Education Critic’s message to the Premier “Get involved or get out of the way”

Vancouver, BC, Canada / News Talk 980 CKNW | Vancouver's News. Vancouver's Talk

“Get involved or get out of the way.”

That’s the message BC’s Education critic is sending Premier Christy Clark in the wake of rotating strikes and partial lockouts in public schools across the province next week.

Rob Fleming garnered cheers and applause from a crowd of at least one hundred teachers and supporters at a rally in Port Coquitlam.

He says although the Premier is speaking to delegates at a convention in Kelowna this weekend, she should be focused on getting an agreement signed with teachers.

“I’ve got some advice for Christy Clark this weekend, when she’s done touring the wineries, and she’s about to make her keynote address to her delegates there, try something different. It’s been twelve years of conflict and confrontation with teachers in British Columbia, with parents and students being the victims and the bystanders in all of this, it’s not working.”

He adds “I would like to see the Premier show the same urgency and willingness to bring sides together that she showed maybe in the Port Metro Vancouver dispute, I mean yes that was a dispute that was critical to the economy, so is public education right across BC.”

President of the Coquitlam Teachers Association Charley King says the lockout imposed by the government is creating confusion in classrooms.

“Now they’re back tracking and flip flopping and saying well we’re locking you out of your jobs but feel free to do any voluntary activities or anything you want to do. A lockout is a lockout, how do we do voluntary activities? For example, make sure we are able to see our students’ graduate, when we are locked out of the employer’s premises forty five minutes after work ends.”

The union’s rotating strikes are expected to begin Monday and will last four days, with every school in B.C. closed for one of those days.

The BC public school employers’ association has announced a partial lockout, including a 10 per cent pay cut if teachers follow through with their plans to walk off the job.


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    • Finally the NDP begrudging showed a little respect for Christy Clark by asking her to get involved in the BCTF-impasse. It seemed to me that the advice “or get out of the way” was truly inappropriate and flippant.

      It is about time the NDP recognized Christy Clark’s abilities. In the Port truckers’ strike, she was instrumental in bringing the two opposing parties closer together when no one else though it was possible.

      Her famous proclamation (paraphrased: “It’s better to negotiate than fight!” was so inspiring. It rates almost as highly as Churchill’s “Never have so many owed…”

      So IMO while the NDP critic got it only partly right, he has to do better.

      Because others might suggest that Christy Clark should get totally involved to clean up her mess she created as Education Minister in 2002.

      Her government received an overwhelming mandate in the 2013 election to carry out the majority’s wishes.

      However, contrary to the widely-held opinion, an overwhelming mandate also includes a reponsibility to clean out the barn as well-not to create even more stench.

      Perhaps, once the stench is removed, BC can move on.

      • insite (or lack of it). I can a sure you that snookums has never said or could say anything that would come within a billion miles of what Sir Winston Churchill said.

        But one of Sir Winston Churchill’s great quotes is, “Politics is the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month and next year. And then have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn’t happen”.

        Well snookums will be long gone by the time the LNG Pipe Dream never happens. So she won’t have to ask little Hammie, what the heck should I say to get out of this and still make them think I know what I am doing?

        But you sure done got to admit that she sure done’d well for a drop out that slunged beer at The Blue Boy. YA NO?

        • B-Sorry that you took it the wrong way. If you’ve paid attention to my other posts, you will have realized that I was being cynical-very cynical.

          But I’ll bet Ron lapped up my comments up to the point until I pulled the rug out from underneath him.

          I could just imagine him nodding in agreement…

  1. Unfortunately, in my opinion, we are governed by a whole passel of totally incompetent boobs, not just one. Where is the ” Rhino Party ” when you really need them. At least they knew they were boobs….

  2. Another NDP Goof!! No one can negotiate with these people. The NDP couldn’t either. The last election the teachers said it was all about them. We voted. They lost. Pretty simple.

    • Are teachers overpaid? Absolutely. Gordon Campbell’s Liberals, and I think with Clarke as Minister of Education, declared teachers an essential services, therefore they cannot strike. If you were the government negotiator would you negotiate in good faith, or just go through the motions and then legislate teachers to a contract?
      Other essential services use binding arbitration, yet the Liberals have refused to allow this for teachers. The reason is that much of what the teachers want would be included in any binding agreement.
      The Premier is too busy to be bothered with the current issues in education, she is busy feathering her nest in the Okanagan, including plans for a second non-toll bridge…..

