Friday, November 26, 2010

Letter to Premier David Alward, requesting meeting to discuss bus incident and Coroners Inquest Recommendations

David Alward, Premier of NBThis is the letter I wrote to David Alward yesterday after hearing about the incident involving the chartered buses carrying 60 New Brunswick students in which it was hauled off the road by the Nova Scotia Department of Transport because its tires were BALD!!

November 25, 2010

Premier David Alward
Centennial Building
P. O. Box 6000
Fredericton, NB
E3B 5H1

Hon. Mr. Alward:

I am writing to request a meeting with you, the Minister of Education, Jody Carr and Claude Williams, the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, to discuss the issue of student extra-curricular transportation safety. In particular, I would like to speak to the fact that despite the May 2009 Coroner's Inquest into the death of our sons and the Jury's recommendation that only licensed, Class 2 yellow school bus drivers be allowed to drive students to extra curricular activities in Multi-Function Activity Buses (MFABs), the reality is that volunteer, Class 4 drivers are behind the wheels of these vehicles: teachers, coaches and parents whom the Jury specifically said should not drive children to off site events.

"Nothing less than a qualified Class 2 yellow school bus driver with endorsements for school buses and air brakes should be used for travel to off-site extra-curricular events. Teachers, coaches and parents, as well as volunteers, should not drive children to off-site events"


"Only yellow school buses or multi-function activity vehicles to be used for travel." From the May 2009 Bathurst Coroners Jury Recommendations

In light of the incident in Nova Scotia this week where a chartered bus hired by NB School District 2 was forced to change its tires, I believe it is timely and important that we meet as soon as possible. Click on the following link to read the CBC News coverage of this story:

N.B. school's buses halted in N.S. over worn tires

As you know from recent email correspondence, on September 30, 2010, our group met in Halifax during the annual Council of Ministers meeting with Hon. Chuck Strahl, the Minister of Transport, Communities and Infrastructure and many of the provincial Ministers of Transportation. At that meeting, Minister Strahl committed to examining a national consensus on student transportation safety. Given the tragic circumstances which have brought us to this point I believe that New Brunswick has a unique opportunity to set the gold standard by taking a lead on this file.

In closing, I would like to remind you that before the election, you called me at my home and assured me that you would address the issue of volunteer drivers that had been raised in the media. Specifically, you told me that you would "not hide" behind this issue. I understand that you have had to settle into your position as Premier and that you have a lot of work on your plate. But with the winter now upon us, and the third anniversary of the Boys in Red Tragedy looming ahead, I believe it would be a good time for us meet face to face and discuss the concerns we have about volunteer drivers of MFABs.

Looking forward to hearing from you soon about this request for a meeting.

Yours sincerely,

Isabelle Hains

Hon. Chuck Strahl, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities
Yaprak Baltacioglu, Deputy Minister, Transport, Infrastructure and Communities
Yvon Godin, Member of Parliament (Bathurst-Acadie)
Laurie Throness, Chief of Staff to the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities
Hon. Claude Williams, Minister, New Brunswick Department of Transportation and Infrastructure
Hon. Robert Trevors, Minister, NB Department of Public Safety
Hon. Jody Carr, Minister, NB Department of Education
David J. Johnstone, Deputy Minister, NB Department of Transportation and Infrastructure
Marc Leger, Deputy Minister, NB Department of Public Safety
Roger Doucet, Deputy Minister, NB Department of Education
John Pearson, Program Director, Council Of Ministers and Deputy Ministers Responsible for Transportation and Highway Safety
Steve Martin, President, Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA)
Charles O'Donnell, Registrar, Motor Vehicle Branch, NB Department of Public Safety and Member of the Board of Directors, CCMTA
David White, Canadian Standards Association (CSA)
Ron Campbell, Girardin and CSA
Delalene Harris-Foran, President CUPE 1253, Miramichi, NB
Bryan Murphy, Safety Advocate, CUPE 606, Nanaimo, BC