Friday, February 16, 2007
This was indeed a strange site.
Two Cabinet Ministers in front of a Judge in Saint John. I might add it was the same Judge who presided over my trial.
Some people told me that it was a good move because it wasn’t fair for a social worker to face an angry Judge.
What do you think?
As for the freedom part? .T.J. Burke in a joking manner told the media and he bought some extra clothing just in case Judge Judge William McCarroll sent the Minsters to Jail?
Trust me? I saw the anger of that Judge toward the prosecutor during my trial and it’s not a pretty picture!!!
You can read the story by clicking below -
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Stuart Jamieson- I voted to ban you for life from the Legislature!!! Can I have you banned from the City also???
While I am not a primary “stake-holder” in the Albert Street School issue (I live outside of the city and none of my children go to Albert Street School ), I have been following this issue with great interest since December. I am writing to you now because, despite my initial enthusiasm when your party came to power, I have reached the point where I am completely appalled by your lack of response to the compelling objections that have been raised against moving the school.
While I have many questions which I would like to ask you about this issue, I will restrict myself, here, to just a few:
1. When it became clear to your government that the Minister of Education’s initial “summary” of parents’ objections to moving the school had little relevance to parents’ real primary objections (e.g., real objections like the ones summarized in Tom Beckley’s recent Daily Gleaner article and like the ones I mention below), why did you not respond, publicly and quickly, to these real concerns?
2. Why has your government gone so far as to misrepresent your constituents’ most forceful objections to moving the school? In his interview with the Gleaner (Jan. 9/07), the Minister of Education insists that, even after having given the public “every chance to make arguments”, he finds the presented arguments unpersuasive. However, the only “arguments” he addresses in this interview – and the only arguments he has addressed since – are the same tired ones he mentioned in his initial December press release (e.g., parents’ concerns for their own property values, the “tradition” of having a school on Albert Street , etc.). I know for a fact that the Minister has been aware, for many weeks now, of several other much more compelling arguments (many of these other arguments are, as you know, summarized in Tom Beckley’s article). Why is the Minister determined to give the public the misguided impression that parents’ only motivations for resisting the school move are either narrow self-interest or misguided nostalgia, when he knows full well that these parents have much more forceful and legitimate grounds for their objections? Why is he intent on misrepresenting and discrediting those who call his plan into question? Surely, you don’t want your constituents to get the impression that you not only have contempt for their concerns but are actively trying to prevent their real concerns from being heard.
3. Why has your government repeatedly framed this issue as if “the amount of available outdoor space for students” somehow trumps all other factors in making this decision? While increasing outdoor space for students is clearly a good thing, is this, by itself, sufficient grounds for such a decision? What about all of the other relevant issues (e.g., students’ walking distance to parks, art galleries, legislature, and other community-central institutions, just to name one)? According to your “maximization of outdoor space” logic, it would seem that, if you are to apply your principle consistently, all downtown schools should eventually be moved to the margins of the city, where there is more space. Is this your government’s “long-term plan”?! I wonder what downtown Fredericton will look like when you’re through.
4. Once it became clear to you that your plan to move the school was predicated on an archaic and disastrous urban planning model (i.e., shifting vital social institutions to the periphery of cities has consistently wrought havoc in American communities for the last several decades), why did you make no attempt to re-evaluate your plan? Indeed, though this major flaw is, by itself, sufficient to discredit your whole plan, you have yet to even acknowledge it!
I realize that many political issues, because they are complex and many-sided, require complex and many-sided solutions. The Albert Street School issue, however, is an obvious exception:
1. Short-term demographic trends (e.g., how many children could currently walk to the proposed Kimble Road location as opposed to the original Albert Street location) should have no substantive bearing upon long-term urban planning decisions (e.g., building schools). As you well know, the demographic make-up of neighbourhoods changes constantly, and quickly. The Minister’s mantra “three times the space for three times the students” is nothing but empty rhetoric.
2. No responsible government reverses a major decision involving this level of social impact without first engaging in substantial public consultation. The Minister of Education’s failure, in his December press release, to grasp the real reasons the public wants to keep the school where it is attests to just how little serious public consultation you have sought. You have yet to deal with this issue responsibly and democratically.
3. No responsible government would micromanage, from the provincial level, what should clearly be a local decision.
4. Removing vital social institutions – e.g., schools – from a city’s downtown core hurts the whole community, adults and children alike. I could offer countless examples of communities in the United States which have been ruined by urban planning policies like the one you are striving to implement. Downtown schools are an asset for students, in particular, but also for the whole community. This is such an obvious and fundamental point, it shouldn’t even have to be mentioned.
I do hope that your government will not sidestep this issue by simply replying, yet again, that “reasonable people can disagree” in their beliefs where controversial issues are concerned. Such a reply is a cop-out. This is not about mere “beliefs”; it is about reasoned arguments (as the Minister of Education himself insists in his Gleaner interview). In short, your responsibility is to respond, point by point and in detail, to the concrete objections raised against your plan, objections which you have thus far ignored. Moreover, I hope that you will not resort to the rhetoric of the Minister of Education’s December press release: his sharp distinction between the “interests of parents”, on the one hand, and the “interests of children”, on the other, is simplistic and artificial. Indeed, a cynical person might be inclined to interpret the Minister’s exclusive focus on “the children’s interests” as a means for quickly dismissing any adults who raise objections to your plan. Please stop pitting parents against children as if they were distinct “interest groups”; and please acknowledge that there are collective community interests at stake here.
I can assure you that, as a result of the Albert Street issue, the integrity of the current New Brunswick government is very much in question in the minds of many people. Of course, one way in which a government can easily demonstrate its integrity and good will toward its constituency is to admit when it has made a mistake and to take the necessary steps towards correcting that mistake. Your government currently has the opportunity to demonstrate its integrity in this way. Will you do this?
While I am cc-ing this letter to the Minister of Education, I am not interested in receiving a response from him. I insist, respectfully, on a direct and prompt response from you.
Associate Professor of Philosophy
St. Thomas University
CAST YOUR BREAD UPON THE WATERS, FOR AFTER
MANY DAYS YOU WILL FIND IT AGAIN. GIVE PORTIONS
TO SEVEN, YES TO EIGHT, FOR YOU DO NOT KNOW
WHAT DISASTER MAY COME UPON THE LAND.
( ECCLESIASTES 11:1-2 *NIV )
Many people have wondered what is meant by "Cast
your bread upon the water, and you will find it." Well, it is
An old Hebrew Idiom meaning to give to charity and it will
be returned to you.
After all it is written: HE WHO IS KIND TO THE POOR
LENDS TO THE LORD, AND HE WILL REWARD HIM FOR
WHAT HE HAS DONE. ( PROVERBS 19:17 ) This is
because, THERE WILL ALWAYS BE POOR PEOPLE IN
THE LAND. THEREFORE I COMMAND YOU TO BE
OPENHANDED TOWARD YOUR BROTHERS AND
TOWARD THE POOR AND NEEDY IN YOUR LAND.
( DEUTERONOMY 15:11 )
So Charles, always remember those who are in need,
and the homeless among us: SO THE POOR HAVE HOPE,
AND INJUSTICE SHUTS ITS MOUTH. ( JOB 5:16 ) After all our
Savior Jesus Christ said, "I TELL YOU THE TRUTH, WHAT-
EVER YOU DID FOR ONE OF THE LEAST OF THESE
BROTHERS OF MINE, YOU DID FOR ME." Amen.
( MATTHEW 25:40 )
With My Love & Prayers,
your servant Allen
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