Glen Argan, former editor of the Western Catholic Reporter, is running to become the Edmonton Catholic school board trustee for Ward 75.
If elected in the Oct. 16 municipal election, Argan, 64, is committed to building bridges with other trustees in order to overcome the divisiveness and infighting which has plagued the Catholic board during its current four-year term.
“The open animosity among current trustees has inhibited the board’s ability to promote and enhance Catholic education and has scandalized the public,” Argan said.
Two years ago, Education Minister David Eggen appointed a consultant to help Edmonton Catholic trustees to work out their differences. In his final report, made public in July 2016, Don Cummings wrote that the trustees’ conflicts were “certainly affecting the effectiveness and efficiency of the administrative system.” They also could represent a risk to the performance and outcomes of the school system, Cummings said.
Argan said he decided to run for the school board to help nurture positive, life-giving relations among the seven trustees and to promote and defend Catholic education in Alberta.
He emphasized that the right to Catholic education is not only constitutionally based, but is part of the Catholic community’s contribution to the wider society.
Edmonton Catholic Schools has a high level of academic achievement and a strong and improving record of educating the marginalized, he said. “Its Christ-centred approach to education helps to form a culture of love in a society where grasping for power and money often take first place.”
Argan spent nearly 30 years as editor of the Western Catholic Reporter, including 27 years during which he learned the value of good governance and fiscal prudence by being accountable to a board of directors. At the WCR, his willingness to listen to a variety of views, learn from others and attend to detail contributed to the newspaper winning dozens of awards for quality journalism.
His passion for lifelong learning is evident in his studies in theology over the past 10 years. In October, he will graduate from Newman Theological College with a Master of Theology degree.
The college’s respect for Argan was shown in 2015 when it awarded him its Kevin Carr Christian Leadership Award for his contributions to the Church and community. Likewise, Argan’s peers in Christian journalism showed their trust in him by electing him as president of the Canadian Church Press.
Argan’s concern for the poor and marginalized can be seen in his work editing an inner-city newspaper in Winnipeg and volunteering for several years as a home visitor, furniture mover and president of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul at Assumption Parish. This August, Glen and his wife Nora will be part of a Development and Peace solidarity tour in Bolivia.
The couple have been active members of Assumption Parish for 25 years, and both have served in a variety of ministries in the parish. Their four daughters – Natasha, Jennifer, Dominique and Theresa – have all attended Catholic schools in Ward 75.
Ward 75 includes most of the older areas of Edmonton, stretching eastward from 149th Street to the city’s eastern boundary in the area between 111th Avenue and the Whitemud.