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Democracy More Than Elections

Christy Clark Conquers Westside-Kelowna

Strong families are the building blocks of our future

The Premier and Hamish

This is a democracy post to follow Canada Day. We all have a duty as citizens to protect democracy, to abide by the Canadian Constitution and its accompanying Bill of Rights, to respect its ideals, and to uphold its institutions. More than 17,000 citizens of Westside-Kelowna discharged their duty well and got out to vote. Reportedly, 10,600 cast their ballot for Christy Clark. The Province Newspaper wrote, “At a victory party in Kelowna, Clark thanked those who voted for her and promised to take her constituents concerns, hopes and advice back to the legislature with her.”

A Kelowna correspondent, Jim Judd, quoted Premier Clark as saying “there may be a high school reformation of sorts in the future…”We should be restructuring our education program,” she continued. “We need more trades training, more arts in the schools and we need to be providing more job readiness.”

Clark held up Club Penguin, a Kelowna-based computer technology-based company which was purchased by Disney Corp, as a shining example to make her point about importing job training into BC high schools.

Abbotsford Provincial Court Applies Family Law Act

In high conflict divorces the government has a strong financial interest in keeping parents fighting. One of the most common tactics by the British Columbia Ministry of Children and Families is to tell one parent that the other parent is unfit and that they as the protective parent must take the unfit parent to court or the government will consider that they have abandoned their children. This saves the government hundreds of thousands of dollars in court costs per family. And immediately abandons all hope of mediation or of dealing with the complex details surrounding many unfit parents.

We have started to apply the new British Columbia Family Law Act in our Abbotsford Provincial Family Court. It is intriguing to see Judges ask, "What about mediation?" in high conflict divorce situations and see both lawyers roll their eyes at the thought of trying to set aside twenty years without any co-operation between the parents. However, mediation truly seems to be replacing the adversarial divorce systems around the world. Perhaps newly divorced or separated parents may go straight to the much harder work of trying to deal with the kinds of problems, like addiction or mental illness, that caused high conflict divorces under the adversarial approach.

Abbotsford Parent Group Ignores Unlawful Constitution

Public access to documents is the cornerstone of our democracy

Here is the Constitution of the Abbotsford District Parent Advisory Council. It is not the one that parents voted for because someone has added Section and Sub-section numbers to this version, but one way to have avoided this non-disclosure would have been to post the Draft Abbotsford Constitution just like we post our Canadian Constitution. Changes to our DPAC Constitution were made at the October 2012 DPAC meeting while the DPAC executive were all resigned for elections that never happened. The Constitution of our Nation guarantees all citizens the right to vote. Our DPAC Constitution is a little murky about who gets to vote for the DPAC Constitution or executives. There are 19,200 public school parents in Abbotsford, but technically only one parent from each of our 46 schools gets to vote at a DPAC meeting and this person would need to be a DPAC Representative from that school. Since no one really knows who are or are not DPAC Representatives, and there is no scrutineer – not even candidates have scrutineers – the voting at DPAC meetings is pretty loosey goosey. Whoever shows up gets a vote.DPAC Constitution

Worse, at some point apparently a decade ago, Section XI of the DPAC Constitution created a right of appointment for any DPAC executive positions vacant in December. The voting for DPAC executives is to be held in May, as we did this May 2013. Somehow, our DPAC has often failed to elect executive in May, sighting the lack of a quorum of ten, but rarely failed to APPOINT executives in December, even when two candidates were asking for the same position.

We had approximately a dozen parents show up to vote on May 23, 2013. If we were lucky enough to have all parents actually be DPAC Representatives, that was an election turn out of approximately 27%. I was offered a chance to speak prior to a secret ballet vote and told the parents how important the DPAC organization was as the voice of Abbotsford parents and about my commitment to repealing the Section XI appointment bylaw. I have been talking to officials about the DPAC Constitution’s lack of respect for democracy and that this bylaw appears to silence the voice of all Abbotsford public school parents by replacing everyone’s right to vote with an appointed DPAC executive. School board officals wash their hands of the matter, saying the DPAC Parent Council is autonomous. I agree it should be difficult to change any organization’s founding documents, because it’s like revising history, but if the DPAC Constitution is unlawful or disrespects democracy this is an immediate concern which requires not only an amendment but also the attention of all Abbotsford parents, especially if our DPAC executives intend to run as School Board Trustees in November 2014.

If you are an Abbotsford public school parent or DPAC Representative and you would like to learn more about our Constitution just send me a comment below or an email.

Fun Canada Day Tweets From Our Five Female

Premiers

Canada Flag childs hand

La fête des bulles d’amour – le 25 avril, 2014
Ensemble, nous sommes capables de beaucoup.
Il n’y a que 288 jours avant la journée de sensibilisation!

Bubbles Of Love Day – April 25, 2014
Together We Can Make A Difference
Only 288 days till Awareness Day!

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