Opinion Column

Parents can hang blame on B.C. Premier Clark 0

Bill Tieleman

By Bill Tieleman, News, Views, and Attitude – 24 hours

B.C. Premier Christy Clark delivers the keynote speech at the second annual International LNG Conference in Vancouver, B.C. on Wednesday May 21, 2014. (CARMINE MARINELLI/ 24 HOURS)

B.C. Premier Christy Clark delivers the keynote speech at the second annual International LNG Conference in Vancouver, B.C. on Wednesday May 21, 2014. (CARMINE MARINELLI/ 24 HOURS)

We have to ensure that the [education] system is operating at its best today. We need to ensure that it’s operating at its best five, 10, 15 years from now. — then-Education Minister Christy Clark, Jan. 26, 2002

While students across the province are out of class in rotating strikes this week and quite possibly beyond due to the government-provoked dispute with teachers, ask this question — who has been in charge for the past 13 years?

When the government negotiator says teachers will soon be locked out, their pay cut by 10%, offered bonuses rescinded, and told not to work more than 45 minutes before and after classes, ask who called the shots on this?

When graduation ceremonies, extra-curricular activities, exams and summer school are all put at risk, and when parents scramble to find care for their children, ask who let the important relationship with teachers get so out of hand.

After the B.C. Supreme Court ruled the government bargained in bad faith and deliberately attempted to provoke a strike in 2011 for political gain, ask who is accountable for that.

The answer is obvious — Premier Christy Clark and the BC Liberal government.

But this isn't a simple case of incompetence or negligence on the job. No, the BC Liberals have deliberately sabotaged teachers since then-premier Gordon Campbell appointed Clark as education minister.

It was in 2002 that Clark wrongly predicted she would be fixing the education system for years to come, with legislation later ruled unconstitutional.

And here we are today with a broken system and Clark now premier.

The current dispute is no aberration. It is the logical conclusion of 13 years of damaging a working relationship with people who play the second-most important role in raising our kids after parents — their teachers.

Does the BC Teachers' Federation also bear some blame? Yes, it surely does.

But teachers and their union don't write the laws, then break them over and over — they don't underfund education and cut special needs teachers or school librarians. They don't increase class sizes and they don't determine class composition.

No, that's what Clark’s government does — and it should be held accountable for a failing performance.

Bill Tieleman is a former NDP strategist. Read his blog at http://billtieleman.blogspot.ca Email: weststar@telus.net Twitter: @BillTieleman

 

 

 

 

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