Monday, February 22, 2016

Minutes from the Community Meeting with Grant Hunter, MLA

Friday, February 12, 2016
Community Meeting with Grant Hunter, MLA

FACILITATOR QUESTIONS
Grant Hunter’s comments:
- He got into this because he is a father and a grandfather – he’s doing this for his kids and his grandkids
- This is a town-hall meeting – these meetings are great – to be able to see the people and to talk with them


QUESTION: In politics, we often find ourselves speaking about “parties” when for most of us, being involved politically is far from a “party”. Could you explain the purpose of political parties?
ANSWER:
- A political party is a representation of ideologies and policies
- NDP has a majority – 54 of 87 seats
- Wildrose is the official opposition
- Alberta has had 144 years of PC rule – NDP’s are new here in ruling in Alberta
- Voters should look at policies and ideologies, not just charisma and well-given speeches


QUESTION: I once heard a member of parliament say that by the time you vote, your opportunity to have any influence on government is long past. Is this true? If so, as constituents in this riding, what methods do we have to influence the decisions of government?
ANSWER:
- The best time to get involved is during the nomination process – you have a lot more say/influence then – consider the number of voters at that level compared to the number of voters involved at the provincial election – so, it is important to get involved in your party/constituency nomination so you can have input as to the leader of your party/riding
- You can get involved
o Example: Bill 6 – 32,000 people signed a petition
§ It was the largest rally at legislation in history
§ Because of that, amendments to Bill 6 were made
- It is very important that this group here tonight realizes that you can get involved and can make a difference


QUESTION: If one were to do a quick search of recent newspaper headlines, there seems to be no mention of the Wildrose party taking a stand on these current issues (bills 7 and 10). Why is that?
ANSWER:
- Bill 10 has been passed
o GSA’s can be set up for even 1 student and the school must provide a teacher liaison
o Was first discussed in 2014 and not passed but was then passed in 2015
§ Amendments were made
§ For parents to know about their children in school was taken out of the Human Rights Act
o Bill 7 was a reaction to Supreme Court ruling that the term “transgender” does not only refer to a sex change, but also just identifying with a gender
- We have to be careful as a society – if you change traditions too quickly, you can cause instability in a society
- Personal belief that everyone’s rights should be recognized
- When social issues arise, if Wildrose oppose the NDP, the media will take their message and show the Wildrose party as homophobes and bigots and their real message will not get out
- The Wildrose party believes that the fight is between the Education Minister and the school boards
o Wildrose wants to empower school boards
o They believe that if enough school boards stand up, they will be okay
- 52 of 61 school boards have sent letters saying they will not implement all of the guidelines
- Wildrose wants to empower the people to stand up


QUESTION: Recently there has been discussion in regards to “uniting the right”. Do you feel this is necessary and if so what will it take for this happen?
ANSWER:
- Personally is for uniting the right
- Within the next 3 yrs, we will be 60-80 billion dollars in debt
- The PC’s lost their compass
- We have had great PC’s
o Ralph Klein – believed in the Alberta Advantage
§ Low taxes, small government, let the people be successful, don’t get in their way
- Socialist government does not last long – the economy crumbles
- Right now, we are 24 billion dollars in debt
- Ed Stelmach – 1 yr, deficit of 9 billion dollars
- Budget will come out March 8 – will have 11-13 billion dollars more deficit
- Rachel Notley – same strategy as Obama, in that she sought out 4 groups of voters – female, young, unions, minority groups (immigrants & First nations)
- The oil sector has lost 170,000 jobs
- No jobs lost in the public sector
- We need to unite the right
- The PC party has been destroyed
- To unite the right, we need to get the conservative values and policies back



OPEN QUESTIONS:

QUESTION: In this constituency, how many school boards have stood against the guidelines?
ANSWER:
- Horizon, Westwind, Holy Spirit
- They sent back saying they’ll do some, but anti-bullying policies for ALL students


QUESTION: Has Minister Eggen responded to this pushback?
ANSWER:
- Bill 10 originally exempted Catholic, Christian, and charter schools – but that was amended
- The guidelines came from bill 10, bill 7, and the Supreme Court ruling – his interpretation of them – he is using a model from New Brunswick


QUESTION: question about parental rights
ANSWER:
- The government sees this as a one-fit-all solution – downtown Calgary and here in Southern Alberta need very different solutions
- We need people in the trenches to be involved in the law-making, not just bureaucrats


QUESTION: If I more from here to another school, I still want my kids to be safe
AN SWER:
- Parents need to keep their rights
- School boards are elected by their group of people – each school board has policies that suit their division
- The squeaky wheel gets the grease, but this doesn’t represent the rest of the people


QUESTION: question about the teaching of Sexual Education
ANSWER:
- They want to do away with the division of gender
- Eventual plan to discuss all types of sexual practices with the children with no option of pulling them out
- Bill 10 and Bill 7 were brought up because of Supreme Court rulings
- The UN says that parents’ rights trump the rights of minors




