Editorial: Government should have finished its work before dropping the writ

If you smelled something unpleasant in Morinville Monday, it wasn’t necessarily Champion’s famous blend. Chances are it was a little sidewalk steamer Education Minister Thomas Lukaszuk and his government left in the middle of Main Street. To be clear – we are referring here to a figurative little steamer and not a literal one, although one is as nasty as the next.

With the writ dropped without some closure on the Morinville school issue, Lukaszuk and the PCs have left us all to guess and speculate until such time as we mere municipal residents are deemed worthy of some sort of response. Given they all became mere candidates at 10 a.m. Monday morning, it is possible we will hear nothing until such time as the election is over, a government is formed, and an education minister is selected. Will that be Lukaszuk? Your guess is as good as ours.
Look, we understand that Lukaszuk got a lot of opinions at his town hall meeting in Morinville Mar. 15. We get that Bill 4 still needs to be proclaimed. We get that maybe Bill 2 needed to be passed as part of the grand plan, and that for good or for ill the Wildrose prevented that from happening before the election was called. We get all of that. We really do.

What we do not get is the government not having the decency to express common courtesy by standing up and telling this community, “Sorry, we hoped to get this done before the election, but we couldn’t. Here’s why.”

Regardless of where any individual member of the community stands on the school issue, we are all in the same boat now, rowing around in a sea of uncertainty, left to piece together clues from those of us Lukaszuk deems worthy of granting a reply to on Twitter.

Whether you think it is unfair that public school kids still have no school that has a gym, library and room for growth, or whether you think it is unfair that one of the four Catholic schools may be given over to another system, the real lack of fairness is in drumming up a community during a town hall meeting, giving 8,569 people hope that a resolution to this long, divisive issue was soon to be made, and then leaving an entire community hanging in the balance while politicians campaign to save their jobs for the next four weeks.

Perhaps an answer is forthcoming in the next few days, and if such is the case we will gladly eat crow. But to keep this community in the dark 12 days after we were told a decision on infrastructure would be made in a matter of days is disrespectful to every parent and every student in Morinville.

We cannot reasonably expect answers to be granted before proper decisions can be made, but we can expect politicians to give us a more public response to why “an answer soon” is not an answer given soon without having to piece together a theory from Lukaszuk’s Twitter tweets.

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  1. The decision should have been made and should have been announced already. How ignorant would it be if it was left to be dealt with until after the elections? I’m sure everyone with any interest in this issue, regardless of their stance, just want an answer now.

  2. The Minister could make an announcement about a public school in Morinville, even if Bill #4 is not proclaimed. He has the power in the existing School Act to transfer jurisdiction for Morinville from GSACRD to Sturgeon, and to transfer a school from one jurisdiction to another effective, for example, on July 1st. He could complete his work, in St. Albert, after the election. Delay is not a matter of any legal requirement or limitations.

  3. Mr King:

    You are right, the Minister can transfer jurisdiction from GSACRD to St. Albert Protestant with out the need of Bill 4. Thereby satisfying the need for a secular school, and for keeping the “public” Catholic system. The parents that are looking for a secular school that is not faith based have every right, and St. Albert Protestant School system provides that for them.

    By changing GSACRD from the public system to a true catholic school system (the only faith based public system in Canada) is disenfranchising a large number of families who like the public faith based system. This is why I chose to send my children to schools in Morinville.

    The Minister definately could have solved the problem if this would have been done when the arguments for a secular school first arose over a year ago.

    Further to that for an area that has a population of approximately 90,000 people (Sturgeon County, St. Albert and the five towns) why is there a need for three school divisions? The minister could actually do away with Sturgeon School Division and introduce cost savings as well.

    So yes Mr. King, the Minister can solve the problems without Bill 4, and I certainly hope he takes my suggestions, thereby not disenfranchising a single family in the area. Because after all Mr. King, being a former politician, you should know that disenfranchising people is definately not the way to go.

  4. Here we are again with bad feelings left in the communities and people demanding someone else give in or be bussed out. Given that these issues predate Mr. Lukaszuk by several Education Ministers it makes me wonder why the issues were not settled long before an election was called.

    I may live long enough to see the issues resolved. After this is all settled people still have to live in the same community, children play together and maybe even attend church together. Let’s try to remember that. I doubt that any of us are going to be completely pleased by whatever future Education Ministers do.

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