‘Disgust’ at government’s actions

Repeated appeals are a waste of money and a sign of bad faith.

Dear editor,

I am writing to all British Columbians to express the disgust I have with the Liberal government and the poor choices they are making on our behalf. I am a citizen of B.C., a mother of three elementary students, and a teacher, and as all three of these things I am disgusted by our government’s actions.

As a citizen of this beautiful province I am outraged by the government’s attitude towards negotiating with teachers. In the past, the Liberals have chosen to legislate teachers rather than bargain in good faith. As a result, the BCTF has taken them to court, and won, not once but twice!

Rather than being an upstanding government that one could be proud of, they have chosen to waste more taxpayers’ money by appealing this ruling for a third time. When is our government going to become accountable for its actions, stop wasting taxpayers’ money, and correct their errors?  As a tax payer I work very hard for the tax dollars I pay, as do my neighbors, friends and family, and do not appreciate the Liberals throwing it down the toilet to re-appeal something they have been told twice and will be told a third time: stripping contracts through legislation is unconstitutional.

Rather than flushing more of my hard-earned money down the drain, I would like them to make amends and put class size and composition back in the teachers’ contract. One thing most people don’t realize is that teachers bargained class size and composition into their contract in lieu of a pay raise, as it is an important working condition for teachers. No employer would turn around and reverse a pay raise, so how can they reverse something given in place of a pay raise?

How much of our taxpayers’ dollars have been wasted on these appeals already? How much more do the Liberals intend to flush down the drain when B.C. could be spending it on much more important issues?

Another question is why has this government not received any consequences for ignoring a Supreme Court ruling? Any other citizen in this province goes to jail (or gets charges or a fine) when they break the law, so why isn’t the Liberal government facing any real consequences for breaking the law? Being a government official does not make one above the law, as we have seen many times, with members of parliament being asked to leave and having charges or fines pressed. The message being sent to myself and all other citizens of B.C. is that the law does not need to be followed by all, a judge’s ruling means little to nothing, and that the government can make and break laws as it suits them and therefore, cannot be trusted. This breaks my heart!

I have been a teacher for the last nine years, six of them in B.C., and I love it! Teaching is the most rewarding career out there and one I truly enjoy. However, I do not enjoy the way this government treats those in my profession. In order to adequately perform the duties of my job I must purchase my own resources (black line masters, classroom library, art supplies, manipulatives, games, etc.). I regularly bring marking and prep work home with me, as my 90 minutes a week prep time and an hour before/after school is inadequate for marking the work of 21 students and preparing lessons that will engage them, not to mention writing referrals for students to see specialists for their learning challenges, contacting parents, and other administrative aspects of my job.

Are other professions expected to bring work home or go in on weekends, for which they are not paid extra? When was the last time a secretary had to buy their own photocopier or a nurse their own blood pressure cuff so they can do their job? So why are teachers expected to buy their own resources to do their jobs adequately?

Walk into any teacher’s classroom and ask which resources were provided by the school/government and which they bought themselves; I can guarantee more than 60 per cent of any resources in an elementary school classroom belongs to the teacher. I would love to be able to walk into my classroom in September and have all the tools needed to do my job well (enough photocopier paper, extra supplies for those who can’t afford them, up-to-date resources, enough books/texts for all students) and extra support for those students who need it.

As citizens of B.C. we need to stand up to this government and tell them that our children and our schools are worth investing in; I know my own children and every child I’ve ever taught are well worth the investment. We need to invest in B.C.’s future, and that future is our children.

Jackie Poynter

Port Hardy

 

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