(West Vancouver 1974 - 1987)
...or where the bodies are buried in the employeescasecanada.ca
BY: former West Vancouver senior teacher, Roger Callow, laid off for economic reasons in June of 1985 under the auspices of the imposed BILL 35 (think imposed carbon tax); the only teacher to be so targeted.
1) Ed Carlin was the youngest Superintendent appointed in B.C. which was considered a boon to West Vancouver as the method of assignment went according to seniority with WV always getting a Supt. with one foot in the grave due to its small size of 3 high schools plus elementary feeder schools. If he is alive today, he would be in his 80's. Information until a few years ago on him came from mutual friends who were neighbors at their summer cottages.
2) Ed did not arrive without his baggage as the rumour had it that in his previous school as a principal, he packed his hierarchy with PE staff which are noted politically for their loyalty as they require much support in their extracurricular activities from the administration. (That theme is seen politically as I witnessed the Chinese Premier once visiting Ottawa. On one side of the lawn were Chinese protesters bused in from Toronto gazing at my protest signs while on the other was a gymnastic display designed to detract from the protesters. It wasn't entirely successful as I saw them sneaking the Premier out the back door, but I digress which is my privilege as the writer.)
3) Affairs took a sticky turn with Ed when the rumour was out in 1978 that a Social Studies teacher was going to get the ax. I thought it was me considering my rejection of the new Hillside Principal, 'Stormin Norman' who was known for his bullying - students, teachers, and parents(!) alike. He lasted one year and was going to square his account with me by writing a negative Teachers Report (receive 3 over 2 years and a teacher may be expelled from the profession). Such purple phrases as 'No attempt to undermine the teacher was noticed in one class observation invites trying to prove a negative which is an impossibility. Considering that I was not the target, Ed had little choice but to write a satisfactory Teacher's Report which I panned much to his chagrin: I wrote that Ed had an engaging personality. 'What the hell does 'engaging' mean he retorted to me. One thing that he always agreed with me was that all my objections were professionally made i.e. we did not swear at each other and as he stated: As a neighbor, I could get along with your quirky sense of humour but on the job...sheesh!'
4) The target in fact was WV High Social Studies Teacher, Ken Raison, whom had collected 3 negative Teachers Reports inside of two years based primarily on written letter complaints by parents egged on by their fun-seeking teen-agers whom knew just what to do to raise a storm. (He was described to me as a 'teacher with above intelligence by one colleague and a 'hell of a nice guy' by a mutual friend ): SEE website: In the Beginning. That latter game part is important as that game was set up in the summer of 1984 before I transferred to WV High from Hillside Secondary School (since destroyed and sold for condos but don't blame me on that account!) Raison was not informed of those letters and therefore had no opportunity to respond as they just turned up in court 'with a pink ribbon' to damn him in the public mind. Such a bad taste was left among WV teachers at large had our Hillside administrator stating that with any negative parental letter, he would decide whether or not to pursue it and if he did, then the teacher would be given a copy; the best answer under the circumstances as one must 'lawyer-up' if handed a negative letter. (I was in a position to insist that Ed investigate one such letter in 1985 which Ed privately told me that the parent 'was just a boy' which I concurred with but demanded that Ed respond to that parent on that level. He never did which in large measure explains how rumours go rampant in WV (and possibly elsewhere under similar circumstances.)
5) Raison's trial was highly publicized as he was the first to be expelled for incompetence from the profession in B.C. (My 1985 trial was hidden from the media and for good reason by the conspirators.) A fellow senior teacher later told me that he personally resigned due to administrative abuse in this case. The Social Studies Department Co-ordinator also stood up for Raison stating that this would be a 'black day' for WV if the dismissal was upheld. It was. WV could ill-afford to have the second dismissal in the province in 1985 under the same Supt. hence I was 'laid-off for economic reasons' in a case which has never been resolved. Technically I am still an Employee of WV owed 35 years of 'deferred salary' now including pension explaining why my case is still open as there has been no judicial Decision. That is what a Justice System is all about...giving Decisions as opposed to the judges picking up the ball, as it were, and going home before the game has been played out. In short, the authorities were circumventing personal teacher support from colleagues who were prepared to support me but, as I told them, I was laid off for economic reasons. The term 'current demonstrated ability' was undefined in BILL 35 and elsewhere in law but the crooked arbitrator who cooked his figures to show 16 new hires to be 16 lay-offs with myself being the necessary 17th implying teacher incompetency was later rejected by the court(after I changed from the Union lawyer=sweetheart deal) as being patently unreasonable when they quashed the Arbitration (and the evidence as to his perfidy) leaving me in limbo. Over 50 judges in the ensuing years have ignored the fact that the WV Employer refuses to recognize court oversight in this case although they lost an Appeal on that question. Talk of the shades of the current carbon tax.
