Pubdate: Thu, 25 Oct 2007
Source: Winnipeg Free Press (CN MB)
Copyright: 2007 Winnipeg Free Press
Author: Nick Martin


A Manitoba school trustee has been charged with growing marijuana and
possession of marijuana for the purposes of trafficking.

Turtle River School Division trustee Gilbert Soucy and his wife
Colleen Soucy were allegedly running a grow operation busted by police
late last month.

They appeared in Dauphin court earlier this week, RCMP Sgt. Line
Karpish said Wednesday.

He said both have both been charged with possession for the purposes
of trafficking, and with production of cannabis.

Their case has been remanded to Oct. 30, a court official said from

"We don't have any comment right now. Thank you," Colleen Soucy said
Wednesday before hanging up the phone.

Officials with Turtle River, the province's smallest school division,
refused to comment Wednesday.

RCMP raided a property in Laurier, 70 kilometers east of Dauphin Sept.
28, but did not lay charges nor make names public until this week.

The Ste. Rose RCMP Detachment, and Spruce Plains RCMP Detachment, with
Major Crime Units from Dauphin and Brandon conducted the operation.
Police say they found 63 mature marijuana plants, several grams of
marijuana and materials used for the production of marijuana.

Turtle River school board chair Gwen McLean said from McCreary
Wednesday that she has not been officially told that the charges have
been laid.

"I'm not going to comment right now," said McLean.

Minutes posted on the Turtle River S.D. website show that Soucy did
not attend a Oct. 9 board meeting. The minutes do not indicate if the
board excused Soucy's absence.

A trustee can be removed by the school board for missing three
consecutive board meetings without permission.

Minutes for a meeting earlier this week have not been posted.
Superintendent Bev Szymesko could not be reached Wednesday.

A provincial official said that the Public Schools Act was amended in
2004 to apply the same standards to school trustees that municipal
councillors face.

A trustee will be removed from office if convicted of an offence
punishable by a sentence of five years or more. And anyone removed
from office would be barred from seeking office again for four years,
thus preventing that person from contesting the next municipal
election in 2010.

However, school boards do not have the power to remove a trustee whose
legal difficulties do not meet those criteria.

Turtle River School Division is by far Manitoba's smallest, with 851
students in seven schools in Alonsa, Laurier, Glenella, McCreary,
Ste. Rose du Lac, and the Parkview Hutterite colony.

Turtle River has only five school trustees. 
- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard Lake