Question Period Highlight – Air Quality Testing at JL Ilsley High School

November 4, 2014

Your NDP MLAs are hard at work in the legislature this fall, holding the government to account during Question Period on a number of key issues, including job loses since Stephen McNeil became Premier, and how the Liberals’ health board amalgamation distraction is causing their government to take their eye off what really matters – front line care. Here is a question NDP Education Critic Denise Peterson-Rafuse asked Karen Caseyl about asbestos found at JL Ilsley High School.

DENISE PETERSON-RAFUSE: My question  is to the Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development. Asbestos was discovered at J.L. Ilsley High School on Friday. According to CTV News, the asbestos was contained inside tar particles that fell in the library and the audio-visual room. I will table that news story.

Mr. Speaker, my question through you to the Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development is, with teachers and students returning to the classroom this week, what can the Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development tell us about the testing done for air quality at J.L. Ilsley High School?

 KAREN CASEY: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for the question. As soon as the asbestos was identified, it was brought to my attention. I know that the staff at the school board and at the school took every precaution to ensure that contact between students and teachers and the area of contamination was addressed, and that the testing that was done was done to ensure that the environment was safe for both staff and students to return. I was assured that that testing was done and it was safe, but no student would be put in an unsafe situation.

PETERSON-RAFUSE: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the minister for her answer. Certainly asbestos raises warning bells with parents. CTV News was advised by one parent that he will be convinced the air quality is safe after he sees the results of the air quality test. So my question through you to the minister is, will the Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development direct the school board to release the results of the air quality study to put parents’ minds at ease about their concerns?

CASEY: Mr. Speaker, to the member, it is extremely important that parents are provided with the most accurate, most current information available. They too are concerned about the safety of their children, and the school board has a responsibility to ensure that any and all information is communicated to the parents. Initially, parents were informed of the situation, and I will be ensuring that the follow-up information to guarantee that the space is safe will also be shared with the parents.