Why did you decide to run?

For you, the faithful...

Why bolster and introduce new resources for mental health and relationships?

Secure relationship in which people feel safe, understood, cared for, etc. allows children (and adults) to play, be curious, focus, learn, and mature. When relationships or our sense of safety in the world are disrupted, it is difficult to focus, learn, sleep, etc. Healthy relationships at home and with staff are therefore key for our children to flourish. How much more is this true of our relationship with God who is the Rock and who's love and care for us are an endless ocean of mercy!

See https://candidates.vote4kids.ca/brian-oneill/ regarding other relevant points of interest.

What is your stance on the proposed new curriculum?


The amount of content proposed may be intimidating or unrealistic for staff and students (adapting to new curriculum and didactic methods can be a big undertaking for teachers). An attempt to overhaul the entire curriculum all at once seems, perhaps, over-ambitious. Some subjects may need more time and work before being ready to pilot or implement while other subjects (e.g., math and computer science) may be in more urgent need of updating and should perhaps be given priority. The Christian-centered wording found in some sections may be suited to Christian/Catholic contexts but may need adjusted for public school application. For these reasons, and others, hesitancy and broad abstention from piloting the curriculum is understandable; yet, it may have been beneficial to have had more participation in piloting at least some subjects in order to bear influence and provide feedback for a more successful process.


On a basic didactic level, the reasoning of the new curriculum seems to respond to the general decline in quality of education that has been witnessed in recent times. The more traditional model of information-based learning could be of benefit to our students and society, though we must ensure realistic expectations. The goal of equipping our youth with more knowledge and math, reading and writing skills to better prepare them for life is a good one. Whatever opportunities and means we have to have a voice and provide feedback will be important to help shape the final form. If this curriculum is to launch, it could be helpful to get a head start by making model teaching units for our teachers to personalize in order to ease the transition for our teachers and students and to give Catholic substance what is to be taught and how.

Ideas/Priorities (Assuming the new curriculum moves forward):

  • Launch new curriculum in stages - starting with the subjects that are in most immediate need of improvement or updating.

  • Make the transition more realistic and fruitful by pre-emptively drafting units of study for the areas of new curriculum to be implemented- appropriating the curricular guidelines with Catholic content and character so that our teachers can use these units as templates.

  • Ensure that the content and learning approaches are age-appropriate.

  • Ensure the content is relevant to our Canadian and Catholic context.

Do you support discrimination of people based on vaccine status?

I do not support discrimination of any kind, including that based on vaccine status. Parents have the right and responsibility to make informed and prudent decisions for their children, with the help of medical professionals and rigorous, honest medical science.

Would you vote in favor of or against mandatory Covid vaccinations for children in schools?

I am opposed to mandatory vaccinations for children. Parents have the right and responsibility to make informed and prudent decisions for their children, with the help of medical professionals and rigorous, honest medical science.

What is your position on masking of children in schools?

If our health authorities require mask wearing or if medical evidence strongly suggests that the benefits of mask wearing among youth far out-weight the risks/detriment to their health, learning, development etc., then we would need to navigate how to respond and ensure people's safety. (I think intellectual and moral rigor and integrity are important in this and all regards.)

In or out of Covid, should a youth or someone they live with have medical conditions which would make wearing a mask sensible and prudent, then it would certainly be a reasonable safety precaution for them to wear a mask to protect themselves or the vulnerable close to them. If the given circumstance medically warranted others to wear masks, then in charity, that would be reasonable as well.

Would you vote in favor of or against mandatory Covid vaccinations for teachers?

I am not in favor of mandating vaccination. According the ethical medical principles of patient autonomy, informed consent, and confidentiality and according to the Nuremberg Code (international law) such a mandate would be unethical. The choice to protect oneself or others with a vaccine (and/or other effective means) is the moral responsibility of the individual. God respects our freedom - so must I.

Beyond the question of a vaccine, I see it as our shared moral responsibility to do everything reasonable and available to protect and uphold the dignity of every human life, regardless of age, race, color, moral or medical history, or any other way of categorizing there may be. God loves each of us. We must do the same (Jn 13:34).

What ways will you help ensure the health and safety of our youth with Covid?

