Lanctôt-Ponzoni (Éducation et avenir)

Ward 6 (Pierrefonds-Roxboro East—PDF map)

  • Carole Legault (independent)
  • Nathalie Morin (Éducation et avenir)
  • Catherine Thomas (Lamarche-Venne)

Ward 7 (East Dollard-des-Ormeaux—PDF map)

Ward 8 (North Pierrefonds/West Dollard-des-Ormeaux—PDF map)

  • Ibrahim Abdelatiff (Éducation et avenir)
  • Guylain Desnoyers (independent)
  • Félix Méloul (Lamarche-Venne)
  • Amany Naguib (independent)

Ward 9 (Île-Bizard/Sainte-Geneviève/Pierrefonds centre—PDF map)

  • Marie France Bourret (independent)
  • Suzanne Marceau (Lamarche-Venne)
  • Nathalie Hervé (Éducation et avenir)

Ward 10 (Pierrefonds West/Kirkland North—PDF map)

Ward 11 (Senneville/Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue/Baie D’Urfé/Beaconsfield/Kirkland South—PDF map)

  • Sonia Gagné-Lalonde (independent)
  • Hela Labene (independent)
  • Réal Ouellette (Éducation et avenir)

Ward 12 (Pointe-Claire—PDF map)

  • Claude Cuillerier (Lamarche-Venne)
  • Sébastien Francoeur (Éducation et avenir)
  • Susan L. Stokley (independent)

Ward 13 (Dorval/Île Dorval/Lachine West—PDF map)

Ward 14 (Lachine East—PDF map)

Ward 15 (Côte-Saint-Luc/Hampstead/Montreal-West—PDF map)

  • Sarita Benchimol (independent)
  • Nadim Saadé (independent)

Ward 16 (LaSalle West—PDF map)

  • Marie-Josée Boivin (Lamarche-Venne)
  • Claude Martineau (Éducation et avenir)

Ward 17 (LaSalle North—PDF map)

  • Jocelyne Bénard Rochon (Éducation et avenir)
  • Monique Vallée (Lamarche-Venne)

Ward 18 (LaSalle South—PDF map)

Ward 19 (Verdun West—PDF map)

  • Jean-Marc Crête (Éducation et avenir)
  • Pierre Lavoie (Lamarche-Venne)

Ward 20 (Verdun centre—PDF map)

  • Francyne Arbour-Blier (Éducation et avenir)
  • Pierre Labrosse (Lamarche-Venne)

Ward 21 (Verdun East—PDF map)

  • Olivier R. Langlais (Lamarche-Venne)
  • Marc Touchette (Éducation et avenir)

Commission scolaire de Montréal (8/21 seats contested)


Ward 1 (Cartierville—map)

  • Viken Afarian (independent)
  • Jocelyne Cyr (MÉMO)

Ward 2 (Bordeaux-Ahuntsic—map)

Ward 3 (Ahuntsic—map)

  • Diane De Courcy (MÉMO)

Ward 4 (Saint-Sulpice/Saint-Michel Nord—map)

Ward 5 (Park Extension/Villeray—map)

Ward 6 (Villeray/Petite-Patrie—map)

Ward 7 (Saint-Michel Sud—map)

  • Tomas Arbieto Ascue (MÉMO)

Ward 8 (Rosemont Nord—map)

Ward 9 (Rosemont Sud—map)

  • Marie Depelteau-Paquette (MÉMO)

Ward 10 (Louis-Riel/Nouveau-Rosemont—map)

  • Jean-Denis Dufort (MÉMO)

Ward 11 (Tétreaultville—map)

  • André Bonin (independent)
  • Catherine Harel-Bourdon (MÉMO)

Ward 12 (Mercier—map)

  • Christian Giguère (MÉMO)
  • Simon Vincent (independent)

Ward 13 (Hochelaga-Maisonneuve—map)

  • Daniel Duranleau (MÉMO)

Ward 14 (Plateau Mont-Royal—map)

  • François Vaillancourt (MÉMO)

Ward 15 (Les Faubourgs—map)

Ward 16 (Saint-Louis/Mile End—map)

  • Louise Mainville (MÉMO)

Ward 17 (Westmount/Côte-des-Neiges Sud—map)

  • Georges Toda (independent)
  • Akos Verboczy (MÉMO)

Ward 18 (Côte-des-Neiges/Snowdon—map)

  • Khokon Maniruzzaman (MÉMO)
  • Teklad Pavisian (independent)

Ward 19 (Saint-Henri/Petite-Bougogne/Pointe-Saint-Charles—map)

Ward 20 (Ville Émard/Côte-Saint-Paul—map)

  • Daniel Bélanger (MÉMO)

Ward 21 (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—map)

  • Marie-José Mastromonaco (MÉMO)

7 thoughts on “Everything you couldn’t care less about school board elections

  1. Fagstein Post author

    Compiling was the easy part (just four lists of candidates). Formatting was the hard part (and it still looks awful).

    Once Google indexes all the names I’m sure I’ll start getting some hits.

  2. Pingback: Fagstein » OMG they’ll outsource our students too!



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  5. Pingback: Fagstein » School board election results

  6. E.Fuller

    Since half of the Pearson board are running unopposed and are therefore acclaimed, I guess if our ward has an acclaimed councillor , we’ll just be voting of the head/chairperson of the board ? badly organized election.


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