A politician thinks of the next election.A leader thinks of the next generation ~ James Clarke

If back-pedaling were cardio, by the time next May comes around every BC Liberal in caucus should be able to qualify for the Boston marathon…

Case in point, yesterdays coordinated government press conferences aimed at settling down the growing outrage from parents groups around the province, yet only succeeded in fueling the flames of discontent.

It started a couple of weeks ago in Surrey following a very heated open house held by a developer trying to build a 4 story apartment building and 181 units of townhouses on what used to be government land held for healthcare use.

The government sold that land in 2014 for a song and a dance as ‘surplus’ ,in one of the fastest growing neighbourhoods in Surrey-every school is already over capacity or will be this September.

Parents united with other local residents and red signs started popping up all over the neighbourhood:

lawnsign

Not very good publicity for the developer, Surrey city council or one Marvin Hunt- Liberal MLA for the area who was still sitting as a council member in addition to being the MLA, when said property was sold. He said nothing to stand up for the needs of his riding to stop the sale- I know, because I asked him personally and he said that was the school districts business,not his.

Wham bam and thank you ma’am, within a week of all this outrage Education Minister Mike Bernier was passing out the cash like no ones business, even fast-tracking an addition that was #9 on the list for Surrey, ahead of others with more pressing need.
That school, Sullivan Elementary, happened to be the very school that would be completely swamped by said developers project on that ‘surplus’ government land. Rather convenient for it to suddenly be fast-tracked ahead of others, and that rubbed parents in other districts the wrong way – rightly so.

Parents in New Westminster wanted to know where the new high school is they were promised five years ago is? Parents in Osoyoos  protested the closure of their high school. And on… and on… in every corner of this province you can find schools in disrepair, with mold, or with confirmed  high lead levels in sitting water. Schools that have not undergone seismic upgrades. Schools that are so overcrowded kids can only use playgrounds on alternate days or sit on the floor in the gym for weeks in September until a new portable can arrive.

Government realized at that point that by fast-tracking items in Surrey well known to be low on the list, they had inadvertently put education funding to the forefront as an election issue. Even parents who are long time Liberal voters have had enough, and that is a lot of votes to risk.

And so was born the idea to graciously give some funds to key outraged districts in the province to try and keep the parents quiet and happy.

virksmirk-foremailOnce again Bernier showed up here in Surrey, this time with Amrik Virk, school kids in behind for a feel good touch for the cameras.

Yet somehow, it all went wrong and by 11 am yesterday morning, #BCED was trending on twitter for all the wrong reasons. And let me tell you why.

It really doesn’t matter how savvy the Liberals social media intern army is, when the party they are working for is completely out of touch with reality. The highest Klout score in the world doesn’t mean a thing to the parents who have done their research and know full well yesterdays cash was a fraction of what Premier Clark has ordered districts to find in savings over the past few years. And trust me on this, these parents have done extensive research. No spin doctor can weave dung into gold.

Frankly it was insulting, and thousands of parents,educators and politicians across the province took to twitter to express their frustration and disgust, including myself:

How out of touch is all of this? It’s reactive, and when it comes during an election cycle in the form of crumbs in comparison to whats been stripped, it’s clear that its nothing more than an attempt at buying or at the very least, saving votes. And parents know that. They reacted strongly. That’s what happened yesterday. A press release from Coralee Oakes even tried to turn this disaster back around onto the district and make government look magnanimous.How grand of you Ms.Oakes, for thinking of the poor students now…

Right before an election.

And right after the party tried re-announcing an old press release  as new again recently and were called out on that too…

I can tell you now, these little press ops are only pushing votes away, because parents want more. They want to see the funding of public education become a number one priority, not just for their children but for all children.

Education is the cornerstone for a successful society,along with libraries, community centres and yes, our churches and temples of many faiths. These are the places where community gathers to build relationships. Schools are not just for education,they are key locations for early interventions in turning around children impacted by many factors that lead to costly social issues later on if not addressed.

School is where children build social skills, where learning disabilities and special needs are often first really seen and directed for diagnosis. Children with good role models in schools who build relationships and are mentored, can break cycles of family poverty and lift themselves to a better way in life. We’ve all seen movies of how a child overcame poverty or other challenges because he or she was supported and mentored in school.

For me, this is so crystal clear.I have never understood why education is so poorly funded here. Every school should have a full time librarian – libraries are often a refuge for children,books an avenue to avoid bullying,ease anxiety and librarians foster a life long passion for reading that serves all.

It seems to me, that if government invested more in education and supports, we would very likely be spending less later on dealing with kids who fell through cracks that are getting bigger every day. And how much are we spending on youth rehabilitation? Justice services? Anti-gang interventions, poverty reduction,teen pregnancies etc.? Do you see the relationship here?

Yes, I know you do and this is at the heart of why parents have had enough. You can only take so much and push so hard before something gives.

And trust me when I tell you this time, it won’t be the parents giving this time – they are already looking into what else government has messed up.

