What is mediation? When I mediate between students, the process is that both sides are presented and then we look for a middle ground as a resolution. There are no conditions placed on the process forcing a predetermined outcome for either side. We simply try to solve the problem.
When the government agrees to mediation, they come with a series of preconditions that attempt to force a resolution favourable to them. On July 2, the BCTF and the government concluded a series of exploratory talks in order to get mediation happening and end the dispute which disrupted the year end and threatens to cause further havoc come September.
Those talks were unsuccessful due to the unwillingness of government to engage in an unfettered mediation process. B.C. teachers came with no conditions. We were ready to find the middle ground. Government was not willing.
Justice Stephen Kelleher remains seized of the situation and has days available in July and August to allow the mediation process to work. He has stepped back at this time because he recognizes that the process cannot work with preconditions. He has not “booked out” of the process.
I remain hopeful that a deal can be reached. I sincerely hope that September will get under way as per usual. It will take movement from both sides to get this done. We have indicated that B.C. teachers are willing to move. Why isn’t government?
Vancouver Island North Teachers’ Association