To the Editor,
Re: Time to end bloody B.C. school battle, Opinion, Feb. 6.
What has caused this major rift between the teachers of B.C. and the Socred and Liberal governments? In my view the problem first arose in the election campaign in 1969 wherein the BCTF ran an ‘apple campaign.’ Little red apple stickers were handed out to members of the public if they supported education.
The Socred government of the day was outraged at teachers taking part in the political process. It was the view of the government that teachers were civil servants and therefore were not to be involved in the political process.
The Socred governments of the past and the current Liberal government do not want to negotiate class size and other terms and conditions with teachers. They want to dictate the terms of the relationship. This is illegal. The Supreme Court ruled twice on this issue and said twice that the government is absolutely wrong and that terms illegally stripped from the contracts must be reinstated.
The government should have known in 2002 when it introduced the legislation that it could be found to be illegal. To ask for a stay of the legislation or argue that it will cost too much money is a specious argument. They had no difficulty giving scores of millions of dollars in tax breaks to corporations early in 2002. No doubt the clawback from teacher contracts helped pay for that gift.
It is time for the government to assume responsibility and act in the best interests of all citizens in B.C. and clean this mess up. At the end of the day the government has the power to control expenditures in the public sector through the budget process so no one is going to run away with the piggy bank.