Political back and forth in education battle

Vancouver, BC, Canada / (CKNW AM) AM980

Even though only a few days remain for the two sides in the teachers’ dispute to reach a deal before school starts, Education Minister Peter Fassbender found time to make an announcement in Surrey this morning.

The province has come up with 55 million dollars for a new high school in Clayton Heights and another 9 million for additions to three elementary schools to ease overcrowding.

“And the labour dispute should never affect our ability to carry on and do business.”

The minister stands by his proposal to cool off the picket lines for two weeks, despite the union balking.

And if Vince Ready decides not to mediate after this afternoon’s meeting, Fassbender says it’s up to the union to decide what is next.

Ready’s meeting with key stakeholders starts at 1:30pm at a Richmond hotel.

The NDP’s Education Critic is suggesting Ready should be given whatever power he needs to end this dispute as soon as possible.

“Kids should be learning in school and that’s what I hope the news will be over the next four days for September 2nd.”

Rob Fleming says, when someone with Ready’s reputation for getting things done offers to help, both sides need to say yes.

“This dispute has gone on for far too long. To begin the school year the way the last one ended would be a disaster, so that just can’t happen and if we can get a mediation process in place using the services of Mr. Ready, don’t let an artificial deadline mean that the lock-out has to continue or that picket lines have to be put up.”

During past disputes involving teachers, Ready was allowed to make binding recommendations.

It’s not clear if he’s been promised that this time.

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