Editor, The News:
MLA Doug Bing recently made what he called a “flippant” comment about the BCTF. He later apologized, claiming “utmost respect” for teachers.
As a teacher, I wish I felt reassured by this, but I don’t. His comments clearly reflect two major ways in which the B.C. Liberals demonstrate a serious lack of respect for teachers and public education.
The first: the Liberals portray teachers as distinct from the unions we form. This allows the government to demean the union to the public by treating it as separate from the individuals the public know and trust within the education system. This was clearly what Mr. Bing did by criticizing the union, but apologizing only to teachers and the public.
The second: the Liberals portray the BCTF as the cause of problems. In truth, it is the Liberals’ behavior and choices that are egregious.
Some excellent proof of this is the Supreme Court of Canada’s swift and decisive decision in our favour.
Along the way, various courts found and upheld that the Liberals had no intention of bargaining fairly and that their side lied in court.
In addition, the Canada Supreme Court agreed with the earlier B.C. Supreme Court judge who cited clear evidence that the Liberals had a strategy of provoking the BCTF into a strike as they thought this would win favour with parents.
The government’s illegal actions have until now allowed ever-decreasing funding to public education, with the resulting lack of supports for vulnerable students and financial pressures on parents — more real problems caused by government.
Where is the apology to our students and their families?
I can assure Mr. Bing that while teachers are appreciative of the $50 million, our gratitude is to the courts, not the government.
Those of us closely involved in public education – teachers, our students, and their families – have been frustrated for 15 years by the Liberal party’s misuse of the legal system and refusal to adequately fund education.
Sadly, Mr. Bing clearly has no insight into the effect of his party’s choices.
As a result, I have no sympathy for his recent frustration.
He apologized to teachers for expressing his frustration. I would have preferred that he apologize for having caused ours.