From the government, there’s no reply at all
It seems as if the administrators within this current Liberal government have lost the concept of common courtesy. Perhaps it’s because of their draconian budget measures, because of which they must respond to harsh criticism. Or perhaps it is due to all the budget overruns from Muskrat Falls and the methylmercury controversy. I don’t know.
My experience is a case in point. On Sept. 30, I sent a letter to Darrin Pike, director of education for the English School District. In the letter, I inquired about the plaques that were removed from the Newfoundland School for the Deaf, (NSD) and I requested that they be returned. A short bit of history about deaf education in Newfoundland was included in the letter to help explain why this was an issue important to this marginalized community. I waited for two weeks for a response from Mr. Pike; at least one saying that he received my letter. I didn’t get one.
On Oct. 15, I sent an email to Education Minister Dale Kirby. In that email, I explained that I had sent a letter to Mr. Pike and asked if the minister would follow up on my letter to see if the plaques would be returned. I waited a week for a response from Mr. Kirby, at least saying that he received my email. I did not get one.
In neither the letter nor the email did I admonish either the English School Board or the Department of Education for seeming to demonstrate contempt for the deaf community of Newfoundland and Labrador.
On Oct. 21, I contacted The Telegram requesting an open letter to Mr. Pike be printed. I was immediately informed that The Telegram did not publish letters to a third party, but they would set me up with a reporter to get more information out about this story. Barb Sweet contacted me by telephone about a half hour later. We met at NSD later that day and in the weekend edition of The Telegram, Ms. Sweet’s story about the missing plaques was published. In that story, Ms. Sweet said that she’d contacted the English School District and the plaques would be restored to their original places. I sent an email to Ms. Sweet thanking her for her support and the information about resolving this issue. She responded, almost immediately, acknowledging my email.
I also sent an email to Mr. Pike later that day thanking him and the English School District for returning the plaques to their original places. I told him that the location of the plaque acknowledging Prince Edward’s visit to NSD was unknown and thus could not be replaced. To this day, I have not received acknowledgement of any of my emails or letter.
I have had occasion to correspond with ministers and administrators of various premiers from Brian Peckford to Paul Davis. Whenever I sent a letter or email, I received acknowledgement of receipt of the correspondence. That is common courtesy.
This current Liberal government seems to have lost this aspect of dealing with constituents and their concerns.
Thanks for letting me release my pent up frustration in this regard.
I sent an email to Ms. Sweet thanking her for her support and the information about resolving this issue. She responded, almost immediately, acknowledging my email.
John Reade writes from St. John’s