Tories, NDP clash over education, protest at premier’s home
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 18/03/2021 (812 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
UNDER fire in the legislature over alleged education spending cuts and its intent on doing away with school boards, the Progressive Conservative government lashed out at an NDP MLA for “promoting” a demonstration earlier this week outside Premier Brian Pallister’s Wellington Crescent home.
Cabinet minister Kelvin Goertzen said he’d never heard of an MLA protesting in front of another MLA’s house.
“To organize or participate or promote a protest in front of a private residence of another MLA is not only disgraceful, but I believe unprecedented…” he told a raucous question period on Wednesday.
The target of Goertzen’s wrath was Fort Garry MLA Mark Wasyliw, a former Winnipeg School Division trustee, who had risen in the legislature to question Education Minister Cliff Cullen about the government’s planned education reforms.
Goertzen first attacked Wasyliw’s record as a school trustee, then accused him of participating in the protest, which largely consisted of a train of honking vehicles looping in front of the premier’s home Monday evening.
Wasyliw, standing on a path on the crescent’s median, shot a 45-second video of the event and posted it on Twitter.
Speaking to reporters outside the legislature on Wednesday, the NDP MLA denied having anything to do with organizing the event. He said he is a neighbour of Pallister’s and was out walking his dog.
“I was there for five minutes,” he said. “It was a peaceful and lawful protest.”
Wasyliw said he has “absolute sympathy” for the protesters, who were expressing their concern that the PC government plans to do away with democratically elected school boards.
Earlier in question period, the NDP tabled a ministerial briefing document, obtained through freedom of information legislation, that indicates total school division funding for the current fiscal year will be $4.2 million less than last year.
NDP Leader Wab Kinew said a lack of provincial funding has forced school divisions to cut teaching positions and nutritional programs.
Cullen later told reporters the government has committed to a 0.5 per cent increase in funding to school boards for the 2020-21 fiscal year.
Larry Kusch didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life until he attended a high school newspaper editor’s workshop in Regina in the summer of 1969 and listened to a university student speak glowingly about the journalism program at Carleton University in Ottawa.