September 01, 2014

Labour Day in British Columbia and the rogue government of Christy Clark

It's Labour Day. A day to celebrate workers and recognise the contributions made to our society by the labour movement. Things like the minimum wage, limits to child labour, weekends, the right to organise, workplace safety and health care. In fact, recognising the need to assist people in our communities, and in the absence of good government, the first United Way in Canada was started by unionists. All of us in Canada, regardless of class or employment status, have been well served by a strong labour movement.


Our provincial premier is at it again, distorting facts and misrepresenting issues as it relates to the teachers of this province and their lengthy battle with a government determined to break the union. Through tweets yesterday, then reprinted on Christy Clark's facebook page, she said:
Unfortunately, the BCTF rejected our offer to reopen schools while the two sides enter mediation to reach an agreement. Instead the BCTF is sticking to its strike and demanding twice as much money as everyone else in the public service has received.

Her tweets are misleading because it was never the teachers' decision to enter mediation. The Education Minister Peter Fassbender, another low wattage bulb if ever there was one, said the decision was left to the mediator Vince Ready and the talks were entirely exploratory. Ready was to determine if the two sides were close enough to proceed with mediation, and they weren't. The teachers did not reject anything. In fact the head of the union is still asking to meet with the Premier in an effort to bridge discussion. Teachers are not asking for twice as much money as everyone else and the Premier knows that too.

Minister Fassbender wants the BCTF to set aside its grievances about class size and composition, which is largely what the dispute is all about in the first place.

Christy Clark needs to turn down the emotional rhetoric and offer real leadership instead of ice bucket celebrity. Political points gained at the expense of teachers and children won't work. Class size and composition do belong in a collective agreement. The Premier needs to restore the funding she illegally cut twelve years ago. That legal fact was determined by the Supreme Court of Canada, though apparently it means nothing to her government.

It's Labour Day in BC. We should celebrate the strides we have made as a society and be wary of the people who want to dismantle public institutions in the name of a market economy. We need to raise our children to be active, thinking citizens, and not just members of a consumer society, whatever the hell that is. Public education is important in creating a just society for all of us and not just the ten percent. We need to be very wary indeed.

Copyright 2014 by Jim Murray.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for speaking the truth -- rest of public should read this!!


Thanks for your comments!