39% In Favor of returning to court.
61% Wish to focus on elections.
I respect the will of the people, and I too believe that the most important thing to focus on right now, is getting people on the school board who respect the authority and rights of parents to be involved with their children’s education. As one parent put it, “the lines of communication are down.” Just like I told the Secretary last September, my role is and always has been to restoring communication with parents. From my attempts to record proceedings, to my speaking up to the board, and to my taking the petition to appeal.
Given that the Secretary and Board had clear instructions to accept a copy of amended signatures from the Justice, and they have chosen not do so, it is evident to me and a majority of voters who signed the petition, that returning to court will not repair the lines of communication. I do understand the reasons why so many voted to go back to court. The Board, through allies in the media, have essentially maligned the electorate on the petition. They have portrayed the signatories as if they could not get the support for their position, and that they were unable to file a correct petition, when that is clearly not the case.
Should any of those signatories who voted in favor of returning to court wish to pick up the banner, and pursue an appeal to the Court of Queen’s Bench again, I will provide all necessary documents and evidence needed to do so. I support their right to do so, and I understand why they may want to. I will however point my focus on rebuilding the lines of communication, through the election of candidates that support parental authority, educational choice, and quality curriculum.
(For consistency and ease of understanding in this post I will be using the numbers that the Secretary used when discussing the number of signatures on the petition. There is some disparity between the numbers that I hold to and what the Secretary holds to, but in the grand scheme of things, those small differences would have no affect on the final outcome.)
On August 14, 2017, Secretary Jerry Lebossiere of SD#76 rejected an amendment to the petition I submitted in September, 2016. His excuse for rejecting it was that he could not accept any of the 121 signatures that had had their addresses corrected. In his rejection letter the secretary stated that “These addresses are not set out opposite to an original signature but are simply written in over the photocopied signatures,” and that “as Secretary Treasurer I have no discretion to permit the inclusion of names on a petition that do not comply with the requirements.” Additionally when the Secretary rejected the initial amendment of the petition on July 7th, he set out a an expiry for the petition of July 21, 2017.
When I took the petition to appeal on March 10, 2017, I did so seeking clarification on the act, as well as I contested the rejection of 259 signatures that had listed only a Postal Code, and did not include the street address. Through the proceedings on March 10th, Justice Tilleman made it clear that a copy was sufficient for the amendment. From The Court Transcript: “Okay, so her[secretary’s legal council] last words were the secretary is absolutely willing to evaluate fairly any petition that is re-filed or resubmitted, so, I mean, I take that to mean for example if you used a photocopy of the previous that someone, in an affidavit, certifies is the true copy, and the secretary says no, I’m not going to accept that, you’ll be back in court and I wouldn’t be very happy. It’s going to be accepted.” The Justice earlier in the conversation stating “…then you would need addresses on the 259 so you’re 100 [this is rounded] short, sounds to me like you’ve collected other names, assuming you want to go the (b) route,…” To top it all off, the Secretary’s legal council said, in her own words, “There’s no time limit on the petition names, there’s nothing that says that their name is on the petition for only a set period of time”
Taking the rest of the transcript into context, it is clear to me that the Justice gave the Secretary clear latitude to accept amended address on a copy, and also expected him to accept it, and the district freely told the Justice that we had no deadline/expiry on signatures. I will admit that I did not give a sworn copy of the petition sheets. I did however use the copy that was given to me by his legal council during the appeal proceedings, and red ink was used to indicate clearly which lines had been amended. The secretary did not contest that the pages were not a true copy, he contested that he had no way of knowing if the addressed were true. In affect insinuating that I or others had committed fraud, and made up the addresses. I might add, he provided no proof for his accusation.
In an effort to calm the Secretary’s concerns, on the 21 of August, 2017, I e-mailed the secretary outlining my objection to his rejection of the 121 corrected address. I offered to provide him with sworn affidavits from the individuals who had collected the address information on the 121 addresses. I requested that he inform me by the 23rd of August whether he would accept that, and there by accept the petition. As of the 25 he has not. And so, just like in October of 2016, he refused to provide clarifications in a timely fashion.
That brings me to the point of this post. I am ready to go back to court. I am ready to swear under oath, and before the God of heaven and earth that my statements are true to the best of my knowledge. I stand by the petition, and I stand by the amendment and that it fulfilled all the requirements necessary to be accepted by the Secretary. I am ready to defend that position before a Justice once again. I however will do what the people would prefer. The accusations against me mean nothing, as I and those who know me, know they have no truth to them, so I don’t need to clear my name in court. (Although I would be ok if it were officially cleared. I’m good either way.)