6) I first met Vancouver Principal Jim Carter in 1968 after my father's business ran into financial problems and I was seeking a teaching position. There was nothing untoward about him. I met him again in 1978 as a Principal at Sentinel High School, the third high school in West Vancouver as I sought to escape 'stormin Norman'. Again, there was nothing untoward against him. However, he was the final principal for Raison to have in his second year with Raison not keeping his head down leading to his dismissal. As an administrator, Jim Carter was intensely disliked by his colleagues. On one professional day, His VP dressed down in logging clothes and boots as he introduced Carter for his speech. Carter, of course, was in the obligatory tie. As campaign minister for Dr. Pat McGeer, Education Minister, Carter became Deputy Minister of Education and was the force behind pushing BILL 35 through which was only used against this personage before it was withdrawn in typical banana republic fashion. Currently, my response to Ottawa Court's Master Kaufman (SEE web: LEGAL MAILmay) may best be described as 'two birds of a feather...'
7) After 16 years at Hillside Secondary, I accepted an open offer to all teachers to circulate among schools as a healthy measure which I did to West Vancouver Secondary as a Social Studies Teacher. On September 19, I notified the Principal, John Williams, of an unsigned note slipped under my door reading...'This has all been planned since summer and there is nothing you can do about it. God bless. It paralleled the stunt with my 3 Grade 11 History classes which were amazingly quiet and were scoring low on quizzes which in turn was Raison's experience. The senior teacher in the previous year for most of these students had taken ill and they had a number of replacements hence leading to skewered results. At any rate, Williams did not have any parental complaints at that time. In early November, I was requested to meet with Ron Fenwick who had played a large role in Raison's dismissal and had been heavily criticized even in the media. He was terrified because in front of him was a pile of critical parental letters which he was prepared to pronounce that 'there was nothing in them'. He was also planning to retire that year as he did not get along with Ed Carlin, a factor in May and June which led to BILL 35 being invoked against me. I went along with the dismissal of all letters but one from a former single parent whose daughter I had taught at Hillside. She was failing all her courses including mine but he only criticized me. A meeting was held at my request and I challenged him on this basis leaving him to waffle out as he no doubt feared a court challenge.
8) At any rate, Carlin ordered Williams to evaluate my teaching which is customary for any teacher new to a school.
Williams conducted the usual 4 classroom visits in January and February which were all satisfactory complete with written notes which I was not given as the final Report is all the teacher receives. Then came the fireworks. I was set up by Carlin and Williams in a meeting in March sprung on me before a parental husband and wife regarding complaints that their Grade 9 daughter made about my teaching. (By this time, the seniors settled down. One student at the November meeting whom I asked for with Fenwick, confessed to the summer plot.) Williams was never the brightest tack in the box; indeed, he was the dullest. He never completed his summer Master's Degree in a U.S. diploma mill but he was a former teacher under Carter and was handed the job after Carter's departure as noted above. (He was later transferred to an Intermediate School from which he retired in 1990.) He introduced the meeting with the parents noting their concerns and that they did not wish to discuss it in front of me. They agreed! Now what? Williams tried to dig his way out of that corner before I interrupted him: The parents answered his question honestly which I do not dispute so that's the end of this meeting as they do not wish to discuss their concerns in my presence. Carlin was wild but could not dig Williams out of the corner he had backed himself into. The parents left and I blasted Williams for setting me up. Carlin, before departing, stated, 'I really would like to know what is going on in that classroom' prompting Williams to claim the necessity of one more visit. I wrote Victoria (Jim Carter) immediately as it would take 3 out of 5 negative class Reports to rate the situation 'unsatisfactory' which I got as Williams changed two evaluations as I learned later in arbitration = fraud. That's when Carter got active on BILL 35 showing how the powers that be can pass highly controversial legislation in 3 months without Parliamentary approval; exactly what Trudeau is doing currently.
