UBCM votes in favour of democracy

On the last day of UBCM convention in Victoria this past week, members voted in favour of supporting ex-School District 79 trustees

On the last day of the Union of B.C. Municipalities Convention in Victoria this past week, members voted in favour of supporting ex-School District 79 trustees in their push to petition the Province for a by-election.

Coun. McGonigle put forward the resolution which stated, in part, “that the UBCM petition the Province to issue a ministerial order for elections to be conducted in a local government where vacancies are caused by ministerial intervention so that the democratic rights of the citizens of the affected political jurisdiction are properly protected and served and the business of local government may be appropriately exercised through its duly elected representatives.”

“This resolution was sent in as a late resolution last week. The UBCM resolutions committee did not accept this resolution as they were under the understanding that the incident that led to the resolution took place long before the deadline and therefore should have been submitted at a much earlier date,” said Coun. Day.

“That being said, a resolution can still be admitted for considered for discussion if the majority of delegates vote to allow it the be put on the floor of the convention. Councillor McGonigle stepped up to the microphone and requested that the delegation vote to let the resolution be put on the floor and his request was voted in favor of by over 50 per cent of the delegation.”

Day explained that NorthCowichan Councillor, Al Siebring rose as a voice of opposition to the resolution.

“Siebring rose and spoke against the motion stating that he was not impressed with the flowery language and that the issue should be resolved at home in the Cowichan Valley,” said Day.

“My personal thoughts are that I am pleased the resolution was endorsed and that the new education minister Don McRea will have a chance to review the situation. That being said I find myself frustrated at the whole public education system and personally feel the whole system needs an overhaul. I can only hope that one day the system will move out of the past and become more up to date and efficient. We have got to bring our facilities up to date and give our students and teachers the tools they need to make our system vibrant and successful. The powers that be need to find a way to do this as soon as possible. It’s going to take the dialogue of parents, school boards, local and senior governments, staff, and teachers to figure this out. I suggest they start now and work cooperatively before the buildings start to crumble too,” added Day.

Area F Director Ian Morrison rose and spoke for the motion as well did CVRD Director Lorne Duncan.

“I was fortunate to get the opportunity to speak to the resolution, and I passionately put forth the notion that democracy was the point of the resolution, and I wasn’t debating the reasons why School District 79’s board is currently not in office. I spoke about the fact that the public expect by-elections when there are vacancies, regardless of what level of government we speak of.

“Several delegates came up to me after the vote substantially endorsed the resolution. Many told me that my arguments in support of the resolution caused them to change their minds and support it,” said Morrison.

Eden Haythornthwaite, the ex-chair of the SD79 School Board is pleased by the vote.

“I am very uplifted by this development. It is good to know that regardless of position, principle or party most of the delegates with some notable exceptions believed Cowichan has every right to have its school board matters governed by people they choose in an election rather than an unelected bureaucrat,” said Haythornthwaite. “Hopefully, this will soften the heart of Minister McRae and allow him to see the wisdom of taking his chances with democracy just like the rest of us are willing to do.”

“Now the resolution will be put forward to the B.C.’s Education Ministry with UBCM endorsement, and we wait to hear from them whether or not they will call a by-election. There is no time frame set,” said Day.

In a statement released by the Education Minister’s office, Min. Don McRae said that he was aware that the resolution had been passed at the UBCM in support of a by-election.

“Before any decisions are made, I am going to have a conversation with official trustee Mike McKay about the progress being made in School District 79. Under the School Act, the official trustee remains in place until the next municipal election, or until Cabinet orders a new by-election,” said McRae.

Haythornthwaite says she doesn’t know what progress the minister is talking about, and cites that during her time as chair of the board progress was made in many areas including labour management and classroom conditions.

“He does seem to be claiming dialogue with McKay, as if the person appointed should be in charge of elections. But ultimately it is up to the ministry,” said Haythornthwaite.

 

Just Posted

An example of the forest land in the Port Renfrew and Fairy Creek area of Vancouver Island is shown on May 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne
Old-growth logging opponents launch hunger strike as arrests continue at Fairy Creek

Zain Haq says the hunger strikers will gather today at Burrard Street in downtown Vancouver

An example of the forest land in the Port Renfrew and Fairy Creek area of Vancouver Island is shown on May 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne
Old-growth logging opponents launch hunger strike as arrests continue at Fairy Creek

Zain Haq says the hunger strikers will gather today at Burrard Street in downtown Vancouver

Grade 12 students Sophia Kazakoff and Catherine Yuan accept QMS’s Stigma Free Designation award from Stigma-Free Society president, Andrea Paquette. (Submitted)
Duncan’s QMS earns ‘Stigma-Free’ designation

“No school in the province has accomplished what QMS did in such a short period of time”

“About a year after it was last used for a bottle drive, Lake Cowichan’s derelict Scout and Guide Hall came down Monday, June 6. Girl Guides have since moved into different churches and halls around the area. Town council has yet to decide what will be done with the now vacant town-owned site.” (Tyler Clarke/Lake Cowichan Gazette, June 8, 2011)
Flashback: A.B. Greenwell, Lady of the Lake, good and bad news for the Lake News

What was making headlines this week around Cowichan Lake in years gone by

Conner Gilkin, 5, shows of some of his newfound loot to buddy Jax Dul, 7, during the Lake Cowichan treasure hunt on Saturday, June 5. (Kevin Rothbauer/Gazette)
Weekly hunt has Lake Cowichan digging for treasure

Gold? Silver? Candy? Andrew Braye has stashed away a range of prizes for eager treasure hunters

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read