This weeks column for The Duel, 24Hrs Vancouver: BC Liberal Legislation to blame for education disruptions

The winner of the last duel on the Site C Dam was Laila with 74%.

This week’s topic:

As the B.C. teachers dispute escalates, which side is responsible for the disruption in student learning?

While the BC Teachers’ Federation and the provincial government took a break from contract talks over the weekend to further examine their positions, come Monday students, teachers and parents will begin to feel the impact of action taken on both sides.

Today is the first of several rotating strikes the BCTF is staging in school districts across the province this week. In response, the provincial government begins a partial lockout today as well, one that has been labeled by many as a botched attempt to punish teachers, but instead impacts students by limiting time teachers can be at school.

Concerns over cancelled field trips and extra-curricular activities, and unmarked exams, are creating tension and stress among students and teachers alike. The government was quick to say they would “tweak” the lockout terms to ensure those things wouldn’t happen, but some school events have been cancelled already. I say the government was once again trying to sway public opinion in its favour.

Read Brent Stafford’s column “Parents should blame teachers for rotating strike action”

If you listen to the government’s side, it’s those wretched teachers who are responsible for disrupting children’s education with demands over wages and classroom composition. But when you look at the bigger picture, it’s clear that government itself has been responsible for a continual disruption in student learning since 2002 when it illegally stripped teachers of the right to bargain working conditions that directly impact student learning…

READ the rest of this weeks column, vote and comment at

14 thoughts on “This weeks column for The Duel, 24Hrs Vancouver: BC Liberal Legislation to blame for education disruptions

  1. Brent really missed the boat here, indulging in some serious knee-jerk Liberal talking-point spew. He has either lead a charmed existence and missed the lashings of neo-con policy punishment, or is seriously lacking in any sort of empathic capacity.

    On another note, I’ve missed your writings, and hope that all is at least reasonable well in Yuile Land.


    1. I found this useful post in the Tyee on the weekend:
      “physics guy • 2 days ago
      The Liberals want it both ways: on one hand they boast about how they are funding BC education like never before; but in the same breath they say they can’t afford to go back to 2001 funding.

      Well, which is it??

      Having to go back to 2001 funding is not an option – it is a ruling of the court. To plea poverty is not an argument. “But, your honour, I can’t afford to pay all my parking tickets.” “Oh, well, if you can’t pay, then I guess we have to throw the case out then, huh?” As if.

      The money is there – it’s in the pockets of the corporations that got BILLIONS in tax cuts, credits, transfers, and reduced royalties for natural resources.”

      As long as the BC Liberals continue to thumb their noses at the two BC Supreme Court rulings — that the contract was illegally stripped in 2001 — the hard feelings will continue.


  2. You got my vote this week Laila. I would have liked a third choice of “both at fault”.
    Fault is what seems to be at the heart of this dispute and that is very unfortunate because everyone suffers. Parents, teachers, students, taxpayers all.
    This “fault” finding exercise will never win or lose anything and has little to do with claiming the moral high ground. Self righteousness is fun to watch but does not move the discussion along.
    As a taxpayer, I look to my government to manage the affairs and interests for the public good. If they cannot do this, a third party intervention is logical. Likewise for the BCTF, they too must find a way to move forward past the tired rhetoric and timely leveraging of the school system.
    As an opener, both sides need to stop using the media.
    Negotiation is the same for everyone everywhere. Nobody will win it all, nor will they lose everything. The BCTF and the Government both know this.
    If both parties cannot or will not resolve this, both should be removed with an arbitrator brought in.
    The upside is a conclusion, the downside is more jeopardy, not less for both sides.


  3. Finally a rock solid commitment on the part of Education Minister Fassbender. The Minister’s decision to Impose a quasi lockout on educators via the “Rules of Engagement” covered by the Essential Service Act does not allow educators access to the school grounds/buildings 45 minutes before instructional periods begins, and not staying longer than 45 minutes after the closing bell, …….. should be made part of the Collective Agreement. The bonus, no more unpaid overtime homework for educators. More family time for teachers.

    If there was a full Lockout, the ball would be in the Employers court to negotiate.


