OUR VIEW: Put students before ideology

If this dispute between B.C.’s public teachers and the provincial government can be likened to a poker game, the government revealed an important tell on Saturday when government negotiators rejected the BCTF’s call for binding arbitration.

While we don’t for a minute believe the teachers’ argument with the government is more about students than their own personal pay cheques, their union’s move to call for binding arbitration in itself revealed some willingness to compromise.

The government, on the other hand, sees no sign of optimism to enter into an arbitration process because the teachers are still refusing to bend on their wage and benefits demands. But is this good reason to reject the concept of binding arbitration outright, as at least one potential tool to help end this nonsense?

Heaven only knows what kind of remaining school year B.C.’s children will face if this labour dispute carries on for many more weeks. Once it’s resolved, they will undoubtedly be laden with ridiculous loads of homework. They’ll also have to deal with an inordinately steep learning curve to meet compressed curriculum requirements, not to mention whatever residual grumpy political baggage that’s left over in the wake of this dispute.

The longer this dispute drags on, the worse it will be for the kids. The government’s rejection of binding arbitration, as at least an option to get them back into class, suggests the government is more driven by ideology than the practical necessity to get students back into school.

It’s no secret this Liberal government is no fan of unions. However, it is tasked with providing education for our kids, and the need to fulfill this responsibility should supersede any union-breaking dreams the government might harbour.

To put ideology before children’s needs is simply bad governance.

When Premier Christy Clark was chosen to lead the BC Liberals, she promised that, "More than anything, our government will be tuned into families as never before," and said, "My top priority will be to put families first."

Does it serve families well to prolong this dispute? We think not. And to reject binding arbitration outright suggests a level of stubbornness which we doubt would be embraced in an election year.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19: Daily update on the pandemic in Surrey, White Rock, Delta and beyond

APRIL 4: Two people in Delta fined for trying to re-sell N95 masks

Man injured in reported stabbing near Surrey SkyTrain station

Incident happened around 9 p.m. Friday night

PHOTOS: The day 28,000 Lollapalooza-goers rocked Cloverdale in 1994

Fans share memories of drugs, bad Smashing Pumpkins, Nick Cave walk-off and ‘letdown’ of Surrey date

Surrey veteran feels pinch from COVID-19 after cancelled surgery

Caught between two countries, and low income, soldier feels he’s been forgotten

Surrey parents, students navigate remote learning during COVID-19

The Surrey school district teachers are slowly rolling out plans for new way of educating

‘I love you this much’: B.C. firefighters share drone video on two-metre physical distancing

The Chilliwack Firefighters Association has been doling out helpful, visual reminders about COVID-19

TransLink to reduce service on some bus routes, SeaBus, West Coast Express

Changes start April 6 ‘due to low ridership and financial pressures’ amid COVID-19

Sex workers face new risks during COVID-19 pandemic

‘Desperation has kicked in’ for vulnerable, undocumented workers unable to access help

Unclear if Cowichan couple refusing to self-isolate will face penalty

No fines or charges have been laid to date, including Cowichan couple who won’t self isolate

COVID-19: Postponed surgeries will be done, B.C. health minister says

Contract with private surgical clinic to help clear backlog

Vancouver man, 21, charged after mother found dead in Squamish home

Ryan Grantham, 21, has been charged with second-degree murder

Fraser Valley’s tulips fields off limits to visitors due to COVID-19

Abbotsford and Chilliwack tulip farmers have announced their festival season won’t go ahead

Most Read