Mancini holds chair, sweeps commissioner races
By Joel Ceausu
Angela Mancini held on to the top post of the English Montreal School Board, Sunday, in Quebec’s first school board elections in seven years.
Mancini has chaired the board since 2007, and was re-elected with 11,069 votes compared to her opponent Anne Lagacé Dowson who managed to capture 7,086 votes according to EMSB figures.
Eight members of Mancini’s team were elected as well for the ten voting commissioner positions.
Dowson entered the race promising a change in board culture, more emphasis on French and a moratorium on school closures. She criticized Mancini for inaction on electoral procedures and the flood of eligible students to the French sector. Mancini countered that Dowson lacked knowledge of the system and criticized her stance on French programs.
The only member of Dowson’s team to be elected was incumbent Julien Feldman in Westmount–Sud-Ouest. Team Dowson candidate Sherlyn Figueira came close to winning Montreal West–NDG early in the evening, but incumbent independent Joseph Lalla pulled ahead later in the count to win by a margin of 72 votes. The same with Agostino Cannavino enjoying a comfortable lead early after the polls closed. In the end however, Team Mancini’s Dominic Furfaro edged out Cannavino by 11 votes.
According to EMSB figures, there were 18,950 votes for commissioner cast in the hotly contested election, which featured no acclamations and a participation rate of 21.2 percent, an increase over the 2007 tally of 17.79 percent when four commissioners (all in the east end) were acclaimed.
Six incumbents were re-elected in addition to Mancini, and Lalla was the only independent (of seven) to be elected, with 3,277 ballots cast for all non-aligned candidates.
The new council of commissioners in this three-year mandate for the EMSB (*re-elected):
Chairman Angela Mancini*
Ward 1 (Côte des Neiges/Snowdon/Outremont/TMR/Park Extension) Mordechai Antal
Ward 2 (Montreal West/NDG) Joseph Lalla*
Ward 3 (Westmount/Sud Ouest) Julien Feldman*
Ward 4 (Côte St. Luc/Hampstead) SydWise*
Ward 5 (St. Laurent) James Kromida*
Ward 7 (Ahuntsic/Montreal North) Sylvia Lo Bianco*
Ward 8 (St. Léonard) Patricia Lattanzio* Ward 9 (Anjou/Mercier/Hochelaga-Maisonneuve/Rosemont–Petite-Patrie) Rosario Ortona
Ward 10 (Rivière des Prairies/Pointe aux Trembles) Joe Ortona
Four non-voting parent commissioners will join the council, as well as two community members chosen by council.
Throughout the day Sunday, allegations flew on social media and in email exchanges among candidates, reporters and voters that there were irregularities at some polling stations; from a poll being moved to the back of a building in one ward, preventing some seniors and persons with reduced mobility from accessing the station, to charges that a candidate removed documents from another voting location.
EMSB returning officer Pierre-Yves Bazzaz says he heard all the complaints, but was cautious about commenting on them.
“I have re-read the law for the 10th time,” he said, “having run four elections, and I tell you it has to be a very big problem to cancel an election.
The next council meeting is Nov. 26.
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