Rory J. Koopmans, B. Admin., #203, 8912-156 Street, Edmonton, Alberta T5R 5Z2
January XXIIIrd, MMX
Hon. David G. Hancock, QC, MLA, Minister of Education, Progressive Conservative, Edmonton-Whitemud
Your decision to cannibalize and terminate the elected contracts of the 23 Northland Trustees was actually a very astute idea. I will not say whether it was good or bad as I do not live in School District #61. But I do feel you exercised your right to use your Ministerial power properly & did not abuse your trust. It was a smart decision as I can clearly see, you were acting & are acting for the most valuable & vulnerable members of society on the reserves & in their schools, the students.
The rich culture that Aboriginal people's bring to this fine Province, in fact our entire Dominion as a whole cannot be overlooked. But the cycle of poverty certainly is hard to not see. Native people's have been down on themselves for so long, its time we as their fellow Albertans build them up again. Your astute call in bringing in ex superintendent Colin Kelly as the sole Trustee with wide command and control discretion was excellent in fact. Having been in operational charge of District Schools there in the past, he clearly knows the ins And outs of the 23 schools. As well as the machinations of how each school operates or doesn' operate on a daily basis.
I however feel you need to brng in more native or aboriginal influences from outside the jurisdiction to make sure that the kids and their parents get back on track. My suggestion is to bring in say a famous elder from perhaps the Enoch Cree Nation or other tribal band area to be an outside administrator. They would clearly work harder than someone of say caucasian or another race/skin colour as they know & respect their fellow native Albertans. They would have a sense of feeling & know just how tough it is to live on reserves/settlements.
There are many famous aboriginal Albertans who would ensure the return to quality control of the schools. My suggestion would be to have Mike Cardinal, a very astute frmer cabinet minister be put in charge as an overseer. He would be very apprepro & strong in helping out. Lesser Slave Lake MLA Pearl Calahasen would I am sure also be a good fit for this file as say Committee Chairman of Northland Schools Aboriginal Affairs file. She could lead the fight in the Legislature to improve quality access for the people of the reserves/schools. Another great name or possibility might be Colleen Klein, her influence on both Premier Don Getty, what with his Provincial Settlement of Lubicon Land claims, as well as that of her husband (Premier Ralph Klein) through her Metis heritage has been quite frankly rather astounding. Perhaps even getting another famous Canadian, Architect Dennis Cardinal involved would be great. His knowledge of architecture would ensure that long neglected Northland Arts Programs get rebuilt.
I look forward to your further stewardship of this matter.
Source: The Enoch Cree Nation Tribal Council.