Brian Jean: A letter unanswered

A letter unanswered Brian Jean

Rarely have I felt so belittled and disrespected. After volunteering hundreds upon hundreds of hours defending our families and our freedoms against government overreach, Mr. Jean had the audacity to tell me to my face that “you need to do more” – suggesting he still won’t take a stand for our children!  

Those were the words I sent to a friend, shortly after an hour-long meeting with Brian Jean, MLA Leela Aheer and three Wildrose staffers on January 27th, 2017.

I never wrote anything publicly about that meeting. There didn’t seem to be a point in sharing about such an unproductive hour.

That is, until now.

On October 28th members of the United Conservative Party (UCP) will vote for a new leader, a person who could potentially become the next premier of this province.

And it is essential that people are as informed as possible when they make that vote.

Even after such a disappointing meeting, I still wanted to give Brian Jean the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps he mis-spoke. Perhaps I misunderstood.

I stayed awake most of that cold January night, typing a letter to Brian Jean to explain my concerns and ask specific questions. The letter would offer him the opportunity to clarify.

His staffers assured me I would receive a reply in a couple of weeks. But even after a follow-up email and a phone call to their office, I still received nothing.

It’s been nine months. The letter remains unanswered.

More concerns have piled up in the meantime, but those can wait for another day.

For now, I invite you to read the letter for yourself.

Use it to inform your vote as to who is best suited for the leadership of the UCP.

And if you haven’t already done so, invest in a $10 UCP membership before September 29th so you can have a vote in this important decision.

Now, more than ever, we need a leader who will consistently prioritize the education of our next generation without faltering or wavering in his commitment to ensure the highest standard of care for our children.

Choose wisely.

=====================================================

 

January 31st, 2017

Dear Mr. Jean:

First, I commend xxxx  for his prompt scheduling of the meeting on Friday, as well as the warm welcome and respectful attention of Leela, xxxx and xxxx during our meeting in Calgary to discuss concerns related to our education system.  I am deeply grateful to each of them.

However, while I am very appreciative that you could join us for part of the meeting, your comments and tone left me feeling far more frustrated and disheartened.

Allow me to explain.

#1: “Accelerated change”

You commented that the pace of change to our education system has “accelerated” under the NDP.  I agree. Yet part of that successful acceleration has been the lack of resistance they have faced in the Legislature.

It seems the NDP know that as long as they frame this issue as “LGBTQ rights” that the Wildrose won’t touch it. After all, who wants to be burned by the “lake of fire” twice?  The NDP must be thrilled with how effectively their messaging efforts have incapacitated the Wildrose Opposition. This paralysis has allowed the NDP to grant their allies a free pass to our education system when it comes to the imposition of Gender Unicorn ideology and advocacy onto every school, child and family in Alberta.

It is essential the Wildrose demonstrates the strength to reframe and confront the real issues at stake, namely that the NDP government is eroding individual freedoms, imposing blatant government over-reach into the sphere of the family and violating Alberta Education’s own standards. 

xxxx and I represent tens of thousands of frustrated Albertans who are your base of conservative grassroots support. These Albertans feel alienated and exasperated by the lack of representation in the Legislature on this issue. How can you presume that you will personally be entrusted with leadership of any future conservative government when the Wildrose under your leadership does not seem to have the fortitude to publicly and consistently represent foundational conservative principles?

Question: Will you reframe and confront the NDP’s false messaging and represent principled conservative leadership by defending individual freedom and limited government in the context of these critical education issues?

 

#2: “You need to do more”

During our meeting you claimed we “need to do more”.

Let me be clear: We have written thousands of letters, mobilized 4,500+  people to show up at simultaneous rallies in Edmonton and Calgary and collected tens of thousands of petition signatures.  We had a thousand brave souls who took to Twitter for our #protectABkids campaign. I have been on the front lines, taking a very public role in the media spotlight to vocally criticize the massive changes to legislation, policies and teaching resources.

Question: As someone who has personally sacrificed thousands of volunteer hours to this issue, I insist that you define and quantify exactly what you mean by needing to “do more”. What standard must we meet in order to finally gain public representation by our elected conservative politicians in this province?  Please be specific.

 

#3: “Only 22 MLAs”

You explained that you have a “limited budget” and “only 22 MLAs”.

