Letter to the editor 5, Oct. 20, 2016

Dear Editor,

The Lester B. Pearson School Board has become dysfunctional and will self-destruct. For the sake of the Pearson community, parents, and taxpayers, Education Minister Sébastien Proulx must intervene.

On October 18, the LBPSB held two back-to-back meetings: the regular Executive Committee meeting, and a ‘Special Meeting’ advertised by a 'Public Notice.'

The 'Special Meeting' was called following a media report stating, "Pearson board denies access to ethics report." An unnamed commissioner was found guilty on three charges of violating the Code of Ethics for Commissioners.

Martin Sherman, chairman of the Executive Committee, in direct contradiction to Chairperson Suanne Stein Day's orders, almost three years ago , banning me to speak at all Public Questions - allowed me to participate.

I reviewed main points of an email I sent to all commissioners and the Central Parents' Committee.

The manner of operations at the Board is not doing anything positive for the case of elected school boards, nor for the electors of the Pearson community, who voted for a commissioner and a chairman in the November 2, 2014, school board elections.

The article clearly informs the community “an unnamed commissioner has breached the board's code of ethics on three occasions."

“Maintaining the anonymity of the commissioner reflects badly on the other eleven democratically elected commissioners and, indeed, the entire board itself.

Why should all of you be under suspicion? Why protect someone who has been found in violation of your own Code of Ethics? What about the people who filed the complaints in the first place?

You, commissioners, made a big deal about Bill 86 and now Bill 105 over democracy.

Democracy is a two way street; voters need to know what their elected representatives are doing.

This state of affairs would never happen involving a municipal, provincial, or federal politician.

School board secrecy erodes public confidence. The Pearson board's furtive actions could not demonstrate a better case for the enactment of school board reform Bill 105, which calls for openness and accountability."

Following the Executive Committee meeting, Chairperson Suanne Stein Day chaired the 'Special Meeting' which almost immediately went behind closed doors to create a new committee.

At Question Period time, I was the only one to approach to speak but Day said I was not allowed.

I managed to say the LBPSB is the only board in Quebec that has student commissioners. The conduct of the LBPSB, in my view, is a poor example for our youth on how elected representatives should behave.

Education Minister Sébastien Proulx, who is also Minister of Families, must take note.

Chris Eustace