9) Carlin did not want to invoke BILL 35 against me. In early May, he ordered Ron Fenwick to write the obligatory oversight satisfactory Report and put an end to the matter. Fenwick didn't do that and because of their dislike for each other, Carlin did not check up on him so that 2 days before the end of class in early June, I notified Carlin of Fenwick's perfidy to which he told him...'Drop everything and get in there...' Again, Fenwick screwed the pooch by failing to evaluate my performance merely relegating the matter to 'notes'. I told him in mid-June that, thanks to him, BILL 35 would be used against me which he didn't believe. He was wrong as Carlin found himself in an untenable position with the public knowledge of Fenwick's stumble and called for my lay-off even though the Board was hiring that year. The lay-off notice was filed in arbitration without the vote count merely marking it as 'passed'. In 2004, under the Access Laws, I learned the vote was 3 to 2 against dismissal invoking the Act; Chairperson Margo Furk and her successor, Mike Smith, being the two who favoured dismissal under Bill 35
10) The conspirators had two problems; they could not have the five Trustees take the stand and, in essence, perjure themselves. Stuart Clyne QC for the Board (also handled the Raison prosecution) did not call them nor did the arbitrator ask to have them called. It was a major bone of contention which I had with the Union lawyer who refused to place them on the stand leaving the arbitrator to believe he was looking at a 'sweetheart deal' - which he was - which would not be appealed. He was wrong as noted above with my change of lawyer which explains why every Union client today must have his own lawyer ($10,000?) accompany him or her in arbitration. Even as to numbers, Assistant Supt. Bill May testified that he did not see the need to lay off any teacher in WV in June of 1985. That testimony was conspicuous by its absence from the arbitrator's Report. Then where did the request come from? 'Ed Carlin' was his answer. Carlin should have been yanked back on the stand for perjury but again, the union lawyer deferred. The first 5 days of the arbitration consisted of the 'shell game' in which two teachers senior to me were given my class load for September with the Board going out and hiring new staff to take their positions. A vague definition of 'current demonstrated ability was used by the arbitrator as 'teacher competence'. The term as noted earlier is ultra vires as it is not defined in BILL 35 nor law in general. Then it was our turn. The Union lawyer pulled out my detailed lesson review by Williams which prompted Clyne to request re-opening the Board's case. In the next 6 days it became clear that Williams had fudged his lesson review notes by 'losing the first two lesson evaluation notes' which were in marked contrast to my own notes at the time. His case fell apart on a number of other points. The ensuing Union argument consisted of a 1/2 hour in which they made the salient point that BILL 35 as stated was in addition to the Education Act and did not supplant any provisions therein. In short, teacher competence was ruled out as a consideration leaving the Board only with their bogus numbers.
11) Arbitrator Louis Lindholm, a devout Christian who was defeated as Mayor for Victoria during this enquiry, died shortly after the court order to return to arbitration (before Lindholm of all people as I had a new labour lawyer arguing against that one) creating in law what is called frustration whereby the participating litigants are not to be held responsible for glitches in the law (which Justice Spencer in 1995 did against me when I returned to court requesting the Justice Southin's 1987 Decision should be altered to read that the Employer must return as opposed to should return employment to me). A recommendation in law has weight. Unfortunately, over 50 judges have ruled against me in that regard claiming that I am merely being frivolous and vexatious in making such a request.
12) What upsets those 50 judges and explains the conspiracy is that Clyne QC held a second illicit meeting in July attended by some un-named Trustees but not all, in which he rewrote the lay-off notice after he saw that I was challenging my lay-off. Southin called for those notes and later returned them because she did not use them. It was that failure to call Clyne out for fraud which explains why my 35 year request for that July 1985 record which both the Employer and Union won't provide is why the Justice System imploded leaving Canada as 'just another pretty Third World entity'.