First, I have a $0 budget and 0 MLAs and have personally managed to make plenty of noise on this issue. Yet as a citizen I remain relatively limited with how much influence I can have. How much stronger we would be at raising public awareness and ensuring the NDP are held accountable for their brazen actions if we had our citizen efforts combined with the efforts of 22 MLAs who actually represented those same concerns inside the Legislature?

At our meeting on Friday you seemed to portray your role in opposition as a position of weakness. Yet you have incredible power – power that has been entrusted to you by those who elected you to represent them! 

Why do you have some misguided notion that standing up to the lobby groups and media will be easier if/when you form government?  Ask Rachel Notley. Being in opposition is easy compared to being government – in government everyone attacks you and you have more power to lose.

If you feel that 22 MLAs cannot influence any change then why bother showing up at work at all?  It certainly hasn’t stopped you from raising a ruckus on the carbon tax. In fact, I applaud you for successfully holding the NDP’s feet to the fire on that front – even with “only 22 MLAs”.

Question: Aren’t our children, our freedoms and the integrity of our education system as important to you as our economy? Why can’t the efforts of your 22 MLAs be equally invested into holding the NDP accountable on all education concerns as well?

 

#4. “Why aren’t you going to court?”

If only it were that simple.

Going to court is not the only way to change poorly-written legislation. Strong democracies elect representatives to their Legislature who are supposed to understand it is their responsibility to write and amend legislation to best reflect the needs of the people. Strong democracies ensure transparency, accountability and oversight and prevent too much power being vested into the hands of a relatively few appointed court judges.

An unwillingness of legislators to actually do their job leads to an over-reliance on the courts which will ultimately undermine our democratic freedoms.  It is unprincipled conservative parties and lazy democracies who forfeit rights and freedoms into the hands of a few unelected individuals within the court system.

Also, as xxxx has explained, court action may not produce favourable results. The Alberta bench is increasingly occupied by “progressive” judges that lack the fortitude to accurately apply the law and arrive at an unpopular decision. The risk of bad precedents is very real. If no reasonable judge is found at the Queen’s Bench of Court of Appeal, then a case must be brought before the Supreme Court, where there is no guarantee the case will even be accepted. Even if it is, 4 years will have passed in the meantime – by which time lazy legislators will have allowed who knows what else to infiltrate our education system.

Amending s. 16.1 of the School Act and revising policies is a faster and more certain way to achieve freedom and justice in the area of education. Many conservatives are aware of the ideological bias on the bench and understand that court action is full of risk. They should and do look to their elected representatives more than to unelected judges with zero public accountability who may not respect their values or freedoms.

Going to court will also not solve the foundational problems. It may put some reasonable limits on poorly written legislation but it will not change the resources and policies which are currently being imposed on our education system which, as I shared during our meeting, replace critical thinking and respect for multiple perspectives with political activism/advocacy, coercion and intimidation.  Going to court is not a reason for legislators – who are supposed to be accountable to the electorate – to abdicate their responsibility.

 

Concluding words

During our meeting I was taken aback at your tone – which felt more condescending/dismissive than constructive/respectful – and how little you responded to any of the concerns I raised. Frankly all I heard were a series of excuses for not standing up for our freedoms and the integrity of our education system.

Be assured that I take my role very seriously in representing the tens of thousands of Albertans who are still waiting for an elected representative to defend their freedoms and families when it comes to these education concerns.

I also care deeply about the integrity of our education system and will continue to vocally and publicly speak out until necessary changes are made.

A strong party with strong leadership will not be ashamed to represent its own principles.

Why can’t you pursue a stance on education with the same fervour that you pursue the oil sands and pipelines? 

When you demonstrate that you are only occasionally willing to defend your principles then your principles become no more than deceptive and hollow rhetoric. 

If you actually expect people to take you seriously then you need to believe that you can inflict serious change on every portfolio no matter whether you form government or the opposition.  We, the people of Alberta, rely on you to publicly and vocally call out the government anytime it attempts to over-reach. Make it loud!

I applaud your recent announcement of being willing to unify into a single conservative party and agree it is essential in order to ensure the defeat of the NDP in 2019. But if you do head into any potential leadership race, you need to understand that your response to these education issues and concerns, as well as your track record of addressing them, will become extremely important to grassroots conservatives who are your voting base.

That said, I hope you will take the time to respond meaningfully to the questions which were left unresolved from our meeting and which I have raised throughout this letter, as well as the attached overview document I have provided.

