Open Letter to Hon. Liz Sandals re. fees for Remembrance eventsOctober 6, 2014
Hon. Liz Sandals
Ministry of Education
22nd Floor, Mowat Block
900 Bay Street
Toronto, Ontario M7A 1L2
October 6, 2014
Dear Minister Sandals:
I am writing to you today with regard to concerns relating to a Public School Board practice of charging a fee to allow for the use of school facilities to hold Remembrance Day events.
Specifically, I’ve been notified that the New Dundee Board of Trade has been instructed to pay a fee of $134 to be allowed to hold a Remembrance Day gathering Saturday November 8th at New Dundee Public School of the Waterloo Region District School Board.
Minister, given that it is public funding used to create and manage these school facilities in the first place, and given that it was the sacrifices of our veterans that have allowed people in Canada to enjoy the freedoms to gather and partake in these nationally significant events, I question why public schools cannot be made open and available for local recognition of veterans at this time of year free-of-charge.
Minister, as we reflect on those whose selfless sacrifice has provided the freedoms we enjoy today, it seems completely backwards to now turn around and ask for a fee to be paid to government for a ceremony to recognize them. To be clear, it is government, and the people of Canada, who owe our veterans, not the other way around.
It seems to me that making our public school facilities freely available for Remembrance events for our veterans is the least that we could do.
In considering this matter I would ask that you recall the Act of Remembrance from Laurence Binyon’s poem, For the Fallen: They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
Minister, please consider this matter and act swiftly to ensure neither the veterans, nor organizations celebrating them are forced to pay for community Remembrance Day events at public schools in Ontario.
Michael Harris, MPP
cc. Jim Stirling, New Dundee Board of Trade
Waterloo Region District School Board