13) To conclude with Carlin's role. I don't think he realized that the Trustees were trying to distance themselves from any re-arbitration by eliminating Carlin along with myself. It was a bridge too far type of thing. In 1987, a picture of Carlin in the paper declaring the necessity of using BILL 35 to clean house was no doubt the excuse to dismiss him at year end. As he told me and my wife when I invited him to join us one afternoon in the empty court coffee lounge, he believed I was part of the reason for his dismissal (a very big part, I submit). He made a few bucks travelling the province to tell his story but when he asked Jim Carter for a job, I gather Carter looked at him as though he had grown two heads. For the rest of his life, he was never employed again in B.C. Schools and was forced to take a minimal job hiring B.C. teachers for schools in California. He may have also run as the unsuccessful Liberal candidate in a WV election. His second wife taught in a WV School where his 'highly spirited' son from his first marriage was physically shaken by a former Elementary Principal doing one year of teaching before retirement. I remember the day Carlin arrived in School to have this Elementary Principal apologize in person, a shattering experience for one from the Old School. I guess everyone can be grateful that the son was kept out of my classes except that Principal whom had to apologize.
14) So Edwin, I salute you and your 'engaging' personality whether in life or death as the case may be. If you predecease me, I gather I can expect Jim Carter dealing with admissions at the Pearly Gates to greet me by pre-arrangement; let's call it BILL 36. As for the sanctimonious government-appointed Arbitrator, Louis Lindholm, the Pope (see below) is wrong; there is a Hell for him and his ilk such as Ottawa's Superior Court Master Kaufman .
15) Considering this is my account, I will digress from the above as we are witnessing dramatic new directions brought on by COVID 19 ramifications in many parts of our society. The first is that the above story shows that I am no stranger to judicial malfeasance and that I catch the authorities out at every turn forcing them to turn our society upside down and in that process exposing a corrupt and corruptible Justice System. No society survives that charge. Am I winning? Nope. Am I losing? Nope. Is the Old Boy's Club winning? Nope. Are they losing? Yes...Big Time
It may seem a stretch, but the Catholic Church which has lost 80% of its membership with the other 20% saying, as they did to the Pope recently in Dublin; 'Bloody hell, we are not going to pray for the sinners and victims alike; we want justice against pedophile priests!'. Privately, the Pope is shifting ground as he sees the Catholic Church going the way of Canada as seen through the Employee's Case. 'There is no Hell' he asserts, 'just nothing'. He adds that there are good people who are not Catholics and that there are bad people who are Catholics. The Catholic Church may disappear in the next decade as will Canada in its present form. It is this new found faith in the 'individual' which characterizes my Institutional Autism label in which institutions speak only to other institutions in Canada leaving the individual exposed. In short the 1982 Charter of Rights and Freedoms is a dead letter in Canada. If Russia is described as a land with 'no hope' then Canada has 'false hope' for her Pandora's box is empty. You choose which is worse.
16) As to my own demise, I am left to my own resources to which I have no objection:
The Walking Drum by Louis L'Amour
'Lie to a liar, for lies are his coin;
Steal from a thief, for that is easy;
Lay a trap for the trickster and catch him at first attempt,
But beware of an honest man
(attributed to a Somali saying)
Twilight and evening bell, And after that the dark! And may there be no sadness of farewell, When I embark;
And at my burial; the funeral director is to intone these words; 'Here lies an ethical man' followed by a moment of silence whether anyone attends or not.
17) The immediate future for Canada? 2 out of 3 Canadians believe the system to be broken, After COVID-19, make that 3 out of 3 Canadians. Already we are seeing people hit the streets, all that is left to our democracy.
