Remove Sookie, Insert Foot (A Vignette in the Sookie Saga)

I thought I’d add a little bit of information on the Halifax School Board debacle, to make the picture more complete, if I can. I hope Kevvyd doesn’t mind, since he’s doing an excellent job on this, but this ended up being a little lengthy for a comment. I’ve done a fair bit of legal research and worked to get legislation passed, so, while not a lawyer, I’m becoming pretty familiar with interpreting the law.

This morning, in the Daily News, fired Board chairman Gary O’Hara assumes that the rest of us can’t or don’t want to look into things on our own (he may be right, but that’s what we’re here for – to do the reading that you don’t wanna) by stating

“The only people that have the right to fire me are the people that elected me,” he said. “If you look at the legislation in the Education Act, it says that the minister has the right to strip the school board of its powers, but it doesn’t say she has the right to fire us.”

Au Contraire, Mr. O’Hara. Here’s Section 68 of the Education Act (emphasis mine):

68 (1) In carrying out its responsibilities and in exercising its authority under this Act, a school board shall comply with the policies of the Department of Education and Culture and the directives of the Minister issued in accordance with this Act.

(2) Where, in the opinion of the Minister,

(a) the health, safety or educational welfare of the students of a school are endangered or the resources of a school board are not being used in a responsible manner;

(aa) a school board has failed to meet the standards referred to in subsection 64(6); or

(b) the school board has failed to comply with a request of the Minister to take corrective action,

the Minister may appoint a person who shall carry out such responsibilities and exercise such authority of the school board as the Minister determines and in such manner as the Minister determines and, to the extent the Minister determines, the school board ceases to have such responsibilities or authority. 1995-96, c. 1, s. 68; 2002, c. 5, s. 12; 2004, c. 3, s. 18 .

Now, if it were me, and I ‘ceased to have responsibilities’ at work, I’d figure I was pretty much done. If you have no responsibilities, you have no job, by definition. The Minister has followed the law, effectively and properly, if a little slowly. The dismissal is not wrongful, even if you limit yourself to not reading the long list of responsibilities in Section 64(6), if you remember back far enough to recall the last Minister, Jamie Muir, warning the board that it should get its shit together pronto.
1. Warning,
2. failure to heed warning,
3. dismissal.
If it works that way at McDonald’s, it certainly applies here.

I’ve also seen that some former members resent being grouped in with those they consider the ‘troublemakers’. Whether you actually argued or dissented or stole or cheated or not, you contributed to the descent of the Board into chaos by your action or inaction, as the case may be. You are all responsible – omission of an action is punishable as well as action.

A final note: did anyone else notice how reasonable Doug Sparks seems without the Board pissing him off? Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?


3 thoughts on “Remove Sookie, Insert Foot (A Vignette in the Sookie Saga)

  1. Flash,
    I just read the Daily News article and this quote struck me:
    Several former school board members are saying they will continue with board duties.
    Judging from what they obviously thought their duties were before, do you think they are going to each others’ houses to piss and moan on their own time?


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