Opinion: NDP Education Critic Rob Fleming’s attendance at meeting was ‘interference’ and ‘political opportunism’ – MLA Larson

By on March 9, 2016
MLA Linda Larson.

MLA Linda Larson.

I want to thank Osoyoos-and-area residents who attended last night’s public consultation meeting at the Sonora Community Centre and gave input on the school closures issue.

This was the second of two well-attending meetings at which members of the public presented their thoughts to school board members, who will consider every option before making any decisions affecting the future of either Osoyoos Secondary School or Osoyoos Elementary.

Local residents giving input on an important local issue is at the heart of a constructive process.

What is not constructive, however, is interference in the form of political opportunism, specifically from Victoria MLA Rob Fleming, the Opposition NDP’s education critic.

This is a difficult time for our school board as it grapples with the effects of declining enrolment and the possibility of closing either of these two schools.

That is why suggestions and potential solutions from local people are welcome and encouraged. Local students, parents and taxpayers have a direct interest in the fate of our schools – and they deserve to have their opinions heard and considered.

What our community doesn’t need is Mr. Fleming’s continuing sideshow, which serves no purpose other than to address his and his party’s desire to bash the B.C. government at every turn.

As a long-time resident of this area, and as a parent and grandparent, I understand the community attachment to our schools. Needless to say, this issue concerns me deeply and I support the decision reached Tuesday night to have a third party help with the ideas presented.

I have repeatedly brought forward the community’s concerns to the Minister of Education so that he understands the issues in our riding.

I support any and all viable options for keeping our schools open. However, this decision will not be dictated by politicians in far-off Victoria.

Local residents elected our school trustees to make difficult decisions and it would be disrespectful – not to mention downright wrong – to take that responsibility from them.

I have always had our communities’ best interests at heart. I also firmly believe local decisions should be made by the people who know the community best – the people who live here.

Linda Larson, MLA, Boundary-Similkameen

Special to the Times


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  1. David Smith

    March 9, 2016 at 7:49 pm

    What bull-s__t! “”…this decision will not be dictated by politicians in far-off Victoria.” It already has, Ms Larsen, MIA, in case you missed it, the Provincial budget deals another massive blow to education is this province. It’d be real nice if our (supposedly) constituency representative took some active interest in happenings and opinions in Osoyoos – not just her home turf, Oliver, and started actually representing us in “far-off” Victoria instead of, as per Harper’s trained seals, simply parroting Crusty Clark’s stupidity. Heads up, so-called Liberal Party! The education crisis is just starting to build. The election can’t come soon enough!

  2. Debra Hupp

    March 9, 2016 at 8:57 pm

    No. She was invited to attend and chose not to.

  3. Kate

    March 11, 2016 at 9:47 pm

    She has an obligation as an MLA to attend meetings such as this.
    I commend Mr. Flemming for attending the meeting as voices need to be heard!
    When schools are closed and heat is cutoff halfway through the day requiring children to wear coats in class…..that is worse than 3rd world education, and Ms. Larson should be ashamed of supporting a government that does that! Shame on all Liberals who support that!

  4. Rolf Spaeti

    March 13, 2016 at 8:18 pm

    Nice try MLA Larson….lol..You should have been there in person, not write a comment days later. Rob Fleming cares about education in this province.

  5. Alan

    March 14, 2016 at 10:33 pm

    Wow, I can’t believe you actually wrote this, MLA Larson. Seriously??
    If you do not represent us by actually attending meetings, then who does represent us from Gov.? Is Osoyoos not part of your district?
    This is a local issue, and it is a provincial issue as that is the source of funding, is it not? Political profiteering or not, Mr. Fleming at least showed up, and spoke very eloquently. Too bad you were too busy to do the same. He was attempting to speak for us. It would be nice that we could feel the same way about you. One thing that quite frustrated me about the meeting last week was this. We were all expected to be polite and cordial in the face of a devastating decision. We are potentially being handed a bowl of dung, and are expected to enjoy it being spoon fed to us from a group that seems more determined to shut us down than find solutions. Then, in the absence of all decency, the moderator stood his ground as well as he knew how, to not allow a hand full of students to have their say because it might have meant an extra 60 seconds out of his day. That was the breaking point for me. Do not believe that you can march into this community and demand our subservience as you make decisions that will have devastating consequences on this community. I can think of a place where that attitude can be shoved, and I think you can think of it as well. Now go do the right thing.

  6. Bob Parker

    April 3, 2016 at 11:33 am

    First term MLA Linda Larson should RESIGN.

    Between her lack of handling of these school closures and her attack against local supporters of the National Park . . . Linda is going to assure an NDP win in the next election.

    Bob Parker

  7. Bob Parker

    July 18, 2016 at 8:55 am

    MLA Larson just doesn’t get it . . . but the premier still spends tax dollars supporting this disgraced MLA . . . we deserve better.

    Bob Parker
    Disillusioned member of the Liberal Party of BC.

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