A must read by Les Leyne

Government conned parents and kids

“It’s a tale of a government secretly wanting to provoke a strike that year for political reasons. There are always cynics who read political motives into big public labour disputes. But it’s startling to see a judge blame months of disruption in schools firmly on the crass political motivations of a government. ”


“Ten years later, she was the premier of a government that, according to the B.C. Supreme Court, ran a lengthy con on parents and children to engineer some dim political advantage out of the argument created by the first bill.

Families first, indeed.”

– See more at: http://www.timescolonist.com/les-leyne-government-conned-parents-and-kids-1.803854#sthash.WFRhlaEg.dpuf
Some might ask, why does this matter? Vivian Luk sums it up well in this article:

BCTF president Jim Iker called Monday’s ruling a triumph for teachers who have fought long and hard against a law that shortchanged a generation of children in B.C.

“These kids have gone to school in larger classes, and they’ve had less access to specialists like learning assistance teachers … and special education resource teachers,” he told reporters. “Their entire education, 12 full years, has been in an era of cutbacks, reduced services and underfunding.”

That Christy Clark would consider appealing this decision, is in my opinion, a slap in the face of parents, children and teachers. It’s time to end what appears to many, to be a personal vendetta of Clarks against the teachers union.

I would suggest to the premier, that she invest just one week of her time in classrooms where the impact of this bill in action can be experienced first hand. I’m sure there would be no shortage of teachers and parents willing to volunteer their classroom…and Premier Clark might actually understand  the impact of sloppy, punitive legislation in action.


34 thoughts on “A must read by Les Leyne

  1. Anybody know the School Act well enough to know if there are grounds for suing the BC Libs for failing to provide the proper opportunities to learn? I’d be down with joining something like that. My youngest graduated in 2009 and all of high school was a complete gong show for him.


    1. I don’t know it well enough Cheryl,but I do know this was a big topic for parents this morning – much to my surprise! Even parents that normally never have an interest in politics are angry about this. One comment that was said: ” This makes me feel sick.What government could do this to children?”

      I know there are many lawyers among my readers, any willing to offer an opinion on this, please get in touch via my contact page!


      1. Because decent people don’t use children as pawns for their experiments. It’s very upsetting to see our own government stoop this low to “win”. And now I read she’s probably going to appeal the decision.


      2. It is an endeavor in futility to read an Act or Statute as the only interpretation that is relevant is the one given to them by a Judge in a Court of Law.

        This is part the response I got from Geoff Moyse Acting Assistant Deputy Attorney General when asked to define the word “includes” in Acts and Statutes.
        In it he admits that any interpretation given by a lawyer in private practice is virtually worthless.

        “I note your questions regarding legal issues. Any answer to those questions would involve providing legal advice to you. It would not be appropriate for the Attorney General and Minister of Justice to do so because her role as a legal adviser involves providing legal advice to the provincial government – not to private individuals.

        A lawyer in private practice would be able to provide legal advice to you regarding the issues you have raised. A number of groups in this province provide free legal services and information. Although this ministry does not endorse or confirm the accuracy or completeness of information or advice provided by any of the following resources, I understand that they are currently available to British Columbians.”


    2. I don’t know the School Act well enough to comment on your question. However, I am very aware of Parliamentary Privilege which protects government officials from law suits of any kind.


        1. The government and/or the various ministries are engaged in a plethora of legal actions at any given time – this is evidenced by the court registries. You may not be able to name a politician personally, but you can name the relevant agencies/parties and ministries.


  2. Well, good grief…”cancelling their leave, professional days…and trying to cut their pay” is undeniably long, long overdue! It’s not surprising that Leyne expresses this view: the most fervent, heart-felt wish of most Canadians is that “nothing ever change” and that burying problems will enable life to go on as it always has…

    If a confrontation with a union so obviously unpopular wins votes, then by definition the public is behind it and supports this action. What was the alternative? What would the much-beloved NDP have done? Divert even more financial resources to this union – to the hired help – and even less to actual teaching and facilities?

    My own son…his school day is now down to less than five hours plus lunch. There are endless statutory holidays, next-to-no homework, no weekend schooling of course plus another day lost every four weeks to “professional days”. So much “inclusiveness” yet so little pressure and competition. It’s frustrating to watch everything so dumbed down and a system so obviously geared to the maintainance of teacher jobs.

    It is not possible to “bargain in good faith” with a group paid so much, with effective lifetime job security, with a lock-hold on taxpayer funds and with government protection in the form of market-skewing “labour legislation” explicitly designed to artificially protect current jobs while limiting the rights of capital – the taxpayer – to replace staff with cheaper, more efficient employees.

