Opinion Column

Paying parents during strike 'crazy'

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

Postmedia image

Postmedia image

"From hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee.” — Captain Ahab in Moby-Dick by Herman Melville, 1851


For Premier Christy Clark, the BC Teachers’ Federation has become Moby-Dick — the object of hatred to be pursued to the end. And Clark has become Captain Ahab, driven mad in her desire to destroy the union version of the white whale.

That became apparent last week when the BC Liberal government announced what truly is a crazy plan – to pay parents of students $40 a day if the BCTF strike continues into September.

Crazy because it makes no sense.

Clark’s scheme would instantly dispose of the estimated $12 million in daily savings from the strike without putting a penny into improving public education.

What’s worse, while the government claimed the money is for “child care” for students under 13 years old, there is no requirement parents spend it on child care – nor is there child care necessarily available to be had, and certainly not for $40 a day.

The move infuriated the BCTF – which it was highly calculated to do – but shows the premier’s unhealthy obsession with harpooning teachers instead of solving the serious underfunding problems in our schools.

And in this whale tale, there is no BC Liberal Starbuck – Ahab’s first mate who cautioned against chasing Moby-Dick.

If there were, perhaps Clark would realize the folly of her mission.

Remove BCTF from the equation and consider if the government would compensate oil companies if First Nations took legal action that delayed their pipeline construction plans. Not a chance.

Yet the BCTF is taking legal strike action, but the BC Liberals are giving away allocated education dollars.

This actually borders on insane because they are appealing a B.C. Supreme Court ruling it must restore class size and composition limits negotiated by the BCTF.

If the government loses, it will have to spend hundreds of millions of dollars in our schools.

Where will it get that money if all the strike savings is spent? You guessed it – from taxpayers.

The solution is obvious — negotiate an agreement this month.

But so long as Clark channels Captain Ahab, this ill-fated voyage continues.

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


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