I look forward to working together to resolve these questions and concerns in order to ensure our freedoms, and the standards of our education system, are upheld in our great province.

Sincerely,
Theresa

 

 

 

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Stirling’s secrecy motion defeated in Edmonton schools, for now

EPSB board meeting vote Sept 12 2017

The results are in: Three courageous trustees stood for families and for the safety of all children by defeating the secrecy motion put forward by Trustee Bridget Stirling.

Stirling’s use of the rare “waiver of notice of motion” – never used before in this 4 year trustee term – would have forced a hasty debate and vote with only 6 days notice, instead of allowing for the full month that is normally required.

Because of its rushed timeline, procedure states that a “waiver of notice of motion” requires unanimous support from the nine trustees in order to even proceed to debate.

With 6 trustees in favour and 3 opposed, the waiver of notice of motion was defeated.

This is in no small part because of you, the caring parents and citizens of Edmonton.

Thank you to those who responded on a very short timeline.  In less than 48 hours you sent an influx of messages of concern to trustees, urging them to consider the issue more deeply. Had you not sent in your messages, they never would have known the magnitude of public concern.

Thank you to trustees Orville Chubb (Ward C), Ken Gibson (Ward E) and Sherry Adams (Ward I) who heard your concerns and wisely decided that a decision so important deserves proper consultation, analysis and debate beyond just six days notice in order to make the most effective and informed decision for the care of students.   Let them know you noticed and that you appreciate their vote.

They took a stand for you and your children.

Now you need to take a stand for them.

Because I guarantee that the attacks will now come.

Unfortunately those who raise reasonable and legitimate concerns are all too often labelled as being extremist, anti-everything and against children.

Yet nothing could be farther from the truth.

It is precisely because we care for the safety of all children that we continue to speak out in support of families, transparency, accountability and a thoughtful, balanced approach.

It is because we love our children that we will fight to be part of their lives, even when certain elected representatives feel others are more suited for the job.

Long-term health

Trustee Bridget Stirling may be well-meaning, but her presumption that children’s health outcomes would be improved by enforcing blanket motions of secrecy and isolation, is wrong.

A child simply having a space to talk with peers and gain support in schools can be beneficial.

However, if we truly care about the long-term health of any child then we should not stop there.

Our priority must always be to move toward engaging sources of support beyond just the school, especially when children are struggling and at-risk. Most often, this will be the child’s family, but could also include health professionals, counsellors from agencies beyond the school, etc.

If a child relies solely on a peer-support group within the four walls of a school, then what happens when that child moves to a different school or a different city?

A child with multiple sources of support will have much stronger long-term success than a child who has relied on only one source of support.

Open-ness, transparency, and a focus on mediation and enhancing communication leads to health.

Fostering an attitude of secrecy and an inherent mistrust of others does the opposite.

All hands on deck

Trustees Chubb, Gibson and Adams, along with other candidates who are taking a strong stand for informed decision-making, families and the safety of children, need your support more than ever.

This next month will be intense. It will be a trustee election like no other.

The decision of which candidates end up forming our next trustee boards in the province is completely up to you.

According to Bridget’s tweet tonight she plans to still be on the Board after the Oct. 16th election and will continue to push for her privacy and confidentiality motion.

Electors in Edmonton’s Ward G will decide whether that happens or not.

If you truly care about the education of children in this province then don’t sit on the sidelines as we lead up to the important October 16th election.

Learn about the candidates in your school district (refer to the list being compiled by Parents for Choice in Education).

And, most importantly, step up to support the candidates who will best represent your concerns and values:

1. Sign-up as a volunteer.
2. Donate money to print signs and brochures.
3. Door-knock.
4. Vote
5. Tell every single person you know to do the same.

It doesn’t even matter if a candidate is in your area. This is the time we need all hands on deck, no matter where you live.

And my last piece of advice is this: You will likely hear media reports trying to smear the courageous individuals who do care about the safety of children and the importance of families. I urge you to bypass the media spin and make a decision based on what candidates have to say for themselves.

One way you can learn where candidates stand is to sign up on the homepage of Parents for Choice in Education so you will receive candidate questionnaire responses delivered directly to your inbox as soon as they are released on October 1st.

So there you have it, Albertans.

The power is in your hands. If you don’t like how your trustee voted then it’s time to replace them.

