Letters to the Editor: November 4

The firing of the Vancouver School Board; The perils of electoral reform

Vancouver School Board

On behalf of the Cranbrook District Teachers’ Association, I would like to express my utmost concern regarding this government’s decision to fire the Vancouver School Board on October 17, 2016. The use of legislation to terminate the work of these elected trustees is a blatant interference with the democratic process.

These trustees were elected to represent the needs of students in their community. To that extent, they did. Using their only means to express concern over the underfunding of their schools and programs, they chose not to sign off on their balanced budget in June, 2016. The budget was followed as though it was passed, and the Vancouver School Board decided to end their protest and approve the budget on the evening of October 17. The board was fired earlier that day, just hours before approving the budget.

This action has done nothing more than divide a community and deplete citizen’s faith in this government’s ability to honour the democratic process. Rather than engage existing mechanisms that allow for parties to resolve disputes, this government chose the easy way out by “getting rid of the problem”. We only have to watch the evening news to see how ineffectively this approach works in other places.

Our local Trustees in SD5 are strong advocates for public education and the students they care for. They are actively involved in the schools, PACs, DPAC, and community committees which impact students’ daily lives. They work diligently to bring issues to the forefront to make things better for our students. Unfortunately, their many advocacy letters to the government go unanswered which speaks volumes of who is in charge of education in our province.

I would ask that the Liberal government stop trying to silence the voices for children, stop hiding behind their random acts of funding in an election year and get on with the serious business of public education and investing in our children.

Shelley Balfour, President of the Cranbrook District Teachers’ Association.

Electoral Reform

Electoral Reform will move political input a step away from Canadians. It’s like the election is the be-all, end-all and happens in a vacuum, having no related effect on other parts of our Canadian democracy.

No one is asking about possible consequences.

It’s instructive to learn internationally, from Italian, Israeli and now Icelandic election results. Those nations’ “art” of assembling national control is more a chancy roulette wheel than creating a well constructed government. Perpetual coalition governments!

Many Canadians have an irrational romantic notion about minority governments. Perhaps that’s why the chattering class who campaign for Electoral Reform choose to ignore the reality of electoral tinkering. The election only selects the players. Those players choose how they will play the game, and with whom.

We should have learned something in 2008 when the Liberals and NDP plotted with the Bloc, our nation’s separatists, to wrench control from CPC.

The foundation of the Liberal/NDP coalition was a well behaved fox in the chicken coop. It took a mini constitutional crisis to get Canada’s ship of state back onto an even keel.

The foundation stone of British Parliamentary democracy is the election of MPs who control the government by supporting budget expenditures by “confidence” votes. A Prime Minister MUST formally report a failure to the Canadian head of state (the GG). The GG must ask the PM to form another cabinet (government) to present a budget to the MPs to ask for their majority approval.

The inevitability of electoral reform is that it will result in permanent negotiations of coalitions. The selection of the Canadian Prime Minster will come from a process of “horse-trading” behind closed doors.

In many nations it takes weeks following the general election to sort the mess. At the end of the secret process, just like the selection of the Pope in Rome, Canadians will see a puff of white smoke in Ottawa.

Isn’t Canada the envy of the world for electoral stability? Remind me. What are we trying to fix? And why is there no debate about this by the talking heads on our TV screens?

Jim Abbott, Wasa

Just Posted

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

Students at Creston Valley Secondary School put together an art installation of a replica residential school room. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)
Creston students create art installation of residential school room

The replica was decorated with a small bed, school uniform, and notes written with pleas for help

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

1914
It happened this week in 1914

June 13 - 19: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers… Continue reading

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Most Read