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Calgary Board of Education Danielle Smith Gordon Dirks Jennifer Pollock Judy Tilston Liz LoVecchio Pat Cochrane Peggy Anderson Teresa Woo-Paw

smith v. board of education (part 4).

This post is the fourth and final of a multi-part series that was published over the past week. Part 1 was posted on October 26, 2009Part 2 was posted on October 28, 2009, and Part 3 on October 30, 2009.

August 14, 1999: In a complaint to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, Calgary Board of Education (CBE) Trustee Peggy Anderson accused Judy Tilston of getting John Lovink to file a privacy complaint against her. She also publicly speculated that Tilston, Liz LoVecchio and Jennifer Pollock encouraged the filing of Lovink’s complaint to embarrass Anderson and Danielle Smith. From the Calgary Herald:

Smith and Anderson have called for Tilston’s resignation after it was learned that Tilston had leaked letters dealing with a different issue that resulted in a complaint to the privacy commissioner. Tilston had initially denied leaking the letters which resulted in a taxpayer-financed probe into the matter. The privacy commissioner said Tilston leaked the letters.

Commissioner Bob Clark is investigating a complaint by Lovink who had a $120,000 contract with the CBE for an 18-month period ending after last October’s municipal election.

Calling Lovink a “$500-a-day spin doctor”, Smith, a rookie trustee, earlier this year released Lovink’s invoices and criticized veteran trustees for spending money to boost their image. Lovink said he provided “strategic communications” when the board was trying to get more money from the provincial government.

In Saturday’s story Pollock denied encouraging Lovink to complain to the privacy commissioner but did say she had friends who asked her to encourage him but wouldn’t identify the friends. LoVecchio and Tilston denied they had anything to do with Lovink’s complaint. “I accept their word on that,” said Anderson.

August 16, 1999: After being advised by Chair Teresa Woo-Paw that the CBE had become “completely dysfunctional” due to internal bickering, Learning Minister Lyle Oberg dismissed the CBE Trustees. Woo-Paw said in a statement that the decision represented “a failure of adults to act in an adult manner.” Following the decision, LoVecchio told the Herald that “the atmosphere is so poisoned that I don’t believe this board could work together.” The CBE, which was responsible for 100,000 students, had accumulated a deficit of $55 million in 1999.

George Cornish, Calgary’s chief commissioner under Mayor Ralph Klein, was appointed as interim trustee until the results of by-elections scheduled for November 29, 1999. Angus-Reid reported that 7 in 10 Calgarians agreed with the decision to dissolve the board.

August 22, 1999: Anderson and Smith declared their intentions to seek re-election in the by-elections.

August 24, 1999: From an Edmonton Journal column by Lorne Gunter:

Within minutes of Oberg announcing his intention to dismiss the seven elected trustees and replace them with one government- appointed trustee until byelections can held, a senior staffer in his office was on the telephone to Danielle Smith and Peggy Anderson, the board’s two right-wingers, encouraging them to run again.

Oberg, the staffer explained, did not want to get rid of the pair, but his hands were tied. The School Act permits him only to fire all or none of the trustees. Oberg, it seems, wanted to purge the board’s three avowed Liberals and weak chairwoman, and in order to discard the bath water had to dispose of the baby, too.

August 30, 1999: Declining to seek re-election, Smith accepted an editorial writer position with the Calgary Herald. Nishimura told the media that she “respected the way in which she [Smith] was able to tackle the tough issues.”

September 14, 1999: Nishimura declared her intentions to seek re-election.

September 24, 1999: Herald columnist Don Martin wrote that Premier Klein’s former Chief of Staff Rod Love was exploring the possibility of running against Tilston. Love’s previous forays as a candidate included running unsuccessfully against Lee Richardson for the Calgary-Southeast Progressive Conservative nomination in 1988 and as the PC candidate in the Calgary-Buffalo by-election in 1992.

October 7, 1999: Pollock declared her intentions to not seek re-election.

November 1, 1999: At the nomination deadline, only three incumbent trustees filed papers to seek re-election: Woo-Paw, Nishimura, and Anderson. Love did not file papers to run in the by-election. 50 candidates filed nomination papers, a leap from 17 in 1998 and 27 in 1995.

November 29, 1999: Nishimura was the only incumbent Trustee re-elected. Woo-Paw was defeated by David Pickersgill and Anderson placed third in the race that saw Sharon Hester elected. Current CBE Trustees Gordon Dirks, a former Saskatchewan MLA and Cabinet Minister, and Pat Cochrane were first elected in these by-elections. Total voter turnout was 9.3%.

November 2, 2009: Where are they now?

Danielle Smith is the new leader of the Wildrose Alliance. She has announced her intention to seek election in Calgary-North Hill in the next election.

Teresa Woo-Paw was elected as the PC MLA for Calgary-Mackay in 2008. She currently serves as a member of the Private Bills Committee, the Public Accounts Committee and the Standing Committee on Public Safety and Services.

Jennifer Pollock is the nominated Liberal Party of Canada candidate in Calgary-West.
Pollock previously sought election against Conservative MP Rob Anders in 2006 and 2008. She garnered the most votes of any Liberal candidate in Alberta in the 2008 Canadian federal election.

David Heyman, the Herald reporter who wrote many of the articles covering the CBE in 1998 and 1999, is now the Calgary Communications Manager in the Office of the Premier of Alberta.

Bill Smith was narrowly defeated by Danielle Smith in the 1998 CBE election in Wards 6 & 7. Bill Smith is now a member of the Board of Governors of the University of Calgary and is the incoming President of the Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta.

This post is the fourth and final of a multi-part series that was be published over the past week. Part 1 was posted on October 26, 2009Part 2 was posted on October 28, 2009, and Part 3 on October 30, 2009.