Respectfully submitted, Roger Callow May 04-2020
ADDENDUM: How did WV get 'stormin' Norman'. By committee. WV went right across Canada looking for the best administrator to lead in the 'richest community in Canada' to quote the words of Trustee Margo Furk (How's that for a class act?) The last candidate from Winnipeg (air fare plus hotel paid by the Board) was nervously sitting in the School Office when Ed told me he had to cancel out on our meeting as, while the committee had already decided on 'stormin' Norman'; they felt obliged to see this candidate to justify the needless expense. As for Norman's success? He was primed behind the scenes by a teacher who possessed the committee questions and later served as one of his V.P.'s. Hence when Norman turned up - can you believe this? - with his flip cards with pre-written answers, he aced the interview along with his big booming voice. When complaints started filing in from all quarters against him (he was spending more time at the Board Offices doing God knows what as even Carlin was beginning to wonder, than in the school where he left clear instructions to be followed without follow-up. Later, he considered it recognition for his ability to be appointed to evaluate a School in another District. It wasn't. It was a test by the Board to see if he was as incompetent as people claimed. He failed royally as one irate art teacher took him to task for his complete ignorance of her field but not one he still had strong opinions over. From there, Norman was 'booted upstairs' in a non-job at the Board for a year and then re-assigned to the smallest elementary school where he ended his career. Apparently he fared fairly well in that last appointment but then he had no choice. The committee approach in the 'richest community in Canada' was never used again.
Other stories on 'stormin' Norman: Interestingly, the problem today is in the opposite direction from bully boy principals; namely, milquetoasts leaving teachers to fend completely for themselves which is the main reason why I do not recommend anyone take up teaching. But then, no ethical person would take up the practice of law, nor with the suicide rate for Doctors being twice the normal population, would that profession be chosen. It's a sick nation.
A) 'Stormin' Norman' offered his house for the Xmas Party but the convenor had to tell him that most teachers would not attend. So he tried bullying them into attending which didn't work so that particular year the staff Party was canceled completely. When he came to me, I recognized his generosity in offering his house, but, no, I would not be attending which sent him off fuming. He must have had similar rejections elsewhere although not quite so pointed.
B) He was cheap. The shop teacher running the auto shop permitted students to work on their own car and staff cars according to their teaching plan. I had one of the motors changed in one of my cars. Stormin' Norman asked to borrow the keys one weekend from the shop teacher to use it to change the oil on his car; a social 'no-no'.
C) If I have one visual vignette, it is Stormin' Norman standing in the hallway still in his coat on arrival with his bag lunch in his hand, bellowing at students to get into class by the morning bell.
D) In one staff meeting, we were told that if a teacher cannot handle a discipline problem, he should contact one of the V.P.'s who, in turn, if they could not handle the problem, to then contact him. 'In other words,' asked one staff member,' it should be considered a personal failure if a teacher problem were handed to first the V.P. and then to him as a source of failure on both parts?' That's right, he intoned.
E) 'Oh, no, I want you to decide to do it' with his finger in your chest waiting for 'his' answer. On one occasion, I refused a student permission to skip a detention because this was the second time that he had ducked out which did not suit the Coach's needs (same one who became his V.P.) so the V.P. asked Stormin Norman to intervene. I said that as the administrative head of the school he could over-rule my detention begetting me the answer above. If I am to decide, then he serves the detention. He strode off as I asked, 'Are you over-ruling me?' Yes. The interesting part is that self-same player was suspended from the team later on for bad behaviour.
F) In a year-end staff meeting, when he told us that he was being promoted to the Board Office although he preferred to remain at Hillside School, there was a deathly silence. Afterwards, you wouldn't believe all the brown-nosing comments such as ...I told Norman to his face that he could not do this, that or the other thing... In fact, there were only a few such as myself who opposed his actions openly during his tenure.
G) One last point: when Norman realized he was in deep trouble on all levels including the negative teacher's Report which was still open on me, he wrote an unsolicited letter stating that if I were to transfer to another high school, he would give me full support in that application...talk about hypocrisy, but then bullies invariably are. I later learned that he confided to a colleague that I could be more trouble than 50 teachers combined. Premier Doug Ford would no doubt concur by increasing that number 100 fold...and all because - as one experienced senior Department Coordinator put it - 'The problem with you is that you are ethical.'