Beyond working in collaboration with our government and health officials we need to

a. Collaboratively discern (with vast parental consultation) how to employ the best scientific data available for balanced and appropriate safety measures for the wellbeing of our children - with particular care to protect students and families who may be contending with identified risk factors.

b. Carefully consider the relevant risk factors related to both the virus and potential safety measures in order to properly consider and balance the risk/benefit ratio of both for the greater well-being of our children and public.

c. Encourage and support healthier nutritional and lifestyle habits that are accessible, affordable, and protective for mental and physical health and immune function (e.g., exercise, vit. D, C, Zinc; stress management; moderated sugar intake etc.)

d. Bolster student and familial mental health support. Chronic stress is taking a sizable toll on the well-being of students and families and is known to diminish immune function, relational and emotional health, and resilience in general.

e. Foster a truly Catholic culture of unity in effort and care for one another - because people work harder and love better when we feel valued and cared for.

What will you do to ensure public funding for our Catholic Schools?

I understand this task to be, largely, a collaborative process as a board of trustees with advocacy groups and our government bodies to lobby for equitable distribution of funds according to the number of students we serve (in proportion to public schools) and the public policy regarding student-teacher ratios.

More specific to my contribution, I aim to

  1. increase the objective and perceived value of our Catholic education in the eyes of our families and public by

  • hearing the needs and priorities of the people and working take action on these

  • fostering the quality of our education

  • bolster the Catholic character and quality of the education and faith formation - thereby being uniquely valuable and irreplaceable. (If we are no different than a public school system, then why would they fund a duplicate system?)

  • increasing the familial and mental health supports to students and families - bolstering children's learning capacity through improved emotional and family life, and increasing government incentive to fund our schools for the good of society

  1. communicate this high value to the government bodies so that they see the importance and difference it makes in the lives of so many tax payers - a system that is in the best interest of our province.

How will ensure that all students are prepared for the realities of the 21st century?

While many of the things our students will learn will be defined by the content of the curriculum, we have the responsibility and opportunity to ensure that what is being taught equips our students not only with competitive skills and knowledge but also with a capacity to examine, understand, and be critical of the issues, information, and ideas that they will encounter in the world. To be able to keep up with and respond to the rapid rate of development in the worlds of tech and business our students need not only to learn information but especially how to learn, think, adapt, and be creative. From Attachment Theory and Developmental Theory, it is understood that emotional stability, health, and maturation are key to a young person's curiousity, creativity, resilience, adaptivity, and emergent drive to learn. This means that the outcome of the education we provide is not merely a product of the content or skills to be transmitted but especially the context: the relationships the students have with their parents and teachers which is highly predictive of how well they are able to learn, create, adapt etc. It also sets the stage for the relationships they will have in life which have immense impact on overall wellbeing and success. (Their social-emotional learning and development is key, which means our teachers need to be well equipped and we need to rediscover the relational essence and nature of effective education that has been significantly lost, forgotten, or overlooked in the Western world).

The above is an academic, developmental, and psychological assessment. As a Catholic school board, the education offered has the added capacity of faith formation and growth in the spiritual life to help our children see things clearly, be discerning and how to respond with character, virtue, fortitude, and integrity.

Briefly said: we need to be attentive to the quality and content of what is taught and also the relational context in order to ensure that a robust education and healthy process of development and maturation.

What is your platform on climate change?

God had Adam name all of the animals (cf. the readings from this past Sunday, Oct 3). This is indicative of man's "dominion", i.e. his responsibility for God's creation. As Catholics, we have a moral responsibility to conduct ourselves rightly regardless of the moral issue. This moral responsibility includes care for our planet, seeking ways to remediate the adverse impact of many of our technologies and actions, and to demand accountable and responsible conduct on the part of our governments, industries, communities, and personal practices.

Locally, this could entail emphasis on recycling; reduction of waste; an examination of the impact of excessive consumerism; "voting with our dollars" in how and where we spend our money; and developing awareness and personal agency in terms of the contribution each person can practically make toward either perpetuating or resolving the existing problems - thus also introducing practical alternatives or changes of habit and life-style.

What is your stance regarding reconciliation?

There is so much to be said about this. Permit me to speak a little to how we might move forward. There is a need for sincere acknowledgement of the moral offenses and failures of the Church, some of its members, and our Canadian government. This must be done with care not to perpetuate intergenerational trauma or victimhood but with the goal of true healing and reconciliation so that we can collaborate toward to a better future together. What Christ modelled and effected was the end of the cycle of violence: it ends only when there is sincere repentance and forgiveness - lest the pain and violence continue.

