News Views: Mr. no show

People had questions about education but former teacher Marc Dalton, running for re-election, skipped meeting

Liberal MLA Marc Dalton, a former teacher, did not attend an all-candidates’ meeting on education Monday at Thomas Haney secondary.

Dalton, who represented the Maple Ridge-Mission riding, said he had other campaign commitments, such as meeting with seniors’ groups in Mission, and that he’d already been to three all-candidates’ meetings, and plans to go to one more.

He’s not the first candidate to miss such a meeting, it’s just that this one was organized by the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school board and district parent advisory committee, and some feel public education is a pretty important issue.

It is for certain in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, where a few trustees cried as they first announced $5.6 million in cuts to balance next year’s operating budget. Teacher librarians lost some hours, and other positions were trimmed.

How about capital funding for a much-needed new elementary school in Albion, which is in the riding Dalton represented, or over-crowding at Samuel Robertson Technical secondary, a high school built with funding from the Liberal government for only 600 students?

Students entering Grade 8 are now being turned away from SRT.

Improving labour relations with teachers, who’ve withdrawn their services several times during the Liberal government’s tenure, was also discussed at the Thomas Haney meeting.

It would be interesting to know how Dalton feels about all those issues, considering he just served his first term in the Legislature, considering he was part of the party that formed government, the one currently sitting second in the polls.

Maybe he’ll say today, when Premier Christy Clark visits his office, her third visit to the area this campaign.

Chad Thompson, running for the Conservatives in Maple Ridge-Mission, also did not attend Monday’s education meeting, but the other six local candidates managed to make it. They weren’t too busy to talk about the state of public education.

– The News