Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Letter to Minister of Education Roland Hache following November 16, 2009 meeting at his constituency office

New Brunswick Minister of Education Rolande Hache
This is a letter we sent to the Minister of Education, Roland Hache, following our meeting with him at his constituency office on November 16, 2009, and his Director of Communications, Valerie Kilfoil, as well as Charlotte Valley, Director of Operations, Vehicle Management Agency, Department of Transportation.

Sent: Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Subject: Important Safety Issues

Hon. Roland Hache
Minister of Education
Place 2000
PO Box 6000
Fredericton NB
E3B 5H1

Hon. Roland Hache:

Marcella, Ana and I would like to thank you and your staff for taking the time to discuss with us the importance of safety for children who are dependent on adults in the education system.

We view your agreement to adopt the advice of Transport Canada on the use of winter tires for Bathurst High School's 21 passenger MFAV as a sign that you are taking our complaints very seriously. We hope you understand the position we have been forced to defend on the use of winter tires - which is just one of many school transportation safety issues we have brought to the table over the past two years including the use of Class 2 bus drivers and a bad weather law.

The use of winter tires, vehicle maintenance and travelling in bad weather was something that people never really took seriously before January 12, 2008, but we believe they are starting to take it seriously now. Unfortunately, it took the deaths of our sons to bring about positive changes for the safety of all New Brunswickers whether they are in the school system or not.

We wish we didn't have to lobby your goverment for changes to school transportation safety, but as long as we feel that there are inadequacies in the system we are compelled to do so. For we know better than anyone that there is no room for manouevering on the issue of transportation safety and it is precisely because we do not want anyone else to lose their children that we are motivated to keep lobbying for change, no matter what it takes.

In that regard, we would like to know what are the next steps in the process with Transport Canada and the timeline for implementation of policy changes should Transport Canada's findings point in that direction. Knowing that winter weather is just around the corner we are eager to see this dealt with quickly and want to be included in the discussions with Transport Canada.

In closing, we would like to say that we parents struggle every day with the reality that we will never be able to see our sons grow into adults. It is not easy for us to put ourselves in the public eye, to lobby politicians on transportation safety issues and education policies, but we do it because we know our children would want us to raise awareness of these issues in the hope of preventing similar tragedies from occurring again.

It is for that reason that we will never give up and we will continue to raise awareness of transportation safety issues in New Brunswick's schools should we feel it is in the public interest to do so.

In loving memory of our boys,

Proud parents

Marcella Kelly
Isabelle Hains
Ana Acevedo

cc. Valerie Kilfoil