I stand with teachers

Surrey – The Editor, Re: “Lack of trust means more melodrama,” the Now, May 27.

Place the blame for this current educational dispute on the premier and the B.C. Liberal government, where it belongs.

Do you remember the historical nature of the relations between the government and the B.C. Teachers Federation? I think the Liberal government has sabotaged teachers since Christy Clark was named education minister when Gordon Campbell was premier.

Think back to Bills 27 and 28, which removed the ability of teachers to negotiate class size and class composition in the bargaining discussions. This was challenged in the B.C. Supreme Court. And the court ruled these two bills were unconstitutional.

Shortly after, the Liberals introduced Bill 22 to argue the same point. As this was again challenged, there was another B.C. Supreme Court ruling in January of 2014. For the second time, they ruled against the Liberal government for bargaining in bad faith. Part of the ruling of the Supreme Court was to restore class size and class composition language that was removed from teachers’ contracts and pay a fine of $2 million in damages. Has that happened? No. Now the government is appealing this decision and we currently see them being punitive towards the teachers in this current bargaining process.

There have been many years that teachers settled for zero per cent increases to preserve ceiling limits on the number of students overall in each class and limit the number of special needs children in each class.

Now, that has been repeatedly stripped by the Liberal government – in spite of two Supreme Court decisions against them.

That, my friends, is why the teachers are so upset. The teachers have not underfunded education. They have not cut special needs teachers, librarians or music teachers. They have not increased class size and they no longer can determine class composition. The teachers did not write these laws and then break them over and over again, against Supreme Court rulings.

I stand behind the teachers and students for a fair education, good working conditions and an increase in their salaries. By the way didn’t the B.C. Liberal government recently give itself a big increase? I am in opposition to their punitive and bullying tactics.

Dianne Heal