Tuesday, April 1, 2014


The president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of School Councils tells me that he felt intimidated and bullied by the Honourable Minister of Education, Clyde Jackman during a confrontation following last weeks budget.

Nathan Whalen is a non-partisan individual. The 2012 URock Volunteer Award winner invests hundreds and hundreds of hours each year into the community on top of running his own business, holding down another job and attending university.

Whalen told me that he has “never been spoken to so disrespectfully in my entire life” and that he was appalled that a Minister of the Crown would speak to a citizen in such away”

Nathan is much more the diplomat that I am. He immediately wrote the Premier in the hope that the issue might be addressed. When I learned from Nathan what had occurred, I was outraged.

My outrage resulted in a call to VOCM Backtalk when I heard the Minister talk about his personal values and how proud he was about the anti-bulling initiatives that he had brought forward. 

With the thought of the way in which the Minister had given the President of the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of School Councils a dressing down the day prior, I was enraged. As far as I was concerned, the minister’s comments were a public display of hypocrisy.

As one can imagine the NLFSC has had the occasional disagreement with other groups involved in advocating or delivering education in this province. There are plenty of competing priorities and finite financial resources.

The NLFSC is a volunteer organization. We are not a propaganda wing of the government nor are we a propaganda wing of the NLTA, or any opposition party.

Our mandate is to express the genuine concerns of school councils from across the province. It certainly is not to act as a propaganda wing of the provincial government – no matter the stripe.  We collaborate on many things, praise where warranted and continue to advocate.

According to the province’s blurb about volunteer week there are there are  197,000 volunteers who contribute a total of 35 million hours of valuable unpaid time in a concerted effort to make our towns and province stronger. Additionally, there are almost 23,000 people employed by volunteer and non-profit organizations who contribute to both social and economic programs.

“They are integral and vital to the continued social, cultural and economic development our communities and province. This week while we celebrate let us encourage others to get involved.”

Why would people want to give-up there scarce personal time to be the subject of abuse, insults and bullying by our elected officials? 

Democracy lets us speak our minds, participate and help shape our, and our children's futures.

This is the type of arrogance and thuggery that has led the Progressive Conservative's to their current position in the polls. 

Minister Jackman's behavior just goes to reinforce this writers belief that the political powers that be are not as contrite as they would like us to believe. The behavior is very much the opposite of the Premier's touchy-feely approach.

The politics of reversal is an illusion.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Every citizen of this province should go to the HOA during question period, or worse yet normal debate, to experience first hand the utter contempt this government has for our people. Not because of their polcies or their politics. They are in the house wathcing movies on IPADs, chatting about this, or about that. There is minimal to no engagement with the debate. Bullying is bad enough, but contempt is even more insulting. Whoever becomes the next premier needs to bring some order and respect back to the Ministers, and the HOA. Until that happens people will continue to view politicians in despair. Good article. This young Nathan is one to watch, and when he gets older, pays taxes, he will eventually come to think "How did I say that?" But it comes with experience. The budget was too rich for students.