Council, caucus and “rubber stamps”.

We had our public Council Meting last night. Unfortunately, I had to leave early, around 21h30 – I was almost surprised that I lasted that long, having had a minor surgical procedure yesterday morning.

Students from Laurier Senior were on hand for a short presentation on their success at the most recent robotics competition. Seeing students so engaged in what they are doing and presenting their project in this somewhat daunting forum was very impressive. We hear a lot about the problems in the public system and I am certainly one who has his concerns, but we should also take the time to see the good things we have – this was a group of successful young adults that our school has played its role in developing. Well done!

Now, as with other public council meetings, there looks like there is a lot of rubber stamping going on. As I have said before, there is actually a lot of debate that goes into these resolutions, but it happens most of all in standing committees, and in this case, a special caucus meeting. Regardless, I was a little perturbed last night with what looked, in public, like a one-sided debate on our school board’s position on bill 104 and the QESBA’s financial support of it.

DISCLAIMER: I am about to write about my own personal reasons as to why I voted to support our resolution to not support the QESBA’s role in this legal case. I do not speak on behalf of the school board; I speak on behalf of one sole commissioner, ME.

Last night’s meeting saw the words “appalled” and “ashamed” used in reference to the resolution we passed stating our position.

When this was discussed at the special caucus meeting a week or two ago, I hadn’t yet formed my opinion. That open, frank and fairly raucous meeting helped me come to my conclusions. That caucus meeting took a few hours of debate and, I think, produced the right decision.

I didn’t want to get into the same debate last night. We did it already, and we had come to a conclusion that I supported. But now, at our public meeting, it looked like I was just one of the sheep who bleated quietly in the corner and went along with the vote – simply untrue.

I believe that every student in this province should have the right to go to the (MELS recognized) school of their family’s choice. Period and without exception.

I also believe that our role as a school board is not one of financial supporter for such a legal case. I believe that our school board can be more effective using its political influence and I am happy that our school board cannot be lumped together with those addressed in most of the French media as using our school-bound tax dollars to fight our provincial tax dollars.

I believe that we can lend moral support, effective political support and I am proud of my decision to support the resolution we passed in last night’s council meeting.

I think we did the right thing, and it’s unfortunate that in our public meeting it looked like there was no real debate except for a couple of commissioners stating their positions of being “appalled” and “ashamed”.

It makes me think, once again, that *all* of our meetings should be open, and that where something is to be discussed that cannot be open, we go in camera for just those things.




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