    1. unpaid for homework???DUH… it is not as if the “teachers” do a hell of a lot. They really don’t respond to kids needs, just their own benefits… they are NOT educators if you check school grades


  4. I asked my son this morning to quiz his teachers as to who would be taking their place on Tuesday and whether or not I could have the job. I told him to remind their employer that I would work for half the salary. Wonder if he’ll take me up on it…?

    The government has got to stick to its guns this time or out-of-control costs are going to eventually sink the entire system. As to who is “responsible”…they are both victims of an unproductive, overly-expensive economy desperately trying to maintain an unearned standard of living.

    Rock and a hard place.


  5. when there is no money, there cannot be raises, more time off, more “assistants”. The teachers have a RADICAL UNION and are not a “profession” judged by their actions. I don’t like the liberals but “pawning” kids is a no win tactic by BCTF. for 8 months work, lots of extra days off like the very useless Pro D days, portable benefits, medical, pensions, Mon/Fri most weeks… sorry you have enough right now


    1. if its so great why don’t you give it a try. You most likely wouldn’t last a day. Radical union, give me a break. Back in the 70s this is how all unions operated. At one time more workers in this province had things like, medical/dental, vacations days, pensions and then the employers got really greedy and the government helped them. So now you want one of the few jobs left for working women and men to become another macdonald’s job. move to Texas, they have it there and its working just swell. They even pay substitute teachers min. wage and you don’t have to be a teacher to substitute. ANYONE can put their name on the list.


  6. with the symbolic “one day” strikes, the Only concern for BCTF is lost wages. There will not be any measurable loss of “learning” by students. BCTF does like to use kids as pawns though in every way possible… causing parents more problems. I don’t think parents are amused.


    1. It’s not “symbolic” — it’s a way of getting the message around the province throughout the week, with a minimal amount of disruption to any one person. It’s as responsible as it could be, once the point of needing strike action was reached.

      Please remember that the Labour Relations Board gave its blessing to the BCTF on using this tactic — unlike the “CC for BC” government, which has dropped its punitive hammer without getting pre-approval.


  7. One tends to agree that the provincial government has been slowly destroying our education system.

    The real problem is that the province has so watered down our grade 1 to 12 education system that a “Dogwood” is not worth the paper it is printed on. Most students must go to a community college for at least 4 semesters before they are prepped for university and the universities are no longer the great educators, as they have become degree mills to weed out the poor, to leave the better paying jobs for the sons and daughters of the wealthy.

    The teachers have to teach a large percentage of uninterested lot of pupils who have been largely demoralized by the system and many take to drugs because they know they are losers and their lives are meaningless. No wonder kids go postal.

    Good god, they still teach that dreadful book “Lord of the flies”, which is more of a discourse of the Classic English Boys Public School (Private school on this side of the pond), up to the 1950’s. If this sort of crap is still being taught, means our school system is nothing more than a farce.

    All this strike is about is a government that has given up on education and as result, has given up on the province. The province of BC is like the Titanic, striking a massive financial iceberg, where the captain and crew have lined their lifeboats with gold, leaving most passengers to drown in murky waters.


  8. Okay folks. Lets go down memory lane a little way. Nearly three years ago the S&P credit rating service in Canada reported on the Canadian provinces. S&P gave advice that provinces should stop increasing debt, should find ways of increasing revenues and should look at ways of saving money in the two areas of health care and education.
    So far BC has managed to curtail budgets for health care and education but not managed to increase revenues and to stop increasing provincial financial obligations.
    Revenues from resource royalties have decreased from over $4 billion in 08 to about $2 billion in 13 . Along with that the government has increased provincial liabilities from about $80 billion in 06 to close to $175 billion by 2013 (total of provincial liabilities of $75 billion plus the $100 billion the Auditor General reported for “contingencies and contractual obligations).
    We are soon to see the financials for fiscal 2014 and it is almost certain liabilities will total $200 billion.
    The obligations to pay off these debts and contracts leave a diminishing amount of cash flow to pay for government programs that used to make living in BC fine.


    1. now there was another blog which just listed how much the deficit had increased since Christy became leader. ….now let me try to remember, was that $10B, $20B, $30B…..?
      IF we don’t have money for education, then we shouldn’t be giving money to corporations. I think there are 29 different programs under which profitable corporations can get money from the provincial government, including having to pay taxes in another country. So they claw back all child support from kids whose mothers are disabled and give it to corporations and make sure the kid can’t get an education either. Nice going lieberals.


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