With this, we also have the opportunity to address the broader problem and practice of colonization that continues even today through various political policies and public attitudes. As Catholics, we must recognize and uphold the dignity and worth of every person and culture.

It may be helpful to recall the earliest and truest of Catholic missionaries. These were at odds with colonialism and colonization. They went to foreign peoples of every nation (including the indigenous), learned their languages and customs, lived with them, loved them, and often died along-side them or at their hands. These true ambassadors of Catholicism respected, honored, and defended the immeasurable worth of every person whom they served and with whom they sought to share the gospel. Accordingly, the Church emphasizes the import of enculturating the gospel such that it respects and, as much as possible, integrates a people's culture.

Finally, we must be careful not to perpetuate the stigma associated with any of the people groups involved. Rather, we must see and address the needs of every person, serving every person as another Christ (Mt 25:40).

How to encourage and facilitate the calls to action as outlined by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission

- To encourage awareness and empathy for the things that have been done and experienced.

- To encourage age-appropriate dialogues and didactic exercises that foster a capacity to recognize present, continuing, or potential actions and systems that could repeat such hurts and offenses.

- To beware of the ideological underpinnings of what has occurred and how it has been and is being treated so that this history does not repeat itself.

- To ensure that the dialogues, application, and response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is for progress in healing and, indeed, for TRUTH and RECONCILIATION to be the fruit

- To carefully and humbly guard against denial, dismissal, blaming, shaming, or the perpetuation of intergenerational trauma or victim identity.

- Apply our Catholic faith in humble, sincere repentance and forgiveness for true healing and redemption from the wrongs done and suffered.

Statement of Belief:

Brian believes that the care and education of our youth is essential for the wellbeing of our society and future. He also sees the immense import and impact that healthy relationships (in the home and with educators) has on the development, wellbeing and success of our youth. He sees an immense value and opportunity in providing quality, authentically Catholic education by which children are invited to discover the world and their faith and to grow into who God has created them to be - in a context that fosters and models growth in faith, virtue, and living relationship with the Living God. Brian believes in the Catholic faith, the missionary mandate of the Church, and the critical and privileged part that Catholic schools play in that mission - to make disciples of all nations. He sees Catholic education as relevant, important, and set apart in as much as it is authentically Catholic and offers what is essential to the Catholic faith: the opportunity to encounter the Risen Lord - which is the beginning of the Christian journey. Finally, Brian believes in loving and welcoming all, as they are, and in not shying away from the invitation we all share: to grow in relationship with God and the glories and beauties He created us for.

How learning conditions can be improved?

- Ensuring consistency in staffing and routines as much as possible.

- Fostering healthy relationships at home and school

- Offering the clarity of the Catholic faith regarding various issues that are sources of contention, division, and confusion in our time and society (being a teen and parent is complicated enough as it is)

- Faith-formation opportunities for educators and admin so that all have the opportunity to be growing in their faith life and capacities as faith-formators.

- Further infusion of awareness of the beautiful and rich contribution that the Catholic church and faith have made in our country's history and in the establishment of our western civilization, values, morality, and life.

- Focus on the addressing of historical, social and moral failures in ways that foster healing, unity, truthful understanding, and reconciliation.

- Ensure basic, physical, and emotional needs of students are met (learning is hard with empty stomachs or aching hearts)

How can trustees and school boards best support teachers?

- Fostering a caring culture where teachers feel appreciated, valued, and cared for.

- Teacher training (including 1. didactic, disciplinary, and relational practices informed by social-emotional learning, trauma informed practices, and/or attachment theory for more effective, informed, and beneficial classroom dynamics; 2. faith-formation; and 3. self-care practices and habits)

- For trustees to lend their ears not only the parents but also the teachers: meeting with some frequency and making ourselves (the trustees) accessible and available.

- To foster a culture of collaboration, team work, hearing of one another, empowering according to giftedness, and a valuing of the person and not merely of their productivity or output. (People work better and with more enthusiasm, dedication, and creativity when they feel valued, heard, and cared for.)

- To help make the school board culture one that people love to be part of and want to work for.