    I sympathize with the government on this one: they have no alternative but to drastically cut spending (knowing what is coming economically) yet they are boxed in by existing legislative parameters and the courts…


    1. The government is supposed to be “boxed in” by the law and the courts in a democracy.

      And if they have to drastically cut spending because they know what is coming economically, why is Christy Clark continually talking about the imminent riches this province will realize under her “leadership”?


    2. The government has numerous alternatives. Rewarding family and friends with high-paying jobs and bonuses is the first of many alternatives. The government chooses to make cuts in services to those who cannot object by withholding thousands of dollars in campaign funding.


    3. Really? I hate to tell you since you appear to have missed it, but school days have always been five hours long. 9-12 1-3 Right? And teachers are responsible for stat holidays? Since when? Wasn’t it just Queen Christy who started the newest stat – Family Day? Things have certainly changed since 2009 because I used to complain about my kids having too much homework. And I certainly never went to weekend school. Did you?

      You haven’t made one good point in your posting, except that you acknowledge the government didn’t bargain in good faith, but that’s ok with you because they need to save money. Course, it’s ok for the BC Libs to continue to waste it on their pet projects and hiring their special friends, and for Christy to continue with her endless holidays to avoid actually showing up to work. Those have got to be better things than public education for our kids, right? Seriously……


    4. The government has to drastically cut spending because they know what is coming? The Liberals seem to think that what is coming is billions and billions of dollars from LNG. Tell me again why they need to cut spending?


    5. Really?? Why don’t you home school your son then? You can spend 5 hours a day teaching him. You can assign him, as much homework as you choose.

      If you think a teachers job finishes with a 5 hour day? You are pathetically ignorant.


    6. You fail to realize that the professional development days were ADDED days to the teaching calender years ago. You are too kind with Ms Clark’s role as former Minister of Education in this current debacle. SHE is responsible for this unholy mess. So much for “Families First”.


    7. Really, which school is this, I want to send my sons there.
      Actually, homework is a gauge on the quality of teaching, the more homework, the poorer quality of teaching.

      Yes, professional days are too numerous and now we have a new twist, collaboration days, which means school starts a hour later.

      The problems with our school system cannot be blames on teachers, it is the Ministry of Education and the Minister of Education’s fault for letting our public school system sink in a sea of mediocrity. They set the rules and guidelines and the BCTF have learned quite fast, how to play the M-o-E like a shill at the fair.

      I am no apologist of the BCTF as they are out for only one thing, their wage packets and all this talk of “its for the children” is all so much BS. The fact is, no one gives a damn about the children in this province, not Christi, the M-o-E, the Liberals, the NDP, nor even the school boards as our school system is based on political agendas.

      The real problem is simple, our education system is antiquated and our high-schools have turned into university mills and if ones child is not going to university, there are a few crumbs of apprenticeships and alike, but for the vast majority of students in BC, when they graduate, they are prepared for nothing and must ante up massive sums of money to get a decent job. Universities are more of the same, degree mills.

      Our complete view on public education must change, because we just cannot keep traveling the road for mediocrity forever.


  3. While every government is feeling the pinchi, this government created much of its own problems in terms of revenue streams when Campbell cut personal income taxes to record lows, thereby creating a massive hole in the provincial revenue stream that was never adequately filled.

    It is a matter of spending priorities. Why are taxpayers paying for government bloggers? http://www.bcbsides.ca/


    Why is the government paying for creation,and upkeep of nearly private resource roads?

    And now we have the government trying new teaching methods and getting rid of letter grades instead of concentrating on basic fundamental skills that all children require to succeed not only in life, but in school. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/bcs-educational-reforms-are-running-into-resistance/article16276583/

    I have been critical of the BCTF in the past when I felt its needed, but nothing the BCTF has ever done compares to the actions of this government, and in particular, this premier. This entire mess goes right back to her as a young education minister with little life experience, who tried to make a name for herself at the cost of impacting childrens eductions for more than a decade.


  4. There is a belief system being employed by “pro business, pro development, pro government” types that endorses stripping away benefits/rights, safety standards, and regulatory over site as the way forward. We hear constantly the need to be competitive in an ever increasingly competitive world.

    The argument employed is that the “ends justify the means”. I suspect the discourse on this ruling will be just that. It matters not if we agree with the government or the teachers union as neither will be truly focused on the needs of the children.

    This argument has become the driver for much public policy by all levels of government and special interest groups. It is used alternately to promote and defend decisions made. Decisions that poorly serve moms and dads, taxpayers and citizens in general.

