There are very few times that Norm Macdonald and I agree on things but I have found a few exceptions. As a former teacher myself I believe in a strong public education system. I respect and value our teachers and applaud them for hard they work and the value they bring to the lives of our children. I believe that teachers deserve an affordable raise and that our children deserve all that can possibly be given in terms of class size and composition.
That said, I find it extremely disappointing that Mr. Macdonald has taken an opportunity to politicize this very serious provincial situation by trying to have us believe that there is a “right side” and a “wrong side,” that the Premier supports private over public schools and that she is “100 per cent to blame.” These statements are simply irresponsible, inaccurate and misguiding with the expressed intent of inspiring nothing more than emotional responses from people who deserve far better.
Mr. Macdonald neglects to acknowledge that negotiation never labels a right or a wrong side nor will the process ever assign blame to a single person. Mediated negotiation recognizes opposing sides and the differing opinions held and promotes collaboration as both sides work toward a mutually agreeable settlement.
His blame game neglects to mention that the BC Teachers Federation (BCTF) continues to struggle with the concept of concession, which is a key element of any bargaining process or that it is puzzling why the BCTF have rejected the government’s offer to re-open schools while mediation continues.
Disturbingly, Mr. Macdonald chose not to reference the fact that the BCTF actually refused to let teachers vote on suspending the strike during continued mediation or equally puzzling why the BCTF seems to wants to force government to legislate teachers back to work knowing that this will result in the same dysfunctional relationship that has been the B.C. experience for the past 30 years.
Mr. Macdonald believes that it is fair for the BCTF to demand more money than has been awarded to any other BC public employee, and then on top of that throw in a $5,000 teacher signing bonus. Sound fair to you?
Mr. Macdonald does not understand the BCTF refusal to set aside educational issues that are currently before the courts and cannot be negotiated at this time, are keeping kids out of classrooms. Further he neglects to acknowledge the BCTF wants to go back to the old ridged ratios and formulas that in the past defined class size and composition knowing full well that no other province in Canada manages its classrooms this way. Why? They are inefficient, ineffective and highly discriminatory towards students with special needs.
Blame is a waste of time and takes the focus off what is most important — getting kids back into classrooms. For the sake of our kids Norm act like an MLA and roll up your sleeves and do something. Meet with and encourage your BCTF pals and do everything you can to get them back to the bargaining table. This will demonstrate with measurable effort that you do unequivocally support teachers and public education and that you are the MLA
BC Liberal Candidate for Columbia River-Revelstoke
Fairmont Hot Springs