QUESTION: question about the bringing forth of Bill 10 and many citizens were not aware
ANSWER:
- You all need to get involved
- Push back in a respectful and classy way
- Show your opposition


QUESTION: If this goes forward, has the government considered the number of kids that could be pulled for homeschooling?
ANSWER:
- There is no precedent – thus no study on the impact


QUESTION: Other than writing letters, what is the best way to represent our voices?
ANSWER:
- Write letters
- Get involved in any board, ie. School board, chamber of commerce, councils, etc.
- The biggest problem in Alberta is apathy
o The silent majority is busy

Comments by MP Jim Hillyer:
- Bill 6 is one of the only times that public protest has resulted in amendments
- They made some changes because they saw the public outcry and saw it could hurt their policies
- The most effective things we can do:
o Write letters
o Sign petitions
o Cause our neighbors to care!!!
- Be careful to “throw our arrows at the right place”
o Make sure we’re not fighting against ourselves
o We will not all agree on all things all the time – but as long as we have the same values, policies, etc, we need to make it work (not exact wording, but general idea)


QUESTION: Can there be a referendum?
ANSWER:
- Most likely not, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try
- [After more asking of this question, Mr Hunter asked for a show of hands of how many people would like him to take this to his caucaus]
o Mr Hunter has promised that he will take this matter before his caucaus

Comments by Sara Baril
- Founder of P.R.O. Children Alberta website (Protect the Rights Of)
- The Facebook group she started, consisting of parents concerned over these issues has 17,000 plus members over 3 weeks
o It is a secret group, because the setting can’t be changed after 5000 and it grew so fast, but this is a blessing, because there was an open group based on Bill 6 and there was a lot of backlash
- Send letter to Eggen, and be sure to cc them to Mark Smith
- Sign petitions – online or hard copy
- Keep writing letters
- This has to be fought by the parents and grandparents
- Our job is to wake up the rest of Alberta
- It’s all about the parental rights
- Leave religion at the door – we have rights and they have rights – we all have to be respectful
o Focus on the real issues

Closing remarks by Grant Hunter
- We need to pay attention – the NDP’s want to change the fundamental fabric of our province – we need be aware of what’s coming
- What can we, as citizens, do?

February RES Council Meeting Minutes

RES Council Meeting
FEB 10, 2016
9am

In attendance Marlin Hogg, Jaime Jensen, Elaine Ross, Nancy Rose, Natalie Ball, Alana Sala, Rachael Miller, Connie Shurtz, Christal Bevans, Cheri Gilbert, Carmen Lowry, Loretta Cahoon


Rachael Miller

Council Business
-Big thank you to parents for teacher treats and supervision that was provided for teachers last month greatly appreciated by all teachers

-Decided to delay community member addition and delegated to Natalie Ball to ask for next years council

Marlin Hogg

-Brief discussion on current issue {division’s safe and caring schools policy in response to government’s LGBTQ guidelines} Reading of document on its points and entirety,  fielded questions

-it is noted that Mr Hogg is in favor of policy and its contents
-questions and scenarios presented  on abuse of the policy and the rights of the parents and children
-what warrants not speaking to the parents
-reiterated that this is for ALL students’ safety

-noted that this is a draft policy - still a draft
-bathroom signs on staff bathrooms will be changed to sport a male/ female to be used by public {visitors only policy} they are gender neutral {it means our teachers gave up there staff bathrooms to accommodate this  bill and guidelines – hopefully by next week there will be 5 gender neutral bathrooms in our school

-a request that the Feb 22 school councils’ joint meeting be changed so that a public Westwind meeting can be held on that date in Magrath
-council decided to have the division meeting on the 22nd and then decide if a school council one is needed there after

-Grant Hunter to hold  a meeting Feb 12 @ 7pm Senior Center here in Raymond to address issues of bills trying to pass that greatly affect all of us

Elaine Ross

-One Book, One School assembly Feb 29th @ 9 am to unveil this year's book and theme

-need 16 dozen chocolate cupcakes Mar 2/3  they will be .50 cents each
-money from proceeds will be donated to the Kainai Shelter and food bank - a great cause

Zakk Morrison

AHS Health Promotion Coordinator
-Presentation on “Healthy Snack Fridge” project
-information needed to discuss the possibility of doing this at our school, what it is and how we go about it if we so choose
-Jen Wegwitz wrote up a proposal in favor of moving on with this venture and feels our school would greatly benefit from it
- Mr. Hogg wholeheartedly supports this venture and feels it would be a great thing for our school in helping our children
-Healthy students / better students
-big/little – it’s for everyone 
-cost for fridge is $4500 to get started
-Does it get abused? -it is self regulated but needs a teacher to be on the committee to oversee - Jay Bright is the Wellness Coordinator for the school
- needs fundraising and volunteers for food prep
-carrot sticks, apple sauce, muffins, bags of apples, etc. to run - needs parent donations and many volunteers
- Grants available to support this project
-would see a decrease for lunch requests from the office with the fridge

