Tag Archives: WRDSB

Goodbye Mary Ann

September 11, 1960 to April 19, 2023.

Yesterday my best friend Mary Ann died of cancer. She had a remission a few years ago, then in the fall, on her last test to see if it had returned, another more lethal form of leukemia appeared. It would not go into remission and she died at 63.

I met Mary Ann when I was a trustee on the Waterloo Region District School Board in the 1990s and we became fast friends. If you are reading this and you say to yourself, “But I was Mary Ann’s best friend!”, you are right. She had several best friends, was close to her three sisters and had many regular friends and acquaintances. A wise, listening ear, she should have been a social worker or counsellor. She was a fantastic school board trustee, one of the best.

For her obituary, I give you her own words.


I was here

I had a very ordinary life that, on reflection, feels extraordinary

I was born a Scottish girl and I worked hard to become a Canadian (Go Leafs go)

I had young parents who moved continents to better their girls lives

I was here and I was a daughter and a sister. I was blessed to move from sister to best friends. My story only works with Elizabeth, Maggie & Jacquie. They enriched my life and gave me 2 more brothers and amazing nieces and nephews

I was here and I had true love. There were bets at our wedding that we wouldn’t last 5 years…those people hadn’t seen Dave in white painter pants. Getting a big brother and a sister out of the deal was a nice bonus, as was another brother and 3 awesome nieces and a nephew

I was here, and I was a friend

If you were my friend, it likely happened the day we met and lasted forever. If we don’t talk in ages, we pick up like it’s been a minute

I was here, and I was a mother

There aren’t words for that gift. Every minute with my boys has been life altering. My love for Dave was strengthened by watching him as a father. Seeing him in our boys has been wondrous. I am always going to be here in them

How blessed am I that I get weeks or months to say goodbye… I fought as hard as I could to stay but leukemia got through two different chemo protocols. That means I’m palliative…and that means the time I have left will be a gift every day. I’ve been able to laugh with my boys, plan my non funeral, teach Dave how to use the banking app. People are drowning me in baby and cat videos (THANK YOU). I’ve been able to cancel apps and try to off load Royal Doultons (no takers)

I’m very much at peace

I have the easy part and hopefully everyone will help Dave and the boys through the sad part



Banning Books, Banning Controversial Topics, Shutting up your Enemies is not Freedom of Expression.

Trans flag

Why am I suddenly wading into the contentious dispute between Mike Ramsay and the other WRDSB trustees by bringing up the credit card scandal from when I was a trustee over 20 years ago? I am presently retired from a long career as a Regional Councillor. It is this statement that I found on the twitter feeds of WRDSB trustees Cindy Watson and Mike Ramsay.

Trans kids” aren’t a thing. “Gender” confused kids are. And if a kid is confused about their gender, it’s because the adults in their life made them confused. Your son isn’t a girl because he likes dolls and dresses. Your daughter isn’t a boy because she wants short hair.

For the past year, my child has been on a gender journey. He is now no longer Bronwyn Elizabeth but Brian John. He says he hid his gender for 20 years, through marriage, separation and two lovely children. Why? Because he feared violence and shunning. My other daughter and myself support him in his journey. It is not easy for me, particularly the change in pronouns, though I find he/him easier then they/them. I am still struggling to call my past daughter my son.

To help myself, I attended a meeting of PFLAG — Parents, Friends and Family of Lesbians and Gays. Every single person at the meeting was a Mom grappling with the transgender change of their child. The transchildren ranged in age from 14 to 21. My daughter is 37. Not one of the Moms encouraged their child to become trans. Their child, like mine, came out to them. They were at PFLAG to learn how to support their child.

As for my grandchildren (9 and 11), they understand that Mommy is still Mommy but pronouns have changed. I was pleased to read the EFTO document on gender identity that encourages teachers to learn about and embrace diversity. I want to know that when my grandchildren go to their kind teachers, they will be helped and their school mates will be encouraged to understand diversity and not bully. Bullying is one of my granddaughter’s greatest fears.

I have concerns though. The delegation who came before the WRDSB wanted library books about transgender banned. I watched the delegation speak and disagree with cutting her off because after a long political career, I knew it would lead to her being a martyr. It was a tough call by the chair.

I also knew that censoring Trustee Ramsay would only make him a martyr as well. Unfortunately, like any personnel issue, the reasons and actions of the board had to be discussed in camera. I have found in my own career that this leaves the trustees or councillors bringing the action at a disadvantage because they can’t talk about it. Trustee Ramsay, as an experienced politician, also knows that suing the other trustees also stops them speaking because the board’s lawyer and their own lawyer would have advised not speaking when there is a live case as the words can beheld against them.

I find it interesting how Trustee Ramsay keeps speaking yet says he is denied freedom of expression. He wants to ban teachers from talking about anti- black racism. This despite the fact that he said the other trustees were racist in their actions because he is black. Trustee Watson and he want teachers and librarians to be banned from providing help and information about transgendered people. How is this giving everyone freedom of expression?

I congratulate the EFTO for spearheading an understanding of diversity. It leads to the prevention of bullying. Bullying prevention is hard. Acceptance of those who are different is hard. But there is nothing harder for a child trying to learn than worrying if they could be bullied or shunned.

Here is one of the articles about the credit card scandal. I was quoted in some others

I was quoted in a similar article