    Justice Susan Griffin’s gutsy decision demonstrates how far removed we have become from achieving the intended public policy goal of providing quality education for our children. Justice Griffin, in my opinion has drilled down on the debate and revealed it for what it is, a shell game that viewed winning ahead of doing right by our children in the education system.

    The practice of employing an “Ends Justify the Means” strategy has spread like a cancer throughout every level of government. The results of this practice are everywhere. Laila has routinely documented these cases, most recently the Babine sawmill explosion.

    As terrible as the Babine example is, examples abound of safety standards that fail to protect and regulatory practices discarded, often at the expense of those they are supposed to address.

    No doubt there is legal precedence and it will be conveniently used to promote and defend issues of the day.
    Kudos to Justice Griffin for putting sound “public policy” at the top of the list.


  5. All this hue and cry is designed to support the current pay and job security of unionized teaching staff to the detriment of real education for children. This dumbed-down education system is producing non-thinking, non-critical, unambitious and uncompetitive students unprepared for a fiercely unsupportive economy and coming all-but-certain governmental austerity.

    Yes, there is nepotism and a pro-mega-project agenda and massive overspending.
    And, yes, I know the current government wastes large sums of money.
    And there is corruption, crony socialism, corporate favouritism, and disingenuous propaganda about never-to-materialize resource revenues.

    But tell me this: how does that justify the current cost of education in a rigid, state-controlled system in which pay/perks/pensions/benefits are inflexible, teachers have jobs for life and no job competition and in which costs are never allowed to be reduced, even in straitened times?

    Do British Columbians know what is coming? Personal debt levels in Canada exceed 165% of income. Actual, productive jobs are being replaced with entitlement payouts, with service-sector “careers”, with perma-student status, and with borrowing. Just look around you: how many people, naively expecting to keep their jobs, pay for everything via credit and debit card while carrying mortgages, car loans, student loans and more? Look at B.C. as a part of a world economy: a major rise in unemployment is a mathematical certainty in the next couple of years…

    And B.C.’s is not the only government making disingenuous claims to LNG revenue bonanzas (with a glut worldwide) and I’ll bet you anything the next provincial budget shows a massive deficit. Every time a new retailer opens, it takes business from an established one. The streets are full of “For Lease” signs and vacant properties. The only growing business is government spending…and even if you clawed back every nepotistically-wasted dollar it wouldn’t make a dent in skyrocketing social service costs.

    Where is the wealth to pay for this never-to-cutback Cadillac education system supposed to come from? Disingenuous LNG propaganda notwithstanding, this government, warts and all, at least covertly acknowledges this…and if you remember, la-la-land thinking was part of the reason the other party lost the last election.

    I don’t think the government has any choice but to rein in soaring education/health costs greatly in any way possible.


    1. Once I was able to sift through much of your blather, Kreditanstalt, it’s plain to see you are as frustrated as many are with the absence of good public policy coming out of all levels of government.
      I don’t disagree with all that you roar about….. I just don’t here any good suggestions from you going forward. Your thoughts please with a little less volume.


      1. Mike, I don’t think any other Party will do any different – or be able to. It just seems common-sense that, if spending can’t be reduced services will be rationed: in education that means more money going to fewer people, with less produced. The system implodes even as funding is supported.

        Perhaps we should get ready for (slowly-developing) lower living standards, less spending, continued asset price inflation, an illiquid housing market, forced governmental austerity, higher unemployment & eventual forced higher interest rates.

        More government can do nothing to “solve” any of this, so it’s up to us individually. Can’t count on this government to admit the truth of the parlous state of the economy at all, or to stop their money-wasting pet spending projects.

        My suggestions? No easy answers. Get out of debt, live on less in order build savings (remember those?), cut personal and government spending and become more-self-reliant and flexible in every way possible.


        1. Your earlier sentiment about personal debt levels enters into this debate exactly how?
          The fact that personal debt levels are significant has nothing to do with education, and more to do with consumerism, which is a direct product of capitalism. I know you will deny this, as you ever so deftly tried to suggest “Crony socialism” rather than your dear Capitalism, and you will deflect that we are not in a system of true capitalism, etc. That is all pointless. The fact is: personal debt is due to irresponsible spending habits that are perpetuated by the myth of better living standards.
          As far as the education system, there is no doubt that there is bloat in the system. Heck, how many administrators are needed? How many bureaucrats in the MoE are necessary? Why are school boards forced to pay the carbon tax (to directly benefit ‘private’ enterprise).
          You continuously deflect from the issue through your clever use of straw men, “BC’s government is not the only one…” ad nauseum. Nobody suggested that fact. I’m not concerned about another jurisdiction unless it actually directly affects the citizenship of my own jurisdiction, like Laila’s Dragons posts.
          I am sure you are satisfied with the 25% tax decrease that was given you back in 2001, and it has apparently sufficed that you are now paying far more “taxes” through increases to your “consumer” tariffs, such as increased Medicare, increased Hydro, increased Natural Gas, increased ICBC insurance, increased gas taxes, increased carbon tax. I’m pretty certain that you’re paying a hell of a lot more in these additional fees than you were back in the 1990’s. Also, unless you’re a shill for the current government, you’re probably no better off income-wise than you were 15 years ago.