This motion – and the fact that Stirling intentionally connected it to the Minister Eggen’s recent decision to amend the School Act – only goes to show that if you do want to be part of your child’s life then you will need to fight for it.

Now more than ever.

BREAKING NEWS: Will Edmonton Public Schools break the law & block parents?

door with blocked tape resampled

Question: Should school staff be forbidden to share information with parents regarding a child’s activities during the school day?

That is the question that will be up for debate by Edmonton Public School Board (EPSB) trustees on Tuesday September 12th, thanks to a motion put forward by trustee Bridget Stirling:

Motion that the Board of Trustees affirms our commitment to protecting the privacy and confidentiality of sexual and gender minority students as stated in HFA.BP and HFA.AR, including students’ participation in gay-straight alliances and queer-straight alliances, and will not disclose information about students’ participation in these groups to any person without the student’s consent.

… Further, the board will submit a recommendation that protecting student privacy and confidentiality in GSAs be included in the proposed amendments to the School Act.

Here are four immediately obvious concerns with Stirling’s proposed motion:

1. The Law

The law says that parents have a legal right to know what is happening during the school day, including their child’s participation in extracurricular activities at school.

The law does not state anything about this information being contingent on a child’s permission.

For example, the Alberta Family Law Act, SA 2003, c F-4.5 states:

21(4)(a) …each guardian is entitled to be informed of and consulted about and to make all significant decisions affecting the child in the exercise of the powers and responsibilities of guardianship…

21(6) …each guardian may exercise the following powers:

(a) to make day‑to‑day decisions affecting the child, including having the day‑to‑day care and control of the child and supervising the child’s daily activities …

(c) to make decisions about the child’s education, including the nature, extent and place of education and any participation in extracurricular school activities

These laws exist for a reason – for the protection of children. It is audacious of Stirling to suggest that somehow she can cherry-pick whatever laws she wishes to follow when it comes to the care of almost 100,000 children attending Edmonton Public Schools.

The question must be asked: Why is it that only participation in these certain groups should be considered worthy of a special cloak of secrecy that directly violates Alberta’s Family Law Act?

If schools are permitted to operate without the oversight and accountability of parents then it introduces more risk to children, not less.

2. Developmental Needs

Any parent or teacher knows there are vast differences between the developmental needs of a kindergarten student and a high school student. Yet Stirling fails to include any age, maturity or developmental distinctions in her proposed motion.

There are times that students misbehave in class, fail exams, refuse to do their homework or skip school. What would happen if policies required school staff to get a child’s permission first before sharing any of this information with parents?

It is reckless and developmentally inappropriate to insist that the information shared with parents is contingent on the judgement of a child as young as five years of age.  Children are not miniature adults and we should not expect them to be.

3. Safety Risks

If Stirling was truly concerned about the privacy of children then she would ensure that the GSA Network, which directed children to sexually graphic material, was not still collecting personal information from K-12 children in order to provide private “support” to them.

Yes, that is actually happening.

“Experts” who publicly provided links to children directing them to sex toys, videos of naked people engaging in sexual acts and advice to “pay for porn” are still using their website to collect the name, school and contact information of K-12 children without any knowledge, consent or oversight of a teacher or parent.

Where is Stirling’s concern about protecting a child’s privacy in that situation?

To ensure the safety of children, parents deserve to know the materials being presented to their children and the people who are accessing their children at anytime during the school day – this is especially true in light of the way GSA leaders have already severely violated the public trust and endangered children.

4. Logic

Is Stirling’s motion based on the false assumption that disclosing information about a child’s participation in GSAs/QSAs could lead to a child being “outed”?

If so, then she needs to re-evaluate her logic.

The very premise of these clubs is to bring together students who identify as LGBT+ alongside students who don’t – hence the name “Gay-Straight Alliance”.

Simply informing anyone of a child’s participation in a GSA does not “out” children since they often attend as allies to support others, not necessarily because they personally identify as an LGBT+ student.

Merely disclosing a student’s participation in a GSA/QSA reveals nothing about a student’s gender or sexuality.

Why the rush?

It is deeply troubling that a school trustee, entrusted with the safety of almost 100,000 children in Edmonton, would propose a motion that so blatantly defies law, logic, developmental age-appropriateness and safety risks.

But even more troubling is the hasty timeline Stirling is attempting to impose in order to limit debate on this important topic.

