From the govern­ment, there’s no re­ply at all

The Compass - - EDITORIAL -

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

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