Opinion – You’ve Got Mail!

through the looking glassBy Marianne Friesen

Normally I do not make comments about decisions made by government officials on any level, or at least not in column form. However, the recent actions of our most trusted elected official, the Minister of Education, Ron Lemiuex can not go unnoticed or unspoken of.

Both as a parent and a taxpayer, I was shocked when I heard that our province had approved to spend $3.2 million on setting up our children with email addresses.

Broken down, this worked out to $1.8 million on staff, consulting fees, maintenance costs and other expenditures. An additional $1.2 million will be spent on software and everything else that is required to set up an email network and $200,000 for a contingency fund.

What where they thinking?

First of all, on the home front, my children, who are in the Hanover School Division, already have email accounts, or at least access to them through a divisional server. This is a service that the division already provides, paid for by their budget, which comes from our taxes.

Never mind, the five Hotmail accounts (which are free by the way) that one of my daughters seems to think that she can not live without (multiply that by three daughters and one son.)

Did I mention their Yahoo accounts (also free)?

I can understand our Minister’s point…to an extent.

We are in the electronic age and it is important that our children have access to the outside world and the Internet is here to stay. However, spending $3.2 million on what I personally thing is a royal pain in the bum, is what I define as a true waste of tax dollars.

If the province felt that they needed to spend money on technology, why not spend it on computers, or software? Or reallocate the funding into other programs and services or how about a new school?

I am sure that La Broquerie would have appreciated the funding to build a new school. Instead of having to face a road of endless red tape while trying to prove that they need a school and then having to fight for the money to build it.

My point is this, each year we as parents are required to shell out money for everything from pencils to books with the exception of toilet paper and floor wax (actually we pay for that too with our taxes).

Would it have been so difficult to have taken that $3.2 million and put it into something that was needed instead of blowing it on something that can be obtained for free? Oops, I forgot, this is the government we are talking about!

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