    1. Times change and certain skills get left by the wayside. It’s educational triage… what is really needed to get by in an ever-changing world.

      Personally, I have little use for handwriting in my daily activities — and I don’t see others using it either. But yes, it’s nice to be able to sign your name. You could probably teach your son in an afternoon or less.


  6. Peter, this is the new reality in education, they don’t give a damn if your little precious is not going to university, BCIT or college. Schools and school boards don’t give a damn about anything except success and success in their minds are the gifted.

    Our school system is overloaded with functionally illiterate students, the mentally ill, and slow learners and they don’t give a damn except offer basket weaving style classes and pretend that they graduated. Of course, designing the education system to cater to those with learning disabilities and issues is out of the question – too bloody expensive.

    We have education on the cheap, yet we will pay dearly in the end when these kids grow up and feel cheated – lawsuit anyone. Imagine if a smart lawyer started a class action lawsuit against the Ministry of Education because of the illegal breaking of class size contracts resulted in students dropping out or failing.

    We have to stop seeing the world through rose coloured glasses and demand that the government fund education to the point where most students are educated because it is not happening now.


    1. So what percentage would you put the overload at, Donald? 50% or more that are functionally illiterate in our schools?

      I’ll agree that there are far more special needs and “learning assistance” students than there were even 20 years ago — but the majority of students in our schools run from capable to very bright.

      This is my 38th year as a public school teacher.


      1. It’s not the teachers who don’t care if little precious carries on with their education. And, as the mother of a “slow-learner” who used to receive extra help in the form of an aide, I can say unequivocally that it is not the fault of the teachers that he lost his assistance. It was because of the BC Libs and their irresponsible meddling and not providing enough dollars to get the job done. In my school, the administration had to use the special needs money for other things.


  7. This is via Norman Farrell’ “Perfect public schools: dead zones of imagination, assaulting critical thinking, civic literacy & historical memory.” made so by the Ministry of Education.

    Our high schools have become zombie lands of drug dealing, sexual gratification and a compete lack of ‘citizenship’. They are indeed dead zones for education, tolerated by the Ministry of Education.


  8. Before you jump to the conclusion that North Vancouver-based Norm Farrell is referring to BC-based schools, he is not. The only Canadian reference in the whole article is a footnote about a book that was (curiously) printed on Gabriola Island — but penned by an American author.

    I’m not saying that U.S. and B.C. schools are different like night and day… but we sure don’t need to look south for help on how to make our schools better. We’re doing a better job than they are.

    Back on topic: it will be interesting to see how this court ruling plays out. Staffing levels at 2002 standards would make a big difference in grades 4-12 especially. If it’s going to cost $500,000 per year to restore what we had, the Liberals can rejoice in the 12 years of savings they have enjoyed by illegally stripping our contract. Let’s see… 12x $500,000: that’s $6 billion, or enough to pay off the Port Mann and Golden Ears bridges and make a good down payment on a new Pattullo crossing.


    1. Thank you G. Barry Stewart for at least mentioning the decision of the courts on this issue.
      The responses to Laila’s blog, (Les Layne) have in my opinion, run off the rails judging from the rants and raves.
      As I suggested earlier, ” Justice Susan Griffin’s gutsy decision demonstrates how far removed we have become from achieving the intended public policy goal of providing quality education for our children. Justice Griffin, in my opinion has drilled down on the debate and revealed it for what it is, a shell game that viewed winning ahead of doing right by our children in the education system.”
      We quite rightly, can complain about cost, debt, unions, other projects and political personalities. Without Justice Griffin’s decision, the government and the rest of us would have likely continued on the same path (discussion) and achieved little by way of educating our kids.
      Most of us feel from time to time, government does not listen or care what we have to say on education or anything else for that matter. What government must listen to and pay attention is the rulings of the court. It is predictable that the ministers concerned reserve the decision to appeal…. standard fodder whenever government gets pushed back into its corner.
      It maybe far more beneficial to applaud and support the courts role in this entire process if only because they are the one stakeholder the government would like to ignore, but cannot.
      Don’t let the government or the BCTF off the hook here, they lost playing at their own game.
      A game that has done little to address the needs of children in the education system.


Comments are closed.