Politicians must put kids first
Our front page story this week involves one very public faux pas and two very different takes on it. Welcome to election politics.
Local MLA Rob Anderson sees Education Minister Thomas Lukaszuk’s controversial comment as proof that the Progressive Conservative government considers politics before it grants funding for school space.
He has a good reason for doing so. Just two months ago, the public learned that PC MLA Hector Goudreau wrote a letter to a Catholic school division ordering officials to stop complaining or risk funding for school.
“In order for your community to have the opportunity to receive a new school you and your school board will have to be very diplomatic from here on out... I advise you to be cautious as to how you approach future communications as your comments could be upsetting to some individuals. This could delay the decision on a new school,” Goudreau wrote.
Minister Lukaszuk says his own comment (see story on front page) is being taken out of context and that he just wants Anderson and the Wildrose party to support him in finding new ways to pay for schools. He says he would never resort to bullying.
We believe that, in this case, the education minister did not intend to threaten the parents of local students. However, given his government’s record on the issue and the Province’s wilful denial of local schools for years, we think Airdrie residents are right to be wary.
The bottom line is this: There can be no link between politics and classroom funding. Any politician of any stripe who threatens, implies, suggests, hints or signals in any way that classroom space will not be funded if voters choose another candidate should be run out of town immediately.
Anything less is is akin to holding children hostage for political gain and our community will not stand for it.