Parliamentarians’ Influence on Public Policy: The Case of Education

Article 7 / 11 , Vol 33 No 4 (Winter)

Parliamentarians’ Influence on Public Policy: The Case of Education

In the 1990s, nearly 35% of Quebec high school students dropped out before graduation. A number of lobby groups, including the Centrale de l’enseignement du Québec and the Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste, took advantage of the 1994 election campaign to call for a provincial conference on education. In October 1995, Education Minister Jean Garon appointed a Commission for the Estates General on Education (CEGE), which after 16 months of work submitted a report titled Renewing Our Education System: Ten Priority Areas. On the basis of this report, Pauline Marois, who succeeded Jean Garon, proposed a far-reaching overhaul of the province’s education system. This case study shows that education reform, like other public policies, was the result of work by the government and by advisory bodies. A number of authors assert that the power of representative bodies is in decline, but few studies have analyzed their role in the making of public policy. The aim of this article is to understand the way in which the parliamentarians in Quebec’s National Assembly influenced the content of the 1997 education reform.