On Stirling’s blog she stated that she is planning to “request a waiver of notice of motion”.

Normally a regular “notice of motion” provides a month of time for trustees to collect information and consider a motion more fully before having to debate and come to a decision.

To request a waiver of notice of motion means that the debate must happen immediately, with very short notice.

Why the rush for something that would have such drastic consequences for the safety and well-being of children?

URGENT: Action needed

If you live in Edmonton, here is what I urge you to do:

Please take 10-15 minutes sometime TODAY or TOMORROW prior to the Board meeting on Tuesday September 12th to send an email to all the board trustees and the Superintendent (emails listed below) to let them know that it is reckless to consider this motion, especially on such a hasty timeline.

cheryl.johner@epsb.ca, michelle.draper@epsb.ca, orville.chubb@epsb.ca, ray.martin@epsb.ca, ken.gibson@epsb.ca, michael.janz@epsb.ca, bridget.stirling@epsb.ca, nathan.ip@epsb.ca, sherry.adams@epsb.ca, darrel.robertson@epsb.ca

Send this message to others you know living in Edmonton and ask them to do the same.

Understand that the scope of this motion not only impacts Edmonton, but also includes a recommendation that this privacy and confidentiality be legislated by the government into the School Act for all Alberta schools.

Encourage trustees to insist that Stirling bring forward her proposal with enough time to allow for proper public consultation, debate and informed decision making.

Most trustees are seeking re-election in the upcoming October 16th vote. In your message make sure to let them know that your vote is contingent on how they deal with this critical moment.

For the sake of all children, let’s work together to prioritize safety, not secrets.

UPDATE

September 12th Board Meeting results – READ HERE.

Will Alberta Education denounce collusion to silence its critics?

The following article was co-written by Donna Trimble, Executive Director of Parents for Choice in Education and Theresa Ng of Informed Albertans and will appear on both sites.

On August 23, 2017 Janet French, a reporter for the Edmonton Journal, made a discovery that website domains very similar to Parents for Choice in Education and Informed Albertans had been purchased in order to redirect to Alberta Education’s own website.

Janet French redirect of sites to AB Ed 01

Janet French redirect of sites to AB Ed 02

 

This means that if you happen to type the incorrect web address – for example, parentsforchoice.ca or informedalbertans.com or .ca instead of the correct addresses of parentchoice.ca and informedalbertans.wordpress.com – you will find yourself directed to none other than Alberta Education’s own site, specifically their “What is a GSA” webpage.

Janet French redirect of sites to AB Ed 03

 

While the online record does not display who bought these domains, it does display when they were all purchased.

That date was March 16th – just shortly after Theresa Ng published the blog post exposing how the government-funded and recommended GSA Network website was linking K-12 children to sexually graphic material, including images of people engaging in sexual acts, links to sex toys and advice to “pay for porn”.

Not surprisingly, the Alberta Education “What is a GSA” page includes a direct link to the GSA Network site.

Coincidence?

Absolutely not.

Janet French redirect of sites to AB Ed 04

Janet French redirect of sites to AB Ed 05

Collusion is an agreement between two or more parties, sometimes illegal and therefore secretive, to limit open competition by deceiving or misleading.

If a person, group or several parties conspire to silence another group by buying up online domains in order to confuse online searches and redirect traffic, this is collusion.

This is an attempt, by shadowy supporters of Alberta Education, to diminish the competition of ideas.

When this is done in a way that benefits the government and silences government critics, it crosses a line that should never be ignored in a democratic society.

Yet the Alberta Government has yet to condemn these tactics.

While no one knows the specific identity of the person who purchased the domains and set-up the redirect, there is no doubt that whoever it was supports the Alberta Government and intends to divert online audiences and suppress specific information and debate.

Both Informed Albertans and Parents for Choice in Education are parent-driven, grassroots, citizen organizations. We don’t have tons of staff and big money. We don’t have top tech experts.

We have our voice.

But now, in the province of Alberta, there are those who are deliberately attempting to silence us and the thousands of supporters who depend upon us to represent them.

We ask the Alberta Government: do you know who is colluding to silence your electorate?

Will you condemn those who are using subversive tactics to silence the voices of concerned citizens?

To the citizens of Alberta: we urge you to stand with us. Pay attention and realize that the material we provide – that so few are willing to meaningfully investigate and discuss – is important and should not be stifled.

