What many expected was going to bring definitive action on the part of the provincial government to end the Osoyoos Secondary school-closing crisis turned out instead to be an admonishment — several admonishments, in fact — for the school district, its school board and for the people of Osoyoos.
Everyone, it appears, is to blame for the current state of educational affairs in the South Okanagan except the provincial Liberal government.
And Osoyoos residents? Well, Ms Larson had some especially harsh commentary for how they’re handling their emotions.
She was “extremely disappointed” she said “at the animosity that has arisen between Oliver and Osoyoos again” and just couldn’t understand how an Oliver resident coming to Osoyoos to shop would be told to “get the hell out of town because nobody wants their business.”
That, she said, suggested the whole sordid mess had gone too far.
Which is why, she explained, the provincial government was riding to the rescue after four months of patiently waiting for a local solution to resolve the school-closing question.
The MLA didn’t invite the School Board to her little gathering — “There would have been no point in putting those people through the type of targeted nastiness . . . that they have received whenever they walk down the street in Osoyoos” — but she had no qualms about calling them out.
Everybody — the good people of Osoyoos, Town of Osoyoos Council, the MLA and even the Minister of Education — knows Osoyoos Secondary needs to remain open.
Now, Ms Larson said, the school board needs to see that as well and “do the right thing: keep the school open.”
If this were a western, we’d say Ms Larson is making like she wants to gun-sling for the Osoyoos settlers.
The trouble is, the white-hatted Boundary-Similkameen MLA showed up on a crippled pony carrying a six-shooter firing buckshot.
The MLA’s tough talk this morning will do little more than irk the bejesus out of board trustees — the provincial government’s very own hired hands — sending them scurrying into the hills to harden their stubbornness.
To expect trustees to come down from them hills with anything but anger in their britches after the alienation they were subjected to this morning is almost as silly as expecting a plugged nickel to grow legs and walk out of the saloon.
And that spit-in-your-eye commentary on how we treat visitors to Fort OsoyoosStrong won’t endear Ms Larson with local residents either.
If her intention was to tighten the barbed wire between what our MLA sees as feuding parties, today was a good day’s work.
And if she had also hoped to shoot herself in the foot at the same time, it was a really good day’s work.
— Andrew Stuckey