Critic silenced at LBPSB board, Letter by SSD, Editor’s note, and comment by Chris Eustace

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

The Suburban
With regard to the above-captioned article, I can assure you and your readers that questions on air quality, ethics, enrolment and overhead are not barred, have been asked repeatedly and have been answered.

Mr. Chris Eustace has been barred, not because of personal comments made, but because he chose to break the rules that were explicitly laid out on several occasions. This was a decision taken by council, not by me, after the suggestion was made in caucus. No commissioner present had a dissenting opinion on the decision.

Our council will not tolerate personal attacks on individuals in our community, not on Commissioners, past or present, not on any of our staff members. Mr. Eustace knows this and chose to ignore this. I asked him to take a seat three times. He did not comply and therefore I requested assistance from our security guards. This is my job at Council meetings—to maintain order.

The story was also inaccurate about my comments to questions he asked. I did not say that the board will wait until all testing for radon is complete before releasing more information. What I said was that in any given school, it would be irresponsible to report on the findings until the results from that school were completed. In fact, we have finished testing almost two thirds of schools and have reported the results. Further, the story neglected to mention that the results at St. Patrick’s school were well below standards and our measures were preventive, not remedial. Should any Governing Board (which is not mostly made up of parents, but, by law, has an equal number of parents and staff), they only need ask their principal to get the report. Schools report to Governing Boards, not Council.

As for replacing two retiring commissioners, my answer was that we had several candidates who met our criteria express interest and that we felt that widening our postings would not have yielded better candidates for the short remaining time in this mandate. Lester B. Pearson School Board remains totally transparent in its dealing with our community.

Suanne Stein Day
Chairman, LBPSB

Editor’s note: We stand by our reporter on specific details. Mr. Eustace was told to sit down without ever asking a question nor was there a response given when Mr. Eustace asked “Why?” Only when our reporter asked after the meeting about the ban was the information outlined in this letter proffered. The questions on radon were asked by The Suburban and not by Mr. Eustace.


It has become increasingly apparent that Suanne Stein Day is not suitable to be chairperson of the Lester B. Pearson School Board.

The Suburban editor’s note following SSD’s letter to the editor is telling. It brings to mind the corrections The Montreal Gazette had to write-up two months ago following SSD’s comments to The Gazette reporter who wrote the article: ” Essential service or needless bureaucracy”

No question, Suburban journalist, Robert Frank wrote an honest piece, just like Catherine Solyom, Gazette education reporter did…. It’s good to know that amongst us, we have reporters with integrity.

SSD makes reference to “personal attacks” that I made … whom ?
Anyway, funny, but at the same meeting SSD barred me from speaking, the president of the support personnel of the board told the chairperson :

” I know how busy you are with the international school and its travel commitments as well as all the many TV, radio and newspaper interviews and all your other commitments but surely you can fit us in somewhere , this affects at least 370 employees or more who work in our schools and it cannot be taken lightly. ”

Apparently, the president had been waiting TWO years to settle a contract. The union has 1500 employees…..these are the people who help students succeed in school …..what a shame to keep them waiting two years…what negligence, what arrogance , what a disgrace….

At the Pearson board, SSD is chairperson of the Communication , and the Ethics and Governance Committees.
The page listing Commissioner Committee Reports lists 17 committees. The Communications Committee link shows jiberish ; the Ethics Committee does not even exist…..
This is very sloppy and negligent…..SSDay gets paid for chairing those committees……Is this the way to run a school-board?

On the matter of Ethics….The LBPSB has had only one case involving the Ethics Commissioner….the two protagonists in the case, which was heard this year, are SSD and me…..all the commissioners know full well what it’s about….but the bottom line shows to what degree , what length the chairperson will go NOT to answer questions involving board administrative expenditures…..

As a taxpayer, it is my right, as indicated in the Education Act, to ask questions at a public meeting. The barring by SSD puts the chairperson in a very poor light and is dragging the LBPSB down.

This menace to democracy attitude is a bullying tactic, a sign of weakness and an embarrassment to the LBPSB community… SSD should do the right thing and resign as chairperson of the LBPSB.
Chris Eustace

p.s. the calling of the “security guards” bit has been erased from the webcast tape… why ?