Remember: When information and debate are being deliberately silenced, it is more important than ever to listen.

Be aware of media manipulation: Who benefits?

shutterstock_538509196 to post

Since when did an out-of-context Facebook post from 2010 become “news”?

Answer: Whenever Kristopher Wells and his friends ask the media to do their bidding.

Tyler Duce is a candidate running for the position of school board trustee in south Edmonton.

He is promoting the engagement of parents in their children’s education through a common-sense “Families First” platform.

And unfortunately, that puts a bulls-eye on his back.

Consider the following timeline.

Dr. Kristopher Wells digs up an obscure 7-year-old, out-of-context social media post from Tyler Duce and then uses his bully pulpit of Twitter to post his typical accusations.

KW targets Tyler Duce

A CBC reporter asks Kris Wells for more details.

KW asked for interview by CBC

And suddenly – for some strange reason – a screenshot from 2010 becomes the centerpiece for “news”.

Yet most troubling of all is that the media continues to turn a blind eye to the extremist, unprofessional behavior of the very person making the accusation.

Dr. Wells – in the past 18 months alone – has used his social media to compare Christians to Nazis, share pictures of naked youth and publicly post private messages from concerned parents so they can be mocked by his Facebook friends.

He was also personally in charge of the government-recommended website that directed K-12 children to videos of people engaging in sexual acts, links to sex toys and advice to “pay for porn”.

The media response? Crickets.

How is it that a 7-year-old Facebook post taken out of context is considered “news”, but the recent endangerment of our children, the discrimination shown to people of faith and the condemnation of loving parents still entitles Dr. Wells to a position of “expert” authority in the eyes of the media (see here, here and here for just a few recent examples)?

And how is it that Dr. Wells still retains his role as an authority over K-12 children in this province – providing research, resources, doing Professional Development sessions, accessing students and instructing our next generation of teachers – all without any public apology, accountability or responsibility for his unprofessional conduct?

Why are Kris Wells and the CBC are so eager to smear Tyler Duce with something they dug up from 7 years ago?

Is it because Tyler Duce is gaining ground on the incumbent trustee who just happens to be an NDP constituency president , as well as a Ph.D. student at the University of Alberta Department of Educational Policy Studies, which is Dr. Wells’ own department?

By placing his friends in positions on school boards and elsewhere throughout our education system, Dr. Wells ensures his “expert” influence is secure and his priorities are advanced into our schools.

And when he senses his candidate is losing ground then apparently he resorts to a desperation move.

If anyone truly and genuinely cares about the safety of children then they would not ignore the 4 inch stack of personally written letters mailed from across the province demanding that those who direct children to sexually graphic material should no longer be entrusted with the care of children.

The truth is that the media does a disservice to the public when they willingly amplify obscure Facebook posts and yet ignore key issues that are actually endangering the safety of Alberta students.

So here is my call to action:

I don’t have the bullhorn of the media at my disposal like Dr. Wells does.

We need an uprising of parents, grandparents and citizens who will take a stand for what is important – especially when the media chooses not to.

Parents for Choice in Education is preparing a survey that will be distributed to school board trustee candidates.

Take 1 minute right now to sign up on the homepage of Parents for Choice in Education so that you will be added to their mailing list. Forward this message to others and ask them to do the same.

When the survey is released then you will learn where candidates stand on the important issues – especially the ones the media prefers to ignore.

Dr. Wells understands that school board trustee elections matter.

Do you?

Let’s ensure that we are informed and engaged on the issues that matter most and use our votes to elect the best possible candidates to these important roles.

Be part of a winning strategy

The following is a powerful blog post published by Donna Trimble, Executive Director of Parents for Choice in Education (PCE), which is being shared here with permission.

At this moment we stand at a crossroads in our province with a critical window of opportunity to organize and mobilize.

In order to make this vision into a reality we need an uprising of parents, grandparents and citizens in this province such that we have never seen before.

Please join together with PCE today by taking two simple actions to help make a tremendous impact.

With thanks,
Theresa

**********************

What is needed to Win.... (6)

When parents lose rights, children are endangered.

These were words I penned in a column An Alberta Parent’s Call to Action, printed in the Calgary Herald January 18, 2016.

I haven’t told many of the story that led to this column.

I was just a few days from the final, of six, chemotherapy treatments for Stage II Breast Cancer.

