Quebec Premier Legault won't meet election promise to offer pre-kindergarten

Quebec Premier François Legault is defending his government's failure to meet a key campaign promise to offer kindergarten classes beginning at four years old to all the province's children.

Legault said today it was impossible to reach his government's target within the stated time frame due to a shortage of teachers.

Legault campaigned heavily on the issue during the 2018 election, going so far as to say his seat would be on the line if he failed to meet his promise.

His Coalition Avenir Québec party originally promised to open 5,000 classes for four-year-olds within five years, but that target was later dropped to 2,600 classes by 2025-26.

Education Minister Bernard Drainville told TVA on Tuesday that even the lower goal would not be met due to the teacher shortage, and the government was pushing its timeline back to 2029-30.

Legault said today he still believes in his promise to offer universal pre-kindergarten, which he says will especially benefit children with learning disabilities.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 22, 2023.

The Canadian Press