Question: Do you think that the charity ban is discriminatory to organizations like the Red Cross and Sick Kids, and will you vote to overturn it?
Answer: As you know, there was a consultation process ending June 1, 2018 that showed 74% of all respondents were against the Sanctity of Life Motion (SOLM). The results are available at www.hcdsb.org, meetings and minutes (19/06/2018 7:30 pm). On August 28th the Board will meet to consider these results and make recommendations for changes to the funding policy that will be ratified on the following Board meeting on September 4 th, 2018. Based on the results of the consultation process I would support the decision to overturn the SOLM.
Question: Given the amount of controversy brought about this year over lack of consultation with the public and potential violations of the Education Act, how will you restore accountability and public confidence in the board?
Answer: I will restore confidence by being available to constituents, doing my homework to thoroughly understand all sides of an issue, proceeding with integrity and respect for due process and for provincial guidelines that delineate the role of a Trustee. I recognize that this issue has been very divisive for our community and I hope that I can lead by example in resolving this and other issues through reasoned debate and respectful resolution.
Question: With mounting pressures on students to do well academically to succeed, it has raised the issue around mental health. How will you as a trustee tackle this issue.
Answer: We all share a collective responsibility as a Catholic community to do what is within our jurisdiction to help students with mental health issues and students who are in crisis. A partnership of Board staff and administrators, students, parents, trustees and other stakeholders needs to work together to create an environment that is safe for these students and works at the level of prevention, access to prompt professional help, and ongoing support. As a first step, I would be interested to learn what the Board offers in terms of mental health support to students and staff and to understand how effectively the programs that are already in place are working. It would also be useful to explore what other Boards are doing in this area and to see what other health care sectors offer.
Question: Finally, the current incumbents have connections to political lobby groups that push a message that has been at odds with us the constituents, do you feel that this is detrimental to democracy and how will you hold your colleagues accountable?
Answer: I can only speak for myself and I have no ties to political lobby groups that would influence how I would make decisions as a trustee. I will hold my colleagues accountable by ensuring that our work is within our jurisdiction of responsibility and ensuring that wide consultation is sought from our constituents on any issues that impact the Board and our staff and students. To do otherwise, would be in violation of our mandate as trustees, and subject to sanction.