Parti Québécois Leader Pierre Karl Péladeau is coming to the defence of English-speaking school boards and calling on the Couillard government to listen to them during legislative hearings on its school board reform bill.

​Péladeau says he's "flabbergasted" by what he calls a lack of consultation on the legislation with the anglophone community.

"If they want to reform school board governance, they must respect the anglophone community's rights. They should participate in the commission and all other consultations," Péladeau said.

More than 50 groups are scheduled to testify at the hearings, which start on Jan. 28.

The government says individual school boards are represented by their umbrella organizations, such as the Quebec English School Boards Association, so there is no need to testify individually.

But some boards, including the English Montreal School Board and the French-language Commission scolaire de Montréal, would like to have a chance to testify in order to bring up concerns specific to them.