Art Boon

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Art Boon

Post by pinger on Fri 01 May 2015, 16:16

A 90-year-old veteran's travel predicament was relieved in the eleventh hour Friday, after an Ontario school board compromised to allow his son, a history teacher, to accompany him to a Second World War ceremony in the Netherlands.

The Avon Maitland District School Board in Stratford, Ont., previously denied Rick Boon's request for unpaid leave to accompany his father, Art Boon, to an event commemorating the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Holland next week.

On Friday, the school board released a statement saying that it is maintaining its position to refuse a leave of absence, but the teacher "will not be directed to attend work next week."

Strangers rally for Stratford teacher to go to Holland with veteran dad
"If Mr. Boon chooses to go to The Netherlands, we will sort out the legalities following his return," Ted Doherty, director of education, said in the statement.

Doherty added that Boon will not face any disciplinary action from the board.

Earlier on Friday, Minister of Veterans Affairs Erin O'Toole weighed in on the issue, saying he was "profoundly disappointed" with the school board's "apparent unwillingness" to consider the veteran's need.

"What is most perplexing about this story is the fact that Mr. Boon's son is a history teacher whom the school board empowers to teach our young people about Canadian history," O'Toole said.

After speaking to Art Boon, O'Toole said the veteran feels much more comfortable travelling with his son who knows his health routine and habits, and his son had accompanied him to previous commemorations.

"He knows this could be his last trip to the country that he and thousands of other young Canadians liberated seventy years ago," O'Toole said.

School board granted previous leaves

The school board, which administers public schools in Huron and Perth Counties, including the city of Stratford, said earlier this week that it considered a number of factors, including how many leaves the teacher had previously taken and what impact his absence would have on students.

The board previously told CBC News that it had granted Rick Boon unpaid leaves to take similar trips on more than one occasion, and had informed the teacher that he would not be granted leave for a similar reason again.

In Friday's statement, Doherty said he has "very grave concerns" about the validity of Rick Boon's request for leave under the Employment Standards Act.

By granting a leave, Doherty said, he and the school board may be setting a precedent that would apply to other employees in the province who wish to accompany their family members on "recreational and other medically non-essential trips."

Despite the tensions from the controversy, Doherty said the school board is proud to be associated with the veteran.

"We remember and celebrate his achievements," the statement read. "We are very pleased that he will travel to Europe to receive the recognition he so justly deserves."

Petition draws thousands of signatures

O'Toole said he called the school board this week to ensure that the veteran could attend the commemoration in a way that he was most comfortable. He also urged the board to consider formulating a policy in the future to accommodate similar events.

"I truly hope that the Avon Maitland District School Board recognizes that public concern is based out of genuine concern for a 90-year old veteran who deserves to be heard," O'Toole said. "Sticking to your guns when they are pointed the wrong way is not leadership."

An online petition denouncing the school board's decision obtained more than 31,000 signatures as of Friday.

Boon was among the first troops to storm the beaches of Normandy on D-Day and went on to liberate France and Holland from the Nazis, the petition said.

Boon has maintained that he will make the trip back to the Netherlands with or without his son. His flight is scheduled to leave Toronto Friday evening.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/school-board-decides-to-let-teacher-travel-with-war-vet-dad-art-boon-1.3057358

Was following this article for a while. MVA minister O'toole got involved and expedited a happy ending. The father needs his son by his side.
PR stunt? Not sure but it's a win/win situation all round. O'toole did not have to get involved but he did.

It's a very cold day in hell, but I applaud the MVA minister for his actions. Kudos to you Erin O'toole. pinger.
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Re: Art Boon

Post by Guest on Fri 01 May 2015, 17:44

Well it's not like he was asking for paid leave, he was going to be away for about a Week of unpaid leave.
If what they are saying is true that he has done this before in the past, and was warned against doing it in the future I think shows some disrespect towards the whole Idea, the Idea of respecting a Veteran in allowing that Veteran have his son accompany him to a place that allows this Veteran to receive the recognition in being among the first troops to storm the beaches of Normandy on D-Day.
I think other arrangements can be taken to ensure no students will lose any amount of education with the exception of one history teacher.
This could very well be a case of some not understanding their own history, and the importance of those who fought wearing the Canadian uniform - perhaps the history teacher should also consider educating those outside of his students.
I say give the teacher a break, and show some respect towards the Veterans of this Country, this should have been automatic which would have prevented this article from being written in the first place, lesson learn't I guess, I hope.

With respect to the MVA jumping in, I also respect him for doing that, but it does not surprise me that he did jump in, he has showed us before in his short time as being our MVA that he is not afraid to step up and do what he can to help, if he feels he can help, it certainly seems that he does have an open door policy sort a speak.


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Re: Art Boon

Post by Guest on Fri 01 May 2015, 17:57

O toole is absolutely right sticking to your guns when there pointed in the wrong direction is not leadership!!! That sums up harper to a tee!!! must have been talking about his boss.

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Re: Art Boon

Post by pinger on Fri 01 May 2015, 18:40

lol wild thing. But Trooper, bear in mind the MVA was elected 2 hours or less travelling from Art.
Kinda like if Harper's hometown was the same as mine. Well, I would get preferential treatment but not the same as if I was in the boonies. And that's a sad reality.

Here's hoping the kiddies in that school recognize the live history lesson before them, learn from it and can somehow lessen that kind of bureacracy in their futures for starters.
Just a thought. pinger.
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Re: Art Boon

Post by Teentitan on Fri 01 May 2015, 19:00

I say BZ to the Minister on this one. It's not stepping in that impressed me it's what he said that shows his respect for veterans on their final tour.

Not trying to blow smoke up O'Toole's butt but I have to mention this. VVi has been trying for years to tape Stakeholder meetings. Now our intention was to never broadcast them but for us to help remember what was said. We wanted to do this because minutes for Stakeholder Meetings never were done even when asked for.

So we dealt with the media guy first and told him it's for us and us only. But some people at these meetings are worried about being recorded. So the Minister himself, not his DM Walt Natynzyk, Erin O'Toole came over to talk to us.

So I said if you can promise we have notes within 7 days then we will not record it. First word out of his mouth...Deal. Now I'm an old fashioned kind of guy who still goes by handshakes. I stuck my hand out and he never hesitated and shook my hand then the Chief Editor.

SIX days later we had a rough draft of notes and the promise of detailed notes.

This makes VVi very happy as we will put them up on the CSAT for everyone to read. Points that may mean nothing to one person may mean a lot to another and help them feel their issue is not being ignored.

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