Tag Archives: accountability

Board of Education Regular Public Meeting: Tuesday, September 13, 2011.

The next regular meeting of the Sunshine Coast Board of Education will be Tuesday September 12, 2011, 7:00pm, at the School Board office. Did you know that the agendas for regular public meetings are available on the Friday prior to meetings? You can find the full September agenda here. If you can’t attend the meeting, express yourself here, or via email: jscott@sd46.bc.ca

Here are a few highlights:

We have an interesting, education related presentation to start meetings off with. It’s worth coming just to watch the presentations. And, yes, you could theoretically leave right after.

This month’s presentation: Continue reading


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Shouldn’t reading to your kids be mandatory?

Today is Family Literacy Day, but there have been exciting things going on in School District 46 all week. I enjoy the chance to get into classrooms as a trustee, but the fact that we need a literacy day as a society raises some interesting questions.

Far be it from me to be a little cynical, but isn’t it time to move beyond “encouraging” parents to read to their children? Are we okay with the fact that many children aren’t really introduced to books until they enter school? Don’t we owe it to children to stop walking on eggshells around these issues?

Especially since we now know, unequivocally, that children who aren’t introduced to some key concepts in the first five years of their lives will NEVER reach their full potential. Think about that for a while. Continue reading


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Make room for Christy Clark on my online voting bandwagon.

 Nothing like leadership races and looming elections to get politicians talking about populist ideas and citizen inclusion.

If only we had a system where politicians had to follow through on promises.


Filed under BC politics

E-voting: Coming to a city near you?

Surrey and Vancouver are planning to implement E-voting in upcoming civic elections, most likely due to my post last week on voting via the internet.

Well, maybe I can’t take all the credit, but I’m still excited by the news that we could see some form of E-voting sooner rather than later. The immediate prospect of increasing voter participation–particularly young voters–is exciting in itself but, for me, the potential this brings for true citizen involvement in public policy enraptures me even more than the rumoured Christy Clark fundraising calendar.

What say you?


Filed under BC politics

2010: HST+Facebook=The End of Sortuvocracy?

I predicted that the Zalmer’s HST petition, while noble, would ultimately fail, as the Government has no obligation to honour the will of The People as voiced in mere petitions.

Indeed, the process was set up to fail. Most of us know the bar was deliberately set so high that it was never intended to be a real tool for citizen input, but I was surprised to read this week that Ujjal Dosanjh, the chairman of the committee that recommended the initiative process in ’93, completely admits that!

“We never in our wildest dreams ever felt that any initiative would pass, because we set the threshold so high,” Dosanjh states in an illuminating Globe and Mail article.

So in many ways the Zalm is already a winner on this one, even if the Government decides to continue ignoring the will of the people, which they can still do. Even the promised referendum is by no means a surety. Although we do have Gordon Campbell’s word on that one.

I didn’t see the referendum move coming, I have to admit that. It was probably about as good a move as possible politically for GoCam–it wasn’t enough to save him, but it did take some wind out of the Recall sails. Those sails seem amazingly full still, though, because the battle rages on.

The battle is no longer simply about the HST, though.

This battle pits proponents of our current system of Sortuvocracy, in which politicians represent their parties and special interest groups, against those advocating for Democracy. And the people demanding a say in public policy aren’t shutting up.

They’re organized, too, which is what makes this battle different. There is no doubt that the Internet, specifically Facebook in this case, helped to quickly galvanize the angry masses and demonstrate their opposition to the decisions of their “representatives.” The Internet wasn’t a factor when the group of politicians, headed by Mr. Dosanjh, got together to draft a mock procedure for holding themselves more accountable.

Will this usher in a brave new world, in which politicians are accountable to (or, eventually, replaced by!) the public? Or will elected officials continue to choose allegiance to their parties over representing the populace?

Time will tell, but you have to think that they will at least think twice before acting without consulting constituents, knowing that recall is a legitimate option now. We could be on the brink of something exciting.

Of course, the government could also just modify or scrap the recall and initiative procedure, knowing that it can actually work. Watch for this after the HST issue dies down.


Filed under Canadian politics

School District 46 Trustee(me) to attend BCSTA Trustee Academy

I’ve had a few people over the last couple of years make comments about Board members attending BC School Trustees Association conferences like the upcoming Trustee Academy. Mostly people have made “jokes” about it, which is fine, but they usually have only a vague idea about what these things are all about.

I’ve certainly raised an eyebrow or two regarding trips and delegations politicians have been a part of, so it’s fair for people to scrutinize. It’s our right–nay, duty–to pay attention to these things, so by all means judge away, but base your judgements on the facts.

The Trustee academy is over three days, which means I’ll spend two nights in a hotel. Those three days are jam packed with panel discussions and training sessions on things like Early Childhood Success, Secondary education Success, and, Technology and Personalized Learning, to name a few. Full program here. These are relevant things that you want your Trustees to be on top of.

So, the taxpayer pays for me to attend such events, but it truly helps me to be a better representative and advocate for children.  Attending these sessions for hours and hours is not a holiday by any stretch of the imagination.

This is work. How hard of work is it? Well, I worked for many years in a residential treatment home for violent, at-risk youth, and attending an academy is not as hard as that. But neither are most other things. I’ve also manned a shovel and/or pick axe in the rain for 8-10 hours a day, and this isn’t that either. 

Attending these events means I’m away from my family for a few days, and it helps me do a better job as a Trustee. I don’t get paid any more for attending, and I have to book time off from other things. I’m not complaining–it’s my choice and I wouldn’t go if I didn’t think it was worthwhile. Just giving my perspective and hopefully getting some facts out there.

Now go forth and judge.

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Board of Education Stipend Increase


OK, so this issue is a month old now, and I want to know what people feel about voting to increase their stipends. No one has called me or written me directly about it, so I’d like to know if people are really upset about our stipends going up.

Most people seem to think that trustees should be paid a fair amount but don’t have much faith in the process, which I can understand. I’ve complained louder than most over the years about politicians voting for their own wage increase, but I don’t yet know what the solution is.

Here are the numbers : Trustees currently receive $11,000 a year, and we voted to increase that to $13,313 (the provincial average.) Basically $166 a month.

I voted for the increase, so I obviously believe the amount is fair, even if the process isn’t perfect.

So, what do you think?

  • Do you think Trustees are paid too much?
  • Do you think the public should decide whether raises are warranted?
  • Would you be willing to submit your own raises to the public for approval?


Filed under Sunshine Coast Board of Education, Sunshine Coast News and Politics