Everybody owed explanation on education
Re: “Education crucial to B.C.’s future: candidates”, (Citizen, March 24)
Thank you for your Election 2017 article on our Cowichan Valley provincial election candidates. I have great respect for anyone who commits to being a political candidate. I have to admit though, after reading the article I felt compelled to pick up a shovel to rapidly and violently turn over two large compost piles. What “fired” me up was the BC Liberal candidate’s statement that “Students need to be well prepared for the future. That’s why…”
I was expecting at that point to get from the Liberal candidate an explanation of why his leader and his party, for the past 15 years, used taxpayer dollars and our provincial legislature to fight so hard to deny safe and supported classrooms for public school students. He did not deliver that explanation. He instead provided financial details on the extent of the court-ordered 2002 contract language restoration. Yes, our BC Liberal government had to be ordered by the Supreme Court of Canada to honour a labour contract.
They were ordered to honour a contract that included language that ensured adequate counsellors, librarians, and specialist teachers for B.C. public school populations. Language that put sensible limits on the size and composition of public school classrooms. The people actually working in public schools, in good faith, negotiated (gave up money for) that language way back in 2002 to ensure safe and supported classrooms for them to work in and for students to learn in. Over many bitter years and through many expensive courts, the BC Liberal government stubbornly and deliberately refused to honour and fully fund the terms of that 2002 contract agreement.
What all public school students need is the best opportunity we can give them to discover and develop their passions and talents. They will benefit; our society will benefit. What the BC Liberal party and all their 2017 election candidates need to do is own their past behaviour and then explain it to their constituents. Pretending the past 15 years never happened is neither a responsible nor respectable strategy. Surely at this time B.C. voters generally, as well as public school students, parents, and workers specifically are owed a direct and detailed answer to the question, “why?”