I have no doubt that provincial politicians are trying to pick a fight with the Vancouver School Board to distract people from issues that sent the Liberal approval rating crashing down. Minister of Education Margaret MacDiarmid sent a letter to Trustees June 10 directing the VSB to:
- develop a balanced budget that is drafted with the best interests of students, student achievement and parents as the paramount consideration.
This direction was far from earth shaking since the School Act requires that each year, the Board must prepare and submit to the Minister an annual budget and the “estimated expenditures in the annual budget must not exceed estimated revenues.” The Minister did nothing more than repeat the requirements of the act, requirements that every school district in the province works with every year.
Of course, this letter was strictly for public consumption. It was a political exercise to demonstrate the Minister was acting strongly and it was intended to raise the implication that the VSB was ignoring its statutory duties and planning not to submit a balanced budget. You know this was true when the government’s press conference announcing the correspondence was scheduled before the recipients received the message.
For a point of view different than that brought you by Liberal compliant talking heads of our local media, read
Better a messy democracy than a bossy bureaucrat by Rod Mickleburgh at the Globe and Mail.
I share the reporter’s opinion that the Comptroller General was way off base, delivering a report that misunderstands the role of elected school trustees. Had Ms. Wenezenki-Yolland taken the opposite approach, she might have declared the Minister was failing in her duty to act in the best interests of students, student achievement and parents as the paramount consideration. That position could easily be argued.
Friday, Dull Edge from the Ledge on CKNW, served a perfect example of Good corporate radio. In the 9 o’clock hour (at 47:55 in their archive) Jean begins her impassioned defense of Liberal policy. She continues, uninterrupted for more than three minutes, offering pearls such as:
- I have no sympathy for the Vancouver School Board . . .
- The Vancouver School Board is just being so defiant with the Government
- There’s no room for partisan politics
- She [the Minister] went into the Vancouver School Board because the Vancouver School Board said, “Children were at risk.” If the Government had not gone in, it would have been very irresponsible for the Government.
- If these people cannot make difficult decisions, then they should step down.
The response by Vaughn Palmer, “Umm, uh, I mean that’s a really interesting discussion of the issue.”
Strange, on the morning of Energy Minister Blair Lekstrom resigning from cabinet and caucus, the most significant political news in weeks, Bill Good turns the forum over to a breathless government supporter to rant about the VSB. I find that funny considering how much effort the Good Gatekeepers put into shaping calls to fit their agenda. Where was Sam when they needed him?