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

 

UPDATES

September 25th: Brian Jean: ‘Here for Albertans’? Not if he insults concerned parents.

 

 

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19 comments

  1. Leona Lowe

    To my understanding Andrew Scheer — may be the better person to approach. In an article I read about him he is for Home School ~~ that to me is a step in the right direction. If he is for Home School then I would hope that is would want the best for Public School as well. My Prayers are continually with You. Blessings to You.– Leona Lowe

    On Sat, Sep 23, 2017 at 8:52 PM, informed albertans wrote:

    > informedalbertans posted: ” 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” – sugge” >

    Like

    • informedalbertans

      Hi Leona,
      Thank you for your comment and encouragement.
      Andrew Scheer is leader of the federal Conservative party and it is important we also elect leaders at our provincial level who are strong in consistently defending freedoms and family. I encourage Albertans to become actively engaged in the democractic process at all levels of government to help ensure their values and concerns will be represented by those we elect.
      All the best!
      Theresa

      Like

  2. Louis Sehn

    Dear Theresa,

    Thank you so very much for your persistence and all your hard work in this arena. Your efforts are very much appreciated!!! You most certainly represent my views and those of my family, along with those with whom I associate, the number of which is considerable.

    May God continue to bless us all in what you do on our behalf,

    Louis Sehn

    Like

  3. Christopher Wood

    Thank you for sharing this. Mr. Jean continues to demonstrate what it appears he is willing to sacrifice to try and gain a more centrist profile. I really appreciated your well articulated responses to his comments and the questions that you posed. I hope a great deal of people keep a copy of this so if we get the chance to speak with him during this campaign they can be shared with him again. I also think it would be a great idea to share this with the other candidates and see what their responses would be.

    Like

    • informedalbertans

      Hi Christopher,
      Thank you for comment.
      Yes, I encourage people to ask these important questions of all the candidates in order to discern their position on these education issues. The more people who ask, the more politicians will realize the questions are important to answer.
      Thanks!
      Theresa

      Liked by 1 person

  4. J. Smith

    Teresa, weren’t you a Jason Kenney delegate in the PC leadership race?
    Isn’t it only fair that you inform your readers of that?

    Like

    • informedalbertans

      Hi J. Smith,

      Thanks for your comment.

      In my January letter to Brian Jean, which appears in this blog article, I applauded him for his willingness to unify the conservative parties. My support as a delegate for Jason Kenney in the PC Leadership race reflected my desire to see unity proceed.

      As I said in the letter to Brian Jean, I care deeply about the integrity of our education system and the safety and care of children in Alberta schools. I was a teacher in the public school system for almost a decade and understand the power of an education system to shape the future direction of a society. For me, this is the most important criteria when selecting a leader of the new UCP.

      I will actively support politicians who are willing to listen openly to concerns and who will advocate courageously for upholding high standards in our education system. When it comes to my observations and personal experiences, I have had the most positive impression of Jason Kenney and feel that he truly does understand on a core level the importance of families as the foundation of a free society and, most importantly, seems to have the courage to consistently defend those core beliefs.

      In addition, Jason Kenney has personally taken the time to respond in a timely manner to messages whereas I have yet to receive even a form letter response directly from Brian Jean.

      In the end, I’m simply offering information to people based on my experiences on the front lines of these important issues in education. How people choose to weigh the issues and vote in the end is up to them. The most important part I emphasize repeatedly throughout my blog is for people to become actively involved in the democratic process. Do your research, ask your questions, attend forums/debates in-person and be informed and engaged in the process.

      Hope that helps to clarify.

      Sincerely,
      Theresa

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Cathy Smith

    Hello Theresa,
    I applaud your courage and fortitude. We were not put here to be lazy, uninformed citizens who do not protect our precious children from such abuse.
    It is vital to hear this information in order to make good decision. God bless your effort and know that I will continue to help where I can.

    Like

  6. awordfromshawna

    Thank you for sharing this Theresa. It is such an important issue! I agree that Jason has given a much better, and unapologetic response to these types of questions. Beware the wolf at the door! May the better man win, and may we regain much of the ground lost to this current government.

    Like

  7. Karen

    Thank you for your hours of work. It has not gone unnoticed or unappreciated. You are a hero, and our children are lucky to have you fighting for them.

    Like

  8. Mary Flemming

    Thank you, Teresa, for all your hard work. I will join your blog and assist wherever I can. I am running for town council where I live and not school board, but am hoping for strong family advocates to be running for school trustee. And I also believe that Jason Kenney is our strongest supporter of parental rights and protecting our democratic freedoms.

    Like

  9. Lynne Tanner

    So sorry Theresa, that after all your time & effort in defending the safety of our children in this province, you were treated disrespectfully. Thank you for all you have done & continue to do. Thousands of parents stand with you in defence of our rights & freedoms against a government who clearly has an agenda to destroy the innocence of young children & break down the family unit.. We need a leader who supports Parents Choice in Education, has strong family values, & is not afraid to fight for them. Brian Jean has not convinced me as yet that he is the man.

