VICTORIA— Boundary–Similkameen MLA Linda Larson’s refusal to attend public meetings on planned school closures in Osoyoos shows that she isn’t committed to representing the needs of students and families in her own constituency.
“MLA Larson is taking a page out of Premier Christy Clark’s book by refusing to listen to the real concerns of families facing similar closures across the province,” said New Democrat spokesperson on education Rob Fleming. “When people in communities across B.C. raise concerns – whether it’s about school closures, environmental concerns, or having bus passes for people with disabilities heartlessly clawed back, Christy Clark calls them a ‘ragtag’ group and ignores them.
“It’s clear Christy Clark has issued a directive to MLAs like Linda Larson to follow suit.”
Fleming said Education Minister Mike Bernier, and local MLA Linda Larson, should both be attending these public meetings so that they can really understand the effects of their failure to properly support our public education system.
“MLA Larson should be the voice for Osoyoos in Victoria, not the voice of Victoria in Osoyoos,” said Fleming. “MLA Larson should not be hiding from constituents at a time when they are looking for leadership from their MLA.”
On more than one occasion, Larson has said that there is no point in her attending public meetings on school closures in Osoyoos. She has now gone so far as to say that Fleming shouldn’t attend either.
“As a parent with two children in our school system, I understand the concerns being raised by families in Osoyoos who risk losing their school. As the New Democrat spokesperson for education, it’s my job to advocate for parents and students when their schools are under threat, especially when their own local MLA refuses to do so,” said Fleming.
For years Christy Clark’s government has been downloading costs onto school districts, and over the last two years they have forced them to cut $54 million in administrative spending at a time when administrative spending is lower than in any other school system in North America. The result is that districts have been left with no choice but to close schools.
Under the Christy Clark government, more than 200 schools have closed, many of them in rural communities across B.C.