I’m posting to put it to a vote. To you the people. On Monday, if the vote is in favour, I will file at the Court of Queens Bench once again. If I file, a ‘speak to’ date will be set by the Clerk. At which a justice will weigh the merrits of the appeal, and will determine if I have sufficient grounds to appeal. So, by filing on Monday, it does not confirm that it will go to appeal. It may get thrown out. (Looking through the transcript, I find that highly unlikely.) If it isn’t thrown out, I believe we have a very strong case.
Given that the election is mere weeks away, and we might have a different Board after October 16, I want to give everyone the opportunity to state if they think court would be a worth while endeavor. As I’ve done from the beginning, I will do what the people wish for me to do.
Votes will be closed 8pm Sunday August 27th, 2017.
The voting is closed. Results will be posted tomorrow.
On June 20th, the CPoSD76 amended their petition. I received notice that a decision of the sufficiency of the petition had been made on or about 3:30pm Thursday July 6th. It was requested that I come and meet with the superintendent at 8:30AM July 7th. Despite the short notice, I informed the superintendent’s office that I would make the meeting.
I was informed that they had decided that the amendment was insufficient because they had rejected all 111 amended postal code signatures on the grounds that they we not re-signed each in their entirety, even though that was not a requirement discussed during the March 10, 2017 appeal. Even though the Justice said that even a photocopy would have been good enough, as the point of their rejection was that the secretary would have had to have exerted extra effort to ascertain the electoral status of the signature.
In addition to the 111 corrected postal signatures, I submitted 286 new signatures with the amendment. The secretary claims that 3 of those signatures have addresses outside the boundaries, and 1 was missing a character on the postal code. He further claims that 19 of the signatures are duplicates of signatures on the original petition. A claim that is currently being verified. Put simply,
The Secretary claims to have done not the first, or the second, but the THIRD review of the Original petition, AFTER it was stated to the Justice that 1629 signatures on the original were not contested. In his third exemplary review of the original petition he claims to have found 30 duplicated signatures that had previously not been noticed by himself, his staff, or his legal council. 374 – 30 = 344. 344 < 371.
I will not go into details on all of the errors in the two articles at this time, however I will state that neither of the news agencies attempted contact myself or the CPoSD76 prior to publishing their articles. An e-mail from MHN was sent to my personal account at 1:19PM, AFTER they published their article, and stating that they were “looking for a short, written comment to use”, to have it to them “before 4 p.m,” and criteria given by which the CPoSD76 comment must be framed. I did not know of the e-mail until 8pm. Both articles portrayed the numbers of the amendment inaccurately, and in a negative light.
Questions for your consideration:
Why didn’t they want to get a comment before publishing?
Why didn’t they ask the board why they needed to review the petition so many times if they had already done a thorough evaluation in Oct, 2016?
Why didn’t they ask the board why they would lead parents and the Justice to believe that all they needed to do to correct the postal code signatures was get the addresses, if that is not what they wanted/required?
Why didn’t they ask ANY questions of the CPoSD76, but simply want a statement?
Why didn’t they report that board and admin question the legality of Justice Tilleman’s decision to allow an amendment, but choose not to pursue a challenge of it?
A reporter wanting to get the truth, and facts would have asked questions. None were asked.
It has been 2 weeks since the CPoSD76 submitted their amendment to the Petition. Considering that an amendment to a petition had not been done before, upon giving the amendment package to the Secretary, I requested a timeline on it’s evaluation. Witnessed by the Chairman of the Board, and other concerned parents, I inquired whether we could expect the timeline outlined in the School Act. Both the Secretary and the Chairman stated that we could.
Section 269 of the School Act States – “269(1) When a board of a district situated wholly or partly within the boundaries of a city receives a petition calling for a public meeting that is signed
(a) by 25% of the parents, who are also electors, of the students in a school, or
(b) by the lesser of
(i) 2000 electors, and
(ii) 25% of the electors,
the board shall within 21 days from the date that it receives the
petition (in this case, the amendment) publish notice of the public meeting to be held under this
section in accordance with section 270.”
At this point, we have only to wait. Since the Legal Council for the District informed the Justice during the appeal that the district was not contesting any other aspect of the petition, other than what was addressed in the amendment, we need have only to wait for the evaluation. With only 400 signatures to evaluate, I expect we should hear from the Secretary soon.
A post will be made as soon as a response from the District has been received. Thank you for your patience.