    • Please keep in mind the key sticking point here, the reasonableness of the teacher demands included, is the Liberals refusal to comply with the law. Their contract stripping of 2002 has been ruled illegal, and they refuse act upon that. If you or I did that we would be in jail for contempt of court. No negotiations can proceed if one side is operating from an illegal position. The Liberals will not talk about that, preferring to misdirect and misinform. Only when they start negotiations from a legal (pre-2002) position on class size and composition can talks really move. Finally the Liberals are using double talk on the issue. On the one hand they state class sizes have not really changed and special needs students are having their needs effectively addressed (as they were by mutual agreement in 2002). On the other hand they say reaching that mutually agreed to status would cost over $2 billion!! How can it be both? Clearly the fault here is with the government and BCPSEA.

      • They are appealing the decision, which is part of our legal system. The judge has stayed the judgement, so in the laws mind, it’s not to be enforced.

        • You make a good point! The judgment which says the government bargained in bad faith and must include class size and composition is “stayed” pending the outcome of an appeal.

          But what happens if the Court of Appeal upholds the decision? If a contract is negotiated with does not include class size and composition, the courts decision will be moot. I suspect this is the problem the parties find difficult to address, hence my continued suggestion for binding arbitration.

          • Which has been offered and rejected by the Liberals and BCPSEA. They will never agree to it because they want the teachers to back off on the issue to make the court case go away. 3 times HEU fought that battle in court and 3 times they won. The BCTF has fought and won the same battle twice so far. The Liberals keep complaining there is no money, but there seems to be an endless supply for a lost cause. They will not win an appeal even if they are allowed to launch one. Their game plan is to force teachers to back off, it is the only way they don’t have to be accountable for their illegal actions.

          • I agree with your analysis which clearly explains why the government is refusing any negotiation of class-size and composition issues in the contract.

            If the BCTF implicitly or explicitly agrees to abandon its twice-confirmed constitutional right to bargain class size and composition in this round of negotiations, it will give government a powerful argument to overturn Justice Griffin’s decision

            IMO, it would be foolish for any side (in this case the BCTF) in possession of two court decisions that ruled in its favour) to throw away its best bargaining chip. It is unfathomable that the BCTF might have even the slightest notion of entertaining any agreement that might allow the government to win its appeal.

            It appears both radio and TV media have now joined the debate on some variation of binding arbitration where the parties submit their “Final Offer” which is selected by an Arbitrator as the basis for the default contract. While their positions are TOO far apart at the moment, we can be certain that binding arbitration will cause a seismic shift in either position as it would be extremely risky to go all in with an extreme position.

            Interesting that I identified such a process in my April 17 2014 post-over a month ago. I’ve been in several such “Zero-Sum games”… Not necessarily in LR. They provide a huge incentive to bargain hard but to bargain responsibly.

  3. BCTF should be gone. this outfit cannot agree with, or make a deal with anybody. Check their history. A public service should not be allowed to constantly blackmail the public.
    Stop dealing with them, order them back to work or dissolve them and recruit new people.

    • 12 years of conflict ? I am 40 and can recall ” conflict ” through out my school years in BC . Now my own kids are going through the same thing . Doesn’t seem to matter what party is in office , the conflicts have continued . It doesn’t make much difference what side of the fence we park our opinion on . Right now no one is winning and I certainly hope some meaningful talks can resume and a long term deal can be struck on the ASAP .

  4. If the teachers lose their rights, It won’t be long till the rest of us lose ours. But the question I ask is. Who loses their rights last? Is it the hockey players or is it the gangs?

    • You have the same rights as teachers ? ? ?

      Those in the Private Sector lost their Sick Days 20 years ago . . .
      Those in the Private Sector fund 50 to 70% of their own Pensions . . .
      Those in the Private Sector get 3 or 4 weeks holidays a year . . .
      Those in the Private Sector have to PERFORM in their position or are dismissed . . .

      Teachers have a sweetheart deal with almost NO accountability, they only work half of the year . . . if they need more money get another job.

      • Dale how much is the teachers pension funded by government. ..what percentage. I saw my teacher friends pay stub…About $950 per month of his gross deducted for pension contribution. ..his contribution not employers…teachers get paid 1 week spring break. ..have worked extra time for school closure week..a d 2 weeks Christmas. ..that is 3 weeks with pay….summer no salary.

  5. What business model are the Liberals following when they treat their front line workers [teachers] with such contempt and disrespect. These are the people who deliver the product [public education] directly to your clients [taxpayers, parents and students].
    Teachers need to be facilitated not harassed. If teachers are resourced and equipped to do their job to the best of their ability; they win, kids win, parents win, and long term benefits wise, taxpayers win.
    Under the current Liberal public education strategy of chronic underfunding, law breaking contract stripping, and negative spinning the people educating BC children; teachers lose, kids lose, parents lose, taxpayers lose. Who wins?