    Like

  10. Sonja Farrell

    My vote will go to Kenney…he has been the only candidate to affirm parental rights and family concerns. Unfortunately we live in a time where the moral fabric of our society is unraveling into a ball of chaos and they are coming after our children to use them as instruments of change to their unfettered ways. Brian does not have what is takes to represent the new party well -he only got into this all because of his sons’ untimely death. Thank you Theresa for the effort, your blog and your voice, you are doing all that you can. The next election I think will prove an interesting one.

    Like

  11. Pingback: Brian Jean: ‘Here for Albertans’? Not if he insults concerned parents. | informed albertans
  12. Kimberley Jean

    Theresa,

    Let me start by saying, on behalf of my husband, I’m sorry you felt disrespected in your meeting with him. In the decade I’ve known Brian, I’ve never known this to happen and I know for sure it would certainly not have been what he intended. He genuinely cares about people, and perhaps his tone was somewhat misinterpreted or misunderstood? I’m obviously biased, but I was drawn to my husband in the early stages of our relationship specifically because of how I saw him treat people. (And treat all people the same – from janitors to oil execs to farmers to doctors.)

    I would also like to thank you for participating in democracy. We need as many good people as possible to get involved in order to achieve the best possible outcome for Alberta.

    I have to say, I was a little disappointed to see your headline “Brian Jean: Unwilling to Fight for Freedom and Family”. I feel compelled to assure you, this is the ONLY reason we have sacrificed the last two and a half years of our lives. To fight for family and freedom, and the best possible version of Alberta. For Albertans.

    This is Brian’s purpose at the moment. This purpose was sparked by an intense passion to stop other families from experiencing the excruciating loss from a broken health care system that our family had to experience. The flame grew to include protecting our province’s children and grandchildren, including his own, from suffocating debt and deficits, job losses and mismanaged resources. His purpose also includes a passion to be fair to seniors (having seen so many families having to move or be separated from their loved ones because of poor planning and resources for our seniors, who built this province) as well as a passion to see our Alberta children receive world-class education. Most importantly, that parents are given every possible choice in education for their kids, because we know that parents will always make the very best choice for their own children. To that end, Brian, along with Wildrose Education Shadow Minister Leela Aheer continuously fought the NDP in the legislature and behind the scenes. I was so proud of them for this.

    Personally, Brian and I have both strongly advocated for parental choice in education since the very beginning. Brian is the only candidate in this race to have done part of his schooling at an Alberta independent school, and I was a teacher for many years and have worked in the public school system, at private schools and private educational institutions, as well as with homeschooling groups. Education policy is near and dear to my heart. And to Brian’s.

    In terms of your comment: “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”, I couldn’t agree more. I know Brian feels the same. It is surely an unfortunate thing that the NDP were given a majority mandate in the last election tying the hands of principled conservatives such as yourself, and some of our amazing conservative elected officials. Let’s hope and pray that the next election sees common sense prevail.

    Finally, I’d like to leave you with a sentiment that is spoken to me often by individuals around the province, but most recently a few days ago at an event in Pincher Creek. An individual sought me out to tell me “we support your husband without reservation because he is principled, leads with integrity, and isn’t afraid to stand up for what he believes in.” Of course, as his wife, I’m so proud of the person he is and the breadth of his experience (family, business, law, farming, forestry, politics and more). However, it’s always nice to hear from so many others.

    Thank you again for all you do to advocate for Alberta’s children. God bless you and God bless Alberta.

    Kind Regards,

    Kimberley Jean

    Like

    • informedalbertans

      Dear Kimberley,

      So wonderful to hear from you. Thank you for taking the time to write, especially when I’m sure that you and Mr. Jean must be very busy right now.

      In the event that I did misunderstand Mr. Jean’s comments during our in-person meeting in January, I graciously provided him with ample opportunity to clarify his stance by writing a letter and asking specific questions.

      Though I was assured a response by his staff members, all that has been received over the last nine months is silence.

      As much as I appreciate your lovely letter, what Alberta children and families need most is an elected politician who is willing and able to consistently confront the false messaging of the NDP in the Legislature and take meaningful action toward preserving the integrity of our province’s education system – for the sake of our children, grandchildren and the future of this incredible province which we all hold near and dear to our hearts.

      When I wrote and submitted this January letter, as well as the one in June (https://informedalbertans.wordpress.com/2017/06/14/wildrose-misrepresents-albertans-on-official-legislature-documents-why/ ), I did so on behalf of thousands of parents, grandparents, teachers and citizens who are looking for answers and still have received none. These loving, caring Albertans are looking for a leader who is willing to respond to their concerns and publicly stand firm with them to defend their freedoms and families against the ongoing overreach of this NDP government. And these Albertans deserve no less.

      It is so important that politicians who care about children, families, freedoms and our education system are willing to listen, respond and work together with myself and others who also care deeply about these issues.

      To you personally, as a fellow teacher, I thank you and applaud you for taking the time to read our concerns on this blog. I encourage you to continue to visit and understand where thousands of concerned Albertans are coming from.

      We know the future can be challenging, but we will continue to fight for parental choice, rights and freedoms in Alberta, because we love our children, this province, and the next generation.

      All the best,

      Theresa

      Like

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