After a major dust up with the Director of Education - Tom Muir is taking on the chair.

highschoolsBy Staff

May 3rd, 2017



Tom is not happy.

He got a letter from the Chair of the Halton District school Board and wants to know if anyone else received the letter he received.

A reality check Tom – everyone who asks to delegate is going to get the same letter you got.

Muir making a point

“Who chooses what an acceptable perspective to present is? asks Tom Muir.

Tom Muir has written extensively for the Gazette on the matter of closing two high schools in Burlington.

“Does anyone know if everyone who requested a delegation received this letter?” asks Muir and adds “What the hell kind of censorship and possible suppression tactic is this? Anyone know?”

“They give you less than 24 hours, and want 250 words.

“And they will refuse your delegation if they want to based on what criteria? Who determines what an adequate variety of perspectives is?

“Who chooses what an acceptable perspective to present is?

“I venture to say that I have presented a variety of perspectives on this matter, myself, second to no one.  This is disturbing.  The Board is a public institution and everyone should be entitled to present once on such a topic as this.
“Any info and ideas?”


Board of Education Chair Kelly Amos

Here is the letter Muir got from Chair Kelly Amos:

Dear Tom,

Thank you for your request to delegate.

As I am sure you can appreciate we have had a great number of requests to delegate from representatives from all the secondary schools in Burlington, as well as some community members.

In order to ensure a variety of perspectives, your delegation description is a very important part of the selection process. As such, we are requesting a 250 word description of your delegation topic, including at least 5 main points, and would request this information by Thurs. May 4th at 12pm in order for the delegation to be able to be reviewed for consideration.

Some individuals or groups have requested multiple delegations. As per the Delegation Bylaw, an individual may only delegate once, as either an individual or as part of a representing group, regarding the Burlington Program and Accommodation Review.

“Individuals or groups who have delegated the Board of Trustees on a topic will be permitted to delegate again on the same topic no sooner than four months after the original delegation unless they are presenting new information.”

“When your response has been received it will be reviewed and all delegations that have been accepted will receive information as to the delegation night you will be appearing on. We will do the best we can to accommodate the night originally requested, depending on space available.”

Muir responds to Chair Amos:

I find this request for 250 words in less than 24 hours, and its stated purpose, as a disturbing development.

Demanding this 250 word delegation description by 12 noon tomorrow is onerous as it has no respect for my individual circumstances in that time period. I would add that the stated purpose compounds that impression.

And I can only assume that every delegation request is being subject to the same demand, but I do not know.

This request does not conform to the Delegation by-law in terms of timing of delegation requests, and possible submission of written material timing, by anything written that I read.

I can appreciate there could be a lot of requests for delegations, but as you know, this is the most contentious issue to face the Board in a very long time.

The Board is a public institution, and you are an elected public official, and every member of the public that wants to delegate, and to be heard, should be able to do so once, without restriction, and without having to submit what they want to say for official scrutiny and approval of their views and right to speak.

As I’m sure you can appreciate, I must tell you, with all due respect, that this very much resembles the possibility of censorship, and suppression, of perspectives and views that don’t pass the criteria or screens that you intend to impose.

As you can also appreciate, this demand, and the optics it projects,  will never lead to any good place or satisfactory resolution of this PAR matter.

If you have more than 50 requests for delegation, I think that your responsibility to the public as an elected official imposes on you a fiduciary, and good faith democratic obligation, to accommodate all requests to delegate.

I recall this possibility for many requests, and the need to meet the demand if greater than 50, was aired at a PARC meeting by PARC members. I could not imagine that the PARC would approve of this action.

All perspectives must be heard, not subjected to censorship.

I request and hope that you will abandon this request, which I think leads only to dangerous ground. It is not a good idea.

Yours sincerely,  Tom Muir

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7 comments to After a major dust up with the Director of Education – Tom Muir is taking on the chair.

  • Cheryl

    Unbelievable is all I can say with this whole process. As a former PARC representative I did not hear that delegations can only be from one household. Why can’t each household have more than one opinion? Why can’t I delegate and why can’t my daughter delegate? I know why!!!! The Board does not want to hear it. This whole process is so damn flawed it is appalling.

  • Amy

    This process clearly demonstrates insensitivity and the ignorance we are dealing when it comes to this issue and the acceptance of inaccurate data and misinformation which has presented to the public over the course of the last several months. While everyone is entitled to their opinion… Have we forgotten what is to be human? What has happened to being sensitive to the needs and wants of others? What kind of world do we live in, when we completely disregard people and make decisions based soley on money? If money is the motivation behind this farce(which it clearly is) called a PAR process, then perhaps it is time to get creative and find alternative ways to offset costs and not destroy peoples lives and communities…just a thought.

  • Sharon

    I second Stephen White’s nomination, Tom.
    I would like to remind the Trustees that the seats they sit in are because we trusted that they could make the right decision for their wards. That means listening to us. I agree if there are more than 50 delegates they should listen to all of us.
    At the PARC meeting where delegations were discussed, it was told to us by Donna Danelli that it would be done fairly. She did not mention that we would have to submit a 250-word description of our delegation and never any mention that only 1 delegation was allowed per household.

  • Stephen White

    I nominate Tom Muir for Citizen of the Year!

    Tom: you have persistence and guts which is unique and refreshing. Please consider running in October 2018. It would be refreshing to have someone on Council who isn’t a trained seal!!

  • I'm alright now

    The board has already arrived at their decision. The only matter that remains for them is to publicly pronounce what it shall be.
    They have no further need to hear more of the hue and cry of the peons, malcontents, unwashed or even the deplorables.
    Sit quietly and await their decision.

    I will bet that Pearson gets the axe rather than the board or director for this fiasco.
    Further, I will bet that the biggest expense the board has, staff salaries, sees zero change in the end.

    Next year is an election year, but not that I think the board will do it as it would be prudent and fair, but I believe the whole school closure process should be a ballot question for all the ratepayers.
    Too simple, easy and appropriate.
    On second thought just close a school.

  • Lisa Bull

    We all got the same letter. One thing of interest to note – my ex-husband and I both submitted requests to delegate on different topics. However we both were copied on this email. One email to both of us. But we submitted different email addresses and have different last names. This happened with others in our community. I send a response back asking for clarification but have not heard back. VERY curious to understand how they deem us to be ‘one household’ and how they even knew were are connected!

    • C Jester

      Did you not hear the knocks on your neighbours’ doors requesting “classified information” by the HDSB secret police? Check your phones for wire taps. Remember, nothing should surprise you in this new era of school closures.