I was tired.

I was wondering, after working as Executive Director for PCE since January 2015, if it was time to step down.

Was it time for a stronger, healthier Executive Director to pick up the mantle and fight where I had left off?

Was there a better person to continue our work standing against progressive curriculum like Discovery Math that was failing Alberta students? 

To demand amendments to GSA legislation to insist that parents remain the primary caregivers of at risk youth?

To defend Alberta’s legacy of funding a variety of school-choice options which save taxpayer money and provide for a competitive, healthy and excellent education system for all students?

In the midst of my deliberations, I woke one morning, turned on my computer, and witnessed NDP Education Minister Eggen at a media scrum, introducing the Guidelines for Best Practices-Creating Learning Environments that Respect Diverse Sexual Orientations, Gender Identities and Gender Expressions.

I printed and read the document, and I was shocked.

I decided then that I would muster the strength to pen one more column, and see if parents responded and whether I would continue.

The result was amazing! You did not let me or PCE down!

You all stood up and joined us at PCE and we grew by the thousands!

25, 000+ signatures were added to our petition for amendments.  Thousands attended the May 2016 Rallies in Edmonton and Calgary to Protect Children, by Upholding Parental Rights.

When I stood before the Calgary crowd of loving families at the rally, I was in the middle of my final radiation treatments.

I was strengthened by your courage, and inspired by the love you showed for your dear children.

And I knew I could continue the fight for our children and families – not standing alone, but standing together with you.

AT A CROSSROADS

We are at a crossroads. Our organization has grown beyond our manpower. And again I am asking you to rise up, stand together and help us continue the fight for our children and our families.

We need YOU.

We need an uprising of parents, grandparents and citizens in this province such that we have never seen before!

We know the attacks on parental rights and school choice will continue to intensify while elected representatives from all parties refuse to stand against an agenda that we know creates unsafe schools and hinders the long-term success of Alberta students.

If the government pushing this agenda – alongside opposition MLAs too weak to confront it –  have their way, families in the province of Alberta will be permanently weakened. This will be especially devastating for our most vulnerable youth.

Here are two actions that will take you a total of 5 minutes and help create a TREMENDOUS impact.

1. Sign up on our homepage

The United Conservative Party (UCP) leadership election and Trustee elections are quickly approaching in October, followed by nominations for new UCP MLA candidates to likely start in the spring.

We have a critical opportunity and responsibility to elect people to these positions who will uphold and defend parental rights in education.

PCE has invested in a new website with powerful database software which now allows us to organize and mobilize our supporters more effectively within specific constituencies.

Sign up on our homepage with your email and postal code so we can move beyond signing petitions, making phone calls and writing letters to politicians who choose to ignore them.

Let’s demonstrate to politicians that their very jobs depend on listening and taking meaningful action to resolve our concerns.

Time to vote out elected MLAs who have been weak on parent choice, and elect candidates that will be our voice; the voice of loving parents across this province!

Take just 2 minutes to visit our homepage and sign-up. Ask your friends and family to do the same.

Just 2 minutes, and our momentum will be unstoppable!

2. Become a monthly donor

We know you are busy and don’t have time to do the research, write the columns, meet with politicians and inform the public of all of the ways children are being failed by the education system in classrooms across the province.

Support PCE so we can continue to do the leg work for you.  Monthly donor funds will help us budget for the following three critical needs:

Advertising – Too many parents across Alberta remain unaware of the dangers their children face. Through radio, printed packages, You Tube ads, social media, billboards, etc. we hope to reach a wider audience with important key messages regarding education in Alberta

Professionally produced 1-3 minute videos and animations – These videos will help give concise descriptions of key issues to inform and engage the public in Alberta on key education issues their students face.

2-3 part-time staff members – The attacks on school choice and parent rights intensify daily. We must hire part time staff in order to effectively keep abreast of it all and respond in real-time. We need staff focused on administrative tasks, data entry, research and communications to more effectively meet all the growing needs and demands we face every day.

While PCE is tremendously grateful for one-time donations, it is difficult to rely on this funding model alone when budgeting for regular, ongoing monthly expenses.

We have crunched the numbers and set a summer goal to find $6,000 in monthly donors, ready and in place for the 2017/18 school year, in order to meet those three critical needs.

With a newsletter list and Facebook page of thousands of people this goal could be achieved if only 600 people give $10/month or 300 people gave $20/month.