** Note for readers interested in Site C: Global BC is running ads for a special on the evening news at 6pm today, “Site C: The full Picture”

I’ll be watching to see how full a picture it really is.

13 thoughts on “A politician thinks of the next election.A leader thinks of the next generation ~ James Clarke

  1. Lew

    Christy has been so busy constructing the imaginary dark forces of NO that the actual bright forces of KNOW overtook her. And her response was another transparent shell game.

    I was thinking the other day that a lot of the students who were in early grades when Christy first set upon the education system with a vengeance that is hard to explain are now old enough to vote. Hopefully they’ll show up and pay her back for what she did then and continues now.

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  2. H Coleman

    Corporate controlled Governments have no interest in funding public education, They would like to have a uneducated work force that has to work 2 or 3 low wage jobs just to survive and have no time to protest or ask questions about why corporations are getting a free ride in BC, and giving Christy Clark a $50,000 top up to make sure she follows orders!

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  3. Mosko

    The money is flowing fast and swift now.

    With an election looming, and a scandal in every corner, it’s time to trot out the favourite tool of the Socred Liberal party and buy votes.

    How cynical, yet it somehow almost always works.

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  4. erik

    Hi Laila; You mean Global is the propaganda vehicle for the insiders who want to keep the money flowing for Site C. They already have had $50 billion over the past 10 years, there is no stopping now.

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  5. nonconfidencevote

    I fully expect the 6pm GlowBall tv Liberal lovefest to me more of the same paid propaganda wrapped up as “news”. Drivel with a Capital “D”

    At least its refreshing to know the National media are roasting the Liberals even if the local medai sold their “souls” years ago

    .
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/oversight-of-british-columbias-housing-market-is-a-sham/article30227434/

    http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/brian-hutchinson-everything-stinks-about-christy-clarks-mysterious-salary-top-ups

    https://www.biv.com/article/2016/5/christy-clark-downplays-real-estate-ties-her-lates/

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/bc-regulator-feels-heat-to-curb-real-estate-misconduct/article30227796/

    Its a shame the Globe and Mail and the National Post are the only meda with spines….

    Clark and all the rest of her political hacks deserve prison.

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  6. Curt

    One can imagine in the next year all the promises, promises and promises. This crew has got to go. Have you learned nothing from the past 15 years with all the payoffs and payouts, filling pockets, but not the average citizens’ that’s for sure. When will people learn. High costs and climbing, and what are we seeing in return? Healthcare going even further down the tubes, education as is being written about here, down the tubes, more fees and increases in everything. Now we’re even paying MSP “fees” thanks to the liberals (That’s what income tax pays for.) I think the only province in Canada who pays a monthly “fee”. Thank your liberals for that. Have you not had enough yet of this bunch of lunatics running the province. They’re not doing it for its citizens that’s for sure.

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  7. e.a.f.

    One of the things which helped defeat WAC Bennett, back in the day, was the unhappiness of many parents about the education system. I do recall teachers going door to door expressing their concern regarding the school system. Who knows perhaps this time we will see parents/PACs/educators/school boards launch a campaign putting the province’s children’s education first.

    Even for those of us with no children, the education debacle in this problem is frightening. How will the children become educated? How will they move forward in this new century without a decent education in decent buildings?

    When you put kids in unsuitable buildings crowded like sardines, with little in the way of facilities you are telling them they don’t count, you don’t care, this is their lot in life and too bad. They do notice the kids in private schools have it way better. It won’t be a pretty picture and we will only have ourselves to blame. Now lets hope everyone sees the children as the future of this province and gets rid of the photo op queen hell bent on building Site C and selling everything in this province she can. What Christy Clark is selling is not just buildings and land. She is selling away our rights as citizens of this province. Our right to raise children and send them to decent schools, our right to decent health care and decent care for the mentally ill and seniors.

    What voters might like to ask themselves is this: am I better off now than I was when Christy “won” and became premier or worse off. Then vote for yourself, not Christy and her fellow travellers, you know the ones who donate to her and her party and then don’t have to pay the billion they owe to the province (mining companies)

    Ask: are my kids getting the same education as I did or better. if the answer is no, vote for some one other than Christy or run yourself.

    Ask: are my parents and grandparents getting decent care? if the answer is NO, vote for something better for those in your family.

    Christy said Families First, well start putting your family first and not Christy’s.

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  8. Stu Davis

    I retired last year after 33 years of teaching. We have already let down a whole generation of students over the last 15 years. No in school mental health, cuts to special needs, rise in violence against teachers and aids,cuts to counseling,deteriorating facilities, not to mention loss of arts and AP classes. Teachers are worn down and cannot keep this system afloat in face of all these cuts just by shear determination. Just imagine what $368 million a year could do for our once great public school system. Keep up the good fight, Laila!

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  9. Pingback: Things that make you go Hmmmmm, Mike Bernier vs VSB edition – Laila Yuile on people, politics and life in B.C.

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