Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Letter to Minister of Education, Roland Hache, requesting meeting to discuss Coroners Inquest Recommendation for Bus Drivers

New Brunswick Minister of Education Roland Hache and his Director of Communications, Valerie Kilfoil were at a meeting in Bathurst on July 23, 2009 at which they released the response of the Province of New Brunswick to the Coroners Jury recommendations, one of which called for "Nothing less" than "qualified, class 2 yellow school bus drivers" behind the wheels of MFAVs. The government chose to ignore the recommendation.

April 15, 2010

Minister Roland Hache
691 Principale St
Petit- Rocher, N.B.
E8J 1G1

Original sent under separate cover

Hon. Roland Hache:

Re: Meeting to discuss Coroners Inquest Recommendation #6.

We are writing to request a meeting with you at your constituency office in Petit-Rocher or at your office in Fredericton to discuss the implementation of recommendation #6 of the Coroners Inquest into the death of our sons Daniel Hains, Javier Acevedo, and Nikki Kelly. We will be in Fredericton May 6-7 and can meet with you at your convenience on either of these two days.

Recommendation #6 from the Coroners Inquest reads: Nothing less than a qualified, class 2 yellow school bus drivers with endorsements B (valid for school buses) and E (valid for air brakes) for all student travel to off-site extra-curricular events. Teachers, coaches and parents as well as volunteers should not be driving children to off-site extra-curricular activities.

If you recall, two months after the Inquest on July 23, 2009 you and Valerie Kilfoil met with the parents at the Atlantic Host to discuss the government response to the Coroners Jury recommendations. At the time, you released a document, which listed the government's response in point form. Here is the response to recommendation #6.

"The coaches, teachers, principals and DEC members who attended the recent forum, told us that it is neither feasible nor necessary to use a bus driver for all student travel."

We would like to know who were the coaches, teachers, principals and DEC members in attendance at this forum? Were any of the people in attendance professional drivers who are qualified to make decisions about Class 2 Drivers?

We are also writing to request answers to the following four questions about the volunteer driver-training program that was implemented by the Department of Transportation following last year's Inquest. If you believe this should be a Right to Information request, please advise.

1. How much did it cost to develop the driver-training program for the MFAVs - that's total costs, from curriculum development, instruction, expenses and per diems for the instructor who has to travel to the different areas of the province to teach the course.

2. How many people do you expect to take the course again next year?

3. How many people took the course this year in the entire province broke down by district.

4.How many trips did all trained drivers take with all 14 MFAVs and the average duration of hours?

Thank you very much for your attention to this letter and we hope to hear from you soon regarding these requests.

Yours sincerely,

Isabelle Hains
Ana Acevedo
Marcella Kelly

cc Minister John Foran Department of Public Safety

cc Minister Denis Landry Department of Transportation