    • Mike, why do Teachers treat the Taxpayers with contempt and disrespect?
      Respect is something you earn, show us what Teachers have done as of late to earn that Respect!

      • I lost respect when the teachers decided to strike showing contempt and disrespect for the classroom, rather than asking for arbitration. On the other hand, the contempt and disrespect is exacerbated by the government by frustrating education through lockout. This mess demonstrates how two bullies in pursuit of their egos lose sight of the real issue. I was very disappointed to hear the BCTF say Arbitration is not yet in their books. Let’s hope the government makes the first intelligent move in that direction.

        • Mediation was offered and BCPSEA said no. The gov’t will refuse any outside intervention as that would ruin their made up position. Are the demands of teachers appropriate no. However, all bargaining starts that way. The teachers’ offer has not changed as the gov’t has not changed. Excluding a reduction from 10 years to 6 nothing has changed. Nothing will change until the courts hold them accountable. The contract stripping is the number one stumbling block, and the fault for that lies with a dishonest anti-public education gov’t not greedy teachers.
          PS: IF teaching is such a plum job why do teacher bashers who have it so much tougher not teach?

  6. No one can negotiate with the teachers’ union. No government has been able to for more than 40 years. The union talks about how important the children are and then always seem to strike or protest as the school year comes close to the end. If they were serious about negotiating, I’d respect their union. I respect teachers immensely for the most part. The union is run by a bunch of militants that bully other teachers and ostracize those that disagree with their tactics.

  7. Rob Fleming garnered cheers from the inane public ?
    NDP style Socialist Democrats ALL over the world have been Dismal Failures . . . every country run by governments espousing this dogma is either bankrupt or going bankrupt.
    Yet the public still wants more? This time they believe Socialism is going to work . . . lol
    Even a decade ago you could make this argument . . . but today the results are in . . . whether it be Detroit, Stockton California, the country of Greece, Spain or France . . . failures all . . . yet the uninformed amongst us still want to believe . . . wow !

    • Saying any city in the USA is socialist clearly is hyperbole, right?

      My question for you would be, is the direction capitalism is heading much better? I’d suggest they both end in the same place. Take for instance Canada, where the bottom 60% of Canadians have only 11% of the country’s net wealth and the top 20% having almost 70%. Incredulously, the top 1% has 35% of all net wealth in Canada. This spread has been getting larger and larger for the past 40 years and will only continue to increase exponentially if people like you don’t wake up. You rant and rave that teachers and the public sector in general have it so good, but why not expect more from your private sector employers? Clearly most of the wealth is at the top, clearly that isn’t making its way down to private sector and in many ways, public sector workers (to a lesser extent). Many NDP supporters don’t believe in a true socialist system, but the current political party we have, that sells our resources for pennies on the dollar and caters to big business with the lowest corp taxes in North America is not helping our province either. The only true equalizer for future earning potential is education. When that is underfunded you are guaranteed to see the rich get richer and the poor to stay poor. I don’t want a society like that. Do you?

      • Alf . . . NDP = Bankupt Philosophy !

        “the direction capitalism is heading much better?”

        Why don’t we look around the globe . . . while many countries have some socialist derived programs like welfare, healthcare etc. – which countries on the planet are performing the best?
        Are the counties of Europe with their Socialist Govts performing well? Spain, Greece, Portugal, France and Italy . . . ALL have the same problem, too much debt, high taxes, very high unemployment and Socialist Govts.

        On the other hand . . . Norway, Sweden, Canada, Britain, Australia and Germany are ALL doing reasonably well . . . why do you suppose that is?
        By the way they ALL have Right-of-center Govts.

        So . . . you think that taking from the Rich and Giving it to the Poor will solve all of societies problems? So did Karl Marx . . . how did that work out?
        In fact Socialist Govt of France tried that raised taxes on the rich . . . the Rich LEFT with their money and tax revenues tanked.
        So . . . what do you do then?

        The US is socialist? How about we look at the Democrat party . . . . almost the Entire Black Caucus are dems and ALL belong to Socialists of America.
        Saunders . . . another dem is a admitted marxist. The party of JFK is now further to the left than Canada’s Dippers.

        Ever get a job from a poor man Alfi?

  8. So Mr.Fleming, tell us how the NDP would handle the situation. Just cave in to the union’s demand is easy, but where does the money come from? Adrian Dix’s last election platform was to get BC into deficit. So the NDP is asking our future generations to foot the bill! I am so glad the NDP lost the election.

  9. If people feel that the bctf is unreasonable and that the government merely wants to provoke job action then we should all be calling for best offer binding arbitration. Tell both sides to put forth their best offer and have a truly impartial person or persons decide. It works for other essential services.

