Residents of northeast Winnipeg may be forgiven if they are experiencing déjà vu this summer. Lawn signs are again sprouting up in protest of another Pallister PC disaster. Last time we saw this, it was a two-year-plus campaign by local residents voicing their opposition to the planned elimination of Concordia Hospital’s emergency room.
Thanks to the community’s visible opposition, the government backed off on its original proposal and we were able to maintain an Urgent Care emergency service. Not what we wanted, but better than the ‘nothing’ that was originally planned.
This time, instead of eliminating our ER, the Progressive Conservative government’s Bill 64 will eliminate all school boards across the province and replace them with a centralized provincial education authority comprised of political appointees. It’s a power grab of the worst sort at the worst time.
The centralized approach and the elimination of school boards was tried in New Brunswick by the Liberal government of Frank McKenna in the early 1990s, only to be rolled back in 1999 when, ironically enough, the PC government of Bernard Lordrealized what a mistake it was not to have an effective structure to govern public education.
The community sign campaign in opposition to Bill 64 has been made possible because the NDP, as the official Opposition, used its limited legislative powers to delay the bill’s passage. The Pallister PCs still have time to come to their senses.
Eliminating all democratically elected school boards and replacing them with a centralized politically appointed authority has nothing to do with enhancing our public education system. Its provisions are aimed at control, compliance, and standardization.
Anyone concerned about this reckless bill should join the many other Manitobans who have already signed up to speak against Bill 64 at legislative committee this fall. Simply call the Legislative Clerk’s office at 204-945-3636 and tell them you would like to speak to Bill 64 at committee.
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On another note, it is great to see all the gardening happening. Elmwood-East Kildonan city councillor Jason Schreyer and I were able to each contribute 20,000 packets of garden seeds to area residents and personally distribute them to our respective residents’ home mailboxes.
If you have any questions about other provincial programs, feel free to contact me at 204-415-1122 or email me at Jim.Maloway@yourmanitoba.ca
Elmwood constituency report
Jim Maloway is the NDP MLA for Elmwood.