-decided this is a year or two strategy to work towards but decided to hand it over to Jen to head a committee if the time permits for them
-Council decision that a committee separate from school council would be best at this time, although committee head would be a member of school council

-Discussed Friday Tasting days from peppers to pears and trying new things and seeing how that goes for awhile next year if we so choose to go that route - voted on pursuing that idea - all in favor
-maybe set up a survey with help from Ms. Bright

Rachael Miller

-PLEASE do parent surveys sent in the mail and send in if you have questions or comments send to Mr. Hogg who will forward them to division office

- discussion on allocation of funds for next month - what % to what places - voted on and all in favor
-  to grade 1's and 2's reading program this year


Loni Sala

-presented “in-school field trip” idea put on by the U of L for different grades so they come to the school
-$120 fee and $3/kid - amazing programs but pricey for our school
-maybe fundraiser council fees to subsidise the cost
-teachers get 2 field trips a year, one education and one fun - so that adds in to the suggestion too

Cheri Gilbert

-$300 towards 5 grade 1's and the grade 2 classes reading program prizes
Voted
Cheri 1st
Rachael 2nd
and Christal/ Alana /Natalie/ Nancy/ Loretta -Forwarded in favor


Voted on approving current council goals being set as our 3 yr plan, and the goals to focus on this year will be revisited in the future
Rachael 1st
Alana 2nd
Christal /Cheri/ Alana/ Natalie/ Nancy/ Loretta

Voted to revisit in September on evening meetings as teacher hours have been upped significantly might not be fair to ask for all the extra time on our behalf
Rachael 1st
Alana 2nd
Christal/Alana/ Cheri/Natalie/Nancy/ Loretta

Adjourned

Till March 9th, 9 am

Public Meeting for LGBTQ Policy Issues Feb. 22

Westwind School Division will be holding a public meeting on February 22 at 7:00 PM. The meeting will be held in the Magrath Junior Senior High School’s Tom Karren Gym. The Board wants to hear the questions, concerns, and comments of parents and community members about the Division’s draft Policy 310.0 - Welcoming, Safe, Caring, and Respectful Schools Policy, which addresses Bill 10 and the recently released Policy Guidelines. You can also watch our LGBTQ Policy Issues video series, which may answer some questions. 
We encourage everyone who is interested in these issues to attend and participate. For those who are not able to be there in person, we will be live streaming the meeting on our Youtube channel.

The purpose of this meeting is to listen to the public’s thoughts and suggestions regarding the Board’s draft of their Welcoming, Safe, Caring, and Respectful Schools Policy 310.0. We want to make sure that this meeting is productive, respectful, and efficient.


Thursday, February 11, 2016

Community Event: A Conversation with Grant Hunter, MLA

Just to let you know of an upcoming community event taking place on Friday Feb 12, 7pm. A conversation with Grant Hunter, MLA. Everyone welcome.




Monday, February 8, 2016

RES February Council Meeting

RES Council Meeting
Feb. 10, 2016
(Which will be starting promptly at 9:00 am, in the conference room)

-        Mr. Hogg –
o   Brief discussion on current issue (division’s Safe and Caring schools policy in response to government’s LGBTQ guidelines)
§      He will answer what questions he is able to from the information given at the principal’s mtg
o   Will do technology presentation next month

-        One school, one book – Elaine

-        Presentation by Zakk Morrison, Health Promotion Coordinator, on the Healthy Snack fridge project
o   Will just be presenting what a Healthy Snack fridge program is and how we would go about getting one at our school, and what is involved
o   This presentation will give us the information needed to discuss the possibility of doing this at our school  

-        Parent surveys  - coming out this month
o   Need a plan to encourage parents to fill them out – discuss

-        use of funds
o   money to gr 1’s and 2’s  - vote
o   Loni – indoor field trips
o   Jen – healthy snack fridge
o   Natalie(check with her) – buddy bench
o   Tether balls?
o   Other
o   VOTE

-        Goals – quick review of what has been sent out
o   Any changes
o   Vote
o   What to focus on for the rest of the school year

-        Evening training mtg – vote on revisiting this in September (or June)

-        Important dates for the next month

-        Other
o   Next month’s mtg – March 9th
o   Idea brought forward for next year Christmas fundraiser - Rachael


Thursday, February 4, 2016

Pro Children Alberta Have Your Say!

Parents, just a reminder to those of you concerned about the government's LGBTQ policy and Bill 10: if you are opposed to it or concerned about it you need to write letters/emails to your representatives. If you don't voice your opposition, they count you as agreeing with it. So if you are opposed, you must let them know!! It does not need to be a long letter, but it is the number of emails/letters that will get the point across.
There is a great website: prochildrenalberta.org that has all the addresses you will need under the "be informed" section.
Also, the division is currently working on their policy concerning this issue; if you have concerns that you want addressed, you can let them know by sending them email, at board@westwind.ab.ca

P.R.O. Children Alberta
Protect Rights Of Children Alberta
PROCHILDRENALBERTA.ORG