  10. Posters have consistently underscored that negotiation with the BCTF is impossible. The greed of BCTF is said to be outrageous and cannot be tolerated. In these circumstances there is no option but to put BCPSEA’s most reasonable position to an independent arbitrator and get a resolution. BCPSEA says they want a deal, our premier says she wants a deal, and the only issue is the unreasonableness of the teacher’s union.

    Let’s get it done! Let’s show the BCTF whose in charge, and put those reasonable positions to an independent arbitrator. After all, if you are proud and confident in the righteousness of your position, what have you got to lose?

    Public education will come out the winner regardless of whose right.

    • It’s public education, how about we ask the Public?
      Why doesn’t the BCFT ask for Mediation, if you want someone else to solve your situation.
      There is absolutely no way an Arbitrator would pick the BCTF proposals. They are way out of line with what other public sector workers have settled for. What makes Teachers better than everyone else?

      • Dwight-If you are so certain that the BCTF would lose, why aren’t you shouting from the roof-tops to join those who are calling for arbitation.

        That’s why no Liberal supporter on this site or anywhere else will support binding arbitration.

        It shows that you lack the backbone to put your views to the ultimate test.

        in my case, I am willing to unconditionally accept the decision of an independent arbitrator-BUT you are not.

        You should tell us what exactly why you do not favour arbitration when you “believe” that the government will win. What’s your problem when a government win is guarranteed?

        Any rational person who was or is involved in labour relations, contract negotiations and arbitration understands that the ultimate goal is to reach a settlement not to crush the union. But there are obviously exceptions. To each his own….

    • The real question is, what CAN Pamela Martin, do? Just another breeze brain enjoying Victoria, I am afraid, unless she’s shuffled off to Buffalo with a big fat severance package, a disease condoned by the Piggy Liberals with no antidote in sight.

  11. Yes Snooky, really has a hat on her shoulders. From the Blue Boy days to resolving the container trucker’s strike, she was with HER people. Look at her major photo ops. Her people love her. Poor dumb thing, on the 11:00p.m. news, is back on about a 10 year deal???? I am truly afraid, she hasn’t got a clue. Pamela Anderson makes as much, or more sense. Snooky dislikes teachers, because psychologically , she must have had a real tough time understanding them regarding common logic, and thinking of herself instead. BC should be proud, it’s better than Saturday Night Live :>)))

  12. Yes the BC Supreme Court ruled that in 2002’s Bills 27 and 28 were unconstitutional. The government was given one year to remedy and reinstate bargaining rights and they did nothing.

    Now they want to appeal a decision that they will never win!

    Gordon Campbell, Christy Clark and the Liberal party have really screwed up Education and many children have fallen through the cracks. I’m surprised the Liberal government doesn’t have a class action lawsuit against them.

    Eduction is a right in this country not a privilege. This liberal government wants to make a good education only for the rich who can afford a private school (with smaller class sizes etc.).

    • R that is utter BS. You must have got that from the BCTF.
      That ruling was not until 2011, and the Government was given a year to correct it.
      They sat down at a different Bargaining table then the main negotiations, and attempted to negotiate. The BCTF called it off because they wanted it all, as usual. The Government put up something in the area of $180,000,000. towards fixing the problem. Not good enough. Therefore as a result of again not being able to negotiate with the BCTF they passed another Bill that was thought to cover it.
      The SAME Justice ruled on both, and to be clear the bad faith bargaining was alleged at the last, session. SO, if indeed they did bargain in bad faith, it was only at the last negotiations. And again I say if.

      • Dwight:

        @R is correct. @R did not say the court ruled in 2002. AR said the court ruled on 2002′s Bills 27 and 28 (meaning Bills 27 and 28 were passed in 2002). too bad you couldn’t get right. But that’s what happens if emotions are not managed…

        And you confirmed that the government “put up $180 million towards fixing the problem?” Now we know there was a problem when the government stripped teachers of their constitutional right to bargain class size and composition.

        And Dwight wrote: “SO, if indeed they did ‘bargain in bad faith,’ it was ‘only at the last’ negotiations. And again I say if.”

        Until this last post, the above words and phrases were not even remotely part of your psyche.

        So Dwight, are we seeing a tiny, weeny change in altitude on your part-which is a good thing?

        And since you firmly believe that the current government position will prevail, then you must be in favour of binding arbitration.

        I look forward to you adding your voice in calling for binding arbitration to resolve the government-BCTF impasse.

  13. Sure get sick of everytime you read the comments on anything cknw reports . You get the comments from the same old 5 our 6 know matter what the topic education / health care /gangs / government. Give it rest already . Better yet get a life!!!