Ottawa politicians push trustee to change vote

Coun. Jan Harder and Progressive Conservative MPP Lisa MacLeod have teamed up to put the heat on school board trustee Donna Blackburn after she voted for a $15-million rebuild of Broadview Public School.

Councillor, MPP give public school trustee 15-day deadline to overturn vote or resign

School board official voted in favour of $15 million to replace a school not in her ward, infuriating local politicians. 2:16

Both a local MPP and city councillor are pressuring an Ottawa public school trustee to change her vote regarding work at a local elementary school or resign.

PC MPP Lisa MacLeod, along with Coun. Jan Harder, want Donna Blackburn to be fiscally conservative with her vote for construction at Broadview Public School. ((CBC))

Ottawa-Carleton District School Board trustee Donna Blackburn, who represents schools in the Barrhaven/Knoxdale-Merivale area, recently voted in favour of a $15-million plan to rebuild Broadview Public School, which has had many structural issues.

But Progressive Conservative MPP Lisa MacLeod and Barrhaven councillor Jan Harder disagree with that decision and voiced their concerns in a letter to Blackburn.

The two politicians say the school board should choose a much cheaper alternative in renovating the school, and Blackburn should side with that. They are worried the money put towards Broadview would take away from money needed for school construction and renovation in Barrhaven.

If she doesn't, it's going to be a very difficult end of her term.

MacLeod even called this the possible end of Blackburn's career.

"She appears to be stubborn. I just can say the next 14 days we're going to continue to try and persuade her," MacLeod said.

"If she doesn't, it's going to be a very difficult end of her term."

Blackburn sticks to her guns

Harder believes Blackburn's vote is harming the area the trustee represents, which is also represented by the two upset politicians, as well as other areas across the city.

"We're not putting up with it. She has 15 days to change her vote and we hope she gets the message loudly and clearly," Harder said.

But Blackburn told the CBC's Ashley Burke this morning she is not changing her vote despite the threat, which she called "unprecedented".

"I will stand my ground and will not be resigning," Blackburn said of the ultimatum.

"I'm the first openly gay openly trustee elected. I'm the first trustee whose resignation has been asked for. I'm looking forward to what history I'm going to make next year."

Broadview recently passed a check from Ottawa Public Health after parents claimed the school was "falling apart" and put the students at risk.