• editor834

Letter to the editor 5, Dec. 10, 2020

I care too

Dear Editor,

No question, the pandemic has wreaked havoc with the on-again, off-again English school board elections.

However, using the pandemic for political sympathy and toward political gain is not helpful in running our public school system.

On October 8, fellow candidate for Pearson board chair Judy Kelley told the Montreal Gazette that she was, “…hoping voters will make it to the polls, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.” (‘LBPSB elections set for Nov. 1’)

Yet, on Nov. 14 on Global News, Commissioner Kelley blasted the Education Ministry, which works in concert with Public Health and Elections Quebec, because it decided, “to go ahead with school board elections (Dec. 20) amid COVID-19 crisis.”

Her reaction was not shared by others running for chair at the Lester B. and Sir Wilfrid Laurier school boards.

Hence, the letter ‘Candidates for chairs of LBPSB and SWLSB agree to December 20 elections’ (The Journal, Nov. 26)

In her ‘reaction’ to our letter, Mrs. Kelley wrote on Dec. 3 to The Journal ‘Vote when it's deemed safe.’

She said her, “…thoughts were always with our vulnerable electorate, with the poll workers and custodians who would have been tasked to ensure safe conditions for voters in the many schools slated to be used as polling stations….”

Commissioner Kelley is being somewhat melodramatic. We are not talking of hordes of people lining up to a rock concert.

Newly appointed vice-chair of the Pearson board and her allies – the Quebec English School Boards Association and APPELE-Québec, seem to believe they have a monopoly on caring.

In late April, I was starting to express concern about the upcoming elections and safety matters connected to the pandemic. These worries were expressed to many people/groups, newspapers and to all members of the National Assembly.

I suggested if schools were still closed, “voters could line up – two metres apart – near outside trailers, which would be under large tents, in shopping centres' parking lots....”

And if schools were open, as far as voting during the pandemic is concerned, that's no problem given the traditional puny voter turnout of about 16 per cent, and now, with about 85 per cent of the commissioners acclaimed.

Respecting social distancing rules, voters can come in the front door of a school, cast their ballot and leave out the back door.

I care, too.

I've been caring at the Lester B. Pearson School Board for about 23 years.

Chris Eustace