Fighting for democracy – Lawyer’s letter – May 15, 2014


(This is a final attempt.)

Object: The rights of Mister Chris Eustace

Maitre Hamel,

The Quebec Education Act grants our client at section 168 the right to ask questions to
the Board at the public meetings.

Section 220.1 establishes that the commissioners must present the content of an annual
report and answer any questions concerning this report.

The LBPSB rules for internal management at section 6.4 specify the following:

Question Period for the public

6.4.1 Two question periods are reserved so that members of the public may address
Council through the Chairman, to ask questions or present petitions on issues relevant
to Council, as determined by the Chairman.

6.4.3 The second question period will be at the end of the agenda and reserved for
questions that have arisen from items on that agenda.

6.4.4 Each question period will be of no more than 15 minutes duration.

6.4.7 Each member of the public will be limited to 3 minutes to ask a question or make a
comment.

6.4.8 A member of the public may present their question and/or comments in writing
through the live blog.

 

6.4.9 Decorum at Council meetings will be strictly upheld. All persons will show respect
for others, whether present in the room or not, in language and conduct.

6.4.10 The Chairman may use discretion to terminate any speaker’s privilege
to speak or exclude a speaker from the meeting if, after due warning, the speaker
persists with conduct or comments which are not appropriate.

We believe that your client is trying to limit the capacity of our client which as you know is running for Chair in the upcoming school board elections to ask questions. It seems to our client that your client, Madame Stein Day, is in a conflict of interest and should not be the judge of which questions our client can ask or not ask.

As you may well know, our client, a retired school teacher, has been a very much
involved tax payer, and has demonstrated a constant competence in the afi‘airs of the
Board.

This competence is demonstrated by his attendance for many years, at school board
meetings, where most of the time, strictly as a volunteer, he is the “public”.

Moreover, editors of several English and one French newspaper have published his many
writings which were aimed to improve the elected school board system.

Some of his contributions to the board include these ideas: the webcasting system,
defibrillators in all schools, the concept of the student ombudsman, and an improvement
Code of Ethics for Commissioners.

With the help of others, our client was most instrumental in putting an end to the practise
of diverting funds from the regular operating budget in the hundreds of thousands of
dollars ($l00,000’s) for the creation of Pre-Kindergarten classes.

Other recommendations which the Board employed due to the intervention of our client
is the publication of Executive Committee Agendas, which were non-existent for over 10
years and the disclosure of commissioners’ salaries.

It should also be noted, our client for years has submitted his questions and comments, in
advance of the meetings, to the Board, including all commissioners, the Directorate,
Central Parents Committee, the Minister of Education and the two Opposition
counterparts.

The submission of questions and comments, in advance, was done in the spirit of
fairness, to give opportunity for the Board to research answers and respond
appropriately. This competence has given him a good reputation in the community, well
before the arrival of Madame Stein Day.

 

 

We also note that your client, Madame Stein, made contradictory allegations when she
accused our client of calling the police, and we now hear in the Media a tape where,
using her position as chair, she is the one who initiated the call to the police.

This contradiction in the ofiicial and private words of your client makes us wonder what
is the real reason, and why she wants to limit or decide the questions of our client at the
meetings, which are public in their definition.

If you were to meet him, or watch interviews that he gave in the Media, you would see
that our client is a very reasonable and well-spoken person.

If Madame Stein cannot take some questions, our client thinks she needs to resign fiom
the Board and let someone else respond to the questions.

The whole reason our client sent a formal notice to the Board earlier this year is because
he was not able to ask questions.

This situation has been created by Madame Stein Day. Please advise your client to
govern herself accordingly and let our client ask questions.

If not, our client does not exclude any recourse including a Mandamus procedure at the
Superior Court to make sure his rights guaranteed by the Quebec Education Act are
respected.

Regards

Jeremie John Martin, attorney

Original Letter