We thank everyone who has helped us reach 14% of our summer fundraising goal so far.

With only 21 days left, time is running out.

If you believe in the vision and work of PCE – to support Alberta students by advocating for excellence in education through maximum parental choice – please take 3 minutes TODAY to sign up to become a monthly core donor.

Visit our DONATE page and click on the “Monthly Donation” button.

A FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH

We face a greater battle than the one I have faced as an individual fighting cancer.

We have in government a group of individuals that is set on replacing Alberta’s loving parents with themselves.

This cannot be allowed to continue.

Left unchecked, this ideological attack will overwhelm the natural balance of our communities, destroying families and thus the foundation of free society.

Those of us on the front lines face an uphill battle every day. It is your support that provides the strength and tools for us to continue this important fight

To WIN we need to stand together and become a serious force to be reckoned with in this province. We must be courageous and forthright!

To WIN we need to elect government officials at every level, especially school board trustees and MLAs in our Legislature, who will uphold the ultimate best practice for children in Alberta, namely that “Parents – not teachers, schools, bureaucrats or activists – must remain the primary caregivers and decision makers in their children’s education.”

To WIN we need to inform more parents in Alberta – too many who remain entirely unaware of what is happening – about the erosion of parental rights in education, which is resulting in the endangerment of children.

My future does not depend upon my physical health, and neither does yours, my fellow parents.

Our future depends upon our raising healthy, intelligent, good men and women that will carry on building up the foundation of our free society. We must raise our children so they will take our place as a bulwark of protection against the historical waves of ideology which seek to weaken the foundation of a free society – and that foundation is families!

This is our time parents! We need to rise up! Our children need us! They need us NOW!

Parents must be respected as the primary caregiver and educator of their own precious children. This can only happen if we have CHOICE in EDUCATION.

Family is the foundation of a free society, and we must ensure all future elected MLAs and Trustees recognise and honor that!

We are in a fight we MUST win, for the sake or our children and the future of our nation.

If our work at Parents for Choice in Education matters to you, then please take 5 minutes and do these two simple actions TODAY:

1. Sign up on our homepage

2. Become a monthly donor for as little as $10/month by visiting our DONATE page and clicking on “Monthly Donation” 

Let’s win this war for our children and our families.

Incredibly grateful for your ongoing support,

Donna Trimble
Executive Director
Parents for Choice in Education

www.parentchoice.ca

For more information on the details of what has been and continues to be rolled out in Alberta schools go to our PCE blog HERE. You can also explore our six areas of advocacy by visiting our homepage and clicking on the area that interests you.

 

An important decision in Alberta – will you have a vote?

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At the end of July, members of both the Wildrose and PC parties will vote on whether they support unification to become the United Conservative Party.

To be eligible to vote either for or against the unity agreement you must first purchase $10 memberships in one or both of the parties prior to July 8th (Wildrose) or July 12th (PC party).

For unification to be successful, the proposed agreement must be supported by 75% of Wildrose members and over 50% of PC members.

For too many years I used to believe that my democratic responsibility simply consisted of showing up on voting day.

However, being more deeply involved in public advocacy and the political realm over the past couple of years has taught me that many critically important decisions are made prior to voting day.

By investing only $10 into an annual membership of a political party, anyone over the age of 14 has an opportunity to impact the outcome of those critically important decisions.

For example, leaders of each political party – the people who may someday become our Prime Minister or Premier – are chosen only by those who have purchased memberships to that political party.

Names of candidates on the ballot don’t just fall from the sky, but are decided through an internal members-only nomination process.

Policy wordings and priorities – including when it comes to the area of education – are often set by those who purchase memberships and make the extra effort to attend an annual general meeting.

The proposed unification of the Wildrose and PC parties is an important decision in Alberta democracy and only a few days remain to purchase membership(s) and have an opportunity to impact the outcome.

If unification is successful then those who purchased memberships will also have a vote in selecting the new leader in October, as well as the formation and ratification of new policies.

For those who want to ensure their voices are represented in this historic decision, please sign-up for membership(s) today using the links below:

Wildrose membership: www.wildrose.ca/membership

PC membership: https://www.pcalberta.org/Membership 

(*NOTE: PC members will also need to REGISTER before July 14th in order to be eligible to vote, using this website https://www.pcalberta.org/Register )