New Democrat leader John Horgan has written an open letter to Premier Christy Clark on the prolonged education dispute.
In the letter, Horgan expresses disappointment with the government’s failed approach to date, and urges the premier to directly involve herself in the negotiations, and to set a new tone that respects teachers and our public education system.
September 1, 2014
The Honourable Christy Clark
PO Box 9041 Stn Prov Govt
Victoria, British Columbia
Dear Premier Clark:
New Democrat education spokesperson Rob Fleming released the following statement on the breakdown of talks in the education dispute:
“With just two days left before the start of school, it is clear Education Minister Peter Fassbender has utterly failed kids and families in B.C. Either he should admit he is not up to the task and step down, or Premier Clark should remove him.
New Democrat leader John Horgan and labour spokesperson Shane Simpson released the following statement:
“On this Labour Day, we celebrate the efforts and accomplishments of the generations of workers who built British Columbia and who continue to be the backbone of our economy.
“Farmworkers, health care professionals, teachers, millwrights, IT developers, hospitality, resource and retail workers…every person who gets up and goes to work each day in British Columbia contributes to this great province that we all love.
While Canada’s premiers are in PEI supporting a national inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women, back at home in B.C. Premier Christy Clark has failed to act on recommendations from our own inquiry and has made cuts to police investigations, say New Democrats.
New Democrat spokesperson for education Rob Fleming released the following statement:
“The only way to reach a fair settlement and ensure kids are in classrooms on Sept. 2 is to get both sides back to the table as quickly as possible. The willingness of both sides to start mediation is a positive sign.
“However, the B.C. Liberals must not squander this momentum as they have so many times before in this dispute, by putting up roadblocks, arbitrary deadlines and impossible pre-conditions.
B.C.’s New Democrats are calling on both sides of the school labour dispute to come to the bargaining table immediately with mediator Vince Ready and voluntarily suspend the government’s lockout and teachers’ strike so that schools can open on time next Tuesday.
The B.C. Liberals’ efforts to shield key documents on mine safety incidents from public scrutiny are undermining public confidence in the B.C. mining industry, say B.C.’s New Democrats.
“The Mount Polley tailings pond failure was an unprecedented disaster in B.C.,” said New Democrat spokesperson for energy and mines Norm Macdonald. “The Liberal government’s failure to provide the public with complete information about the tailings pond failure and the safety record of other tailings facilities in B.C. is undermining public trust in resource development.”
The B.C. Liberals are allowing rates to skyrocket at ICBC, making life even less affordable for British Columbians, say the New Democrats.
“The 5.2-per-cent hike proposed today follows years of hikes by Premier Christy Clark’s government,” said New Democrat ICBC spokesperson Mable Elmore. “While she has been premier, her government has brought in big rate hikes in three out of four years, increasing rates by a total of 23 per cent – that’s $140 more every year for the average driver.”
The B.C. Liberals must focus on getting children back in school instead of making things worse by finger-pointing in media interviews, say B.C.’s New Democrats.
“Instead of developing a substantive proposal for addressing class size and composition levels, Liberal Education Minister Peter Fassbender is threatening even more chaos in our education system by pointing fingers at others,” said New Democrat education spokesperson Rob Fleming.
The B.C. Liberals’ failure to get children back into classrooms is disproportionately hurting families of children with special needs, say B.C.’s New Democrats.
“The B.C. Liberals’ failure to get a deal with teachers means students with special needs are going to suffer because they’re not in school where they belong and can’t get the support they need,” said Judy Darcy, MLA for New Westminster.
“It hurts the families of these children too, who are not being provided with options for the special care their children need while schools remain closed,” said Darcy.