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CTV Exposes Myth of No Money to Settle Teachers’ Dispute

September 10th, 2014 · 67 Comments

That was great! I really enjoyed … and learned a LOT …  from Jon Woodward’s report on CTV News at Six Tuesday about the big bucks the government IS still spending during the teachers’ dispute.

It’s clear: the government HAS THE MONEY and COULD settle this dispute anytime it wants … but clearly is more intent on breaking the union.

As Woodward laid it out …the Liberal government is now setting aside $40 a day to pay to parents for EACH child under 13 years old they have in the public school system.

That works out to $9 million a DAY … added up to $36 million LAST WEEK ALONE!

And as Woodward pointed out within six weeks, the total cost of the parental payout will start approaching the $318 million that would be required to meet the total teachers’ demands! And, he added, that will be without kids having even one day in school to show for it. a longer stoppage would TOP any settlement cost.

Good points!

Think about that: the government IS SPENDING the same amount on bribes to parents that it would take to settle the dispute.

Plus, no one …not even the teachers …believe the ultimate settlement will approach their wish list, so it would cost substantially less to achieve a fair agreement … if both sides really wanted one.

There IS money to pay for a fair settlement; there WILL be money to pay for a fair settlement.  Of course! Does anyone really doubt that?

In fact, on Tuesday Finance Minister Mike De Jong announced BC currently has a $266 SURPLUS in the bank.

Of course, some will note, the daycare equivalent could cover this year’s settlement costs … but what about subsequent years?

Well, the government is NOT broke; the coffers are not empty; the economy is growing; and therefore the government’s take from personal and corporate taxes will continue to grow.

What the government clearly PREFERS to do is keep YOUR extra contributions in ITS bank account, so it can later try to buy your votes with some sort of magnanimous tax break … funded with YOUR dollars.

That IS the way politics so often works in Canada …and frankly, it succeeds!

But this time, there are kids involved … and many are paying a much heavier price for lost school time than we realize. Read the comments from two of them reacting to my previous blog.

The money is there to settle.

Too bad the will to do so on the part of the government is not.

Harv Oberfeld

Tags: British Columbia · Media

67 responses so far ↓

  • 1 bob // Sep 10, 2014 at 9:19 am

    You are forgetting to count the SCAB money that CUPE and the other unions are taking to have their members sit at home for full wages.

    That is right. CUPE cut a deal to undermine the teachers by having their members receive FULL PAY to sit at home.

    Add those dollars to the total and there is easily enough to address BCTF classroom issues.

  • 2 morry // Sep 10, 2014 at 9:28 am

    The BC Liberal Government is morally bankrupt.

  • 3 workforfun // Sep 10, 2014 at 9:58 am

    I sure hope that the majority of parents getting the $40 a day payment from the BC Liberals, donate it to the BCTF strike fund – that would be some form of justice.

    (Response: Don’t bet on that! h.o)

  • 4 r // Sep 10, 2014 at 10:16 am

    266 m surplus-from strike,now day 89?
    63 Billion BC debt
    3 Billion dollar 10 lane superbridge coming up

  • 5 Sidney // Sep 10, 2014 at 10:53 am

    Bob, you’re a tool.
    CUPE workers have been going without to support the BCTF, and rather than be thankful, you insinuate they are undermining the BCTF by making an agreement to be back-paid for the strike. Just so we’re clear, CUPE members will never see the increase in pay or benefits that teachers ask for, therefore it makes sense that while they starve to support the teachers, they will be paid their wages upon settlement.
    I am a CUPE member, and I fully back the teachers, but people like you are selfish and self-centered…which I don’t support. Good thing most teachers are not anything like you.

  • 6 Sidney // Sep 10, 2014 at 10:55 am

    The only BOB I know that would even make a comment like that must be on Christy’s payroll. Nice attempt at turning the two unions against each other. #FAIL

  • 7 BMCQ // Sep 10, 2014 at 10:56 am


    I believe almost every one in B.C. is aware that Government can afford to settle the BCTF Standoff. No doubt about that fact!

    However, the Government will not pay The BCTF more than what they consider to be a FAIR Settlement!!!

    As each and every Genius that posts here is well aware the Wage and Length of the Contract is close.

    What is not close is the fact that The BCTF are way out of line on what they feel they require in Benefits added to their current agreement.
    Government will not meet those UNREASONABLE Demands, we all know that!!

    As one or two others including myself here have mentioned earlier The BCTF need to drop ALL Benefit Demands settle salary package inside Government guideline and get back to work.

    Government would then have pressure to act on Class Size and Composition. Of course I have no idea what funding Government has available or what they would be willing to inject in Class size etc. but I am guessing $ 100 Million would be available for that. If The BCTF would settle within those guidelines they would look good and Government will have kept The BCTF within the range what is acceptable when compared to recently settled and soon to be negotiated contracts.

    By the way, The BCTF will also be required to give up on the $ 5 K Signing Bonus!!!!

    I believe the ideas outlined here would be very acceptable to all parties.

    But then what do I know?

    (Response; But what’s “FAIR”? Bet an independent qualified arbitrator would be able to say! h.o0

  • 8 Hawgwash // Sep 10, 2014 at 11:16 am

    Jon Woodward and Jill Kop (of Global) are good, no nonsense reporters but they may soon be unemployed if they continue to do an honest job.

    Are you kidding?
    Do you know what $40 x 2 can get at the local Pork & Barrel Pub?

  • 9 Crankypants // Sep 10, 2014 at 11:39 am

    I think that the CTV story contains a major flaw. The pool from which these $40 bribes are coming from were designed to reflect the savings in teacher’s salaries while they are on strike. That is one of the reasons for the age restrictions. If they were to compensate parents for all the kids being impacted they would have had to lower the bribe to a much lesser amount which would have hindered the political impact the government was seeking.

    (Response: The age restrictions are because, at 13, MOST kids don’t need day care! It’s true the $40 payout is offset by salary savings… and I’d like to see a COMPREHENSIVE story now from the working media as to how the balance sheet holds out, taking both into account. But the SADDEST thing is that while al this is being debated, BC’s kids are falling farther and farther behind other students in private schools and other provinces. h.o.)

  • 10 Beau // Sep 10, 2014 at 11:41 am

    Did you forget to add how much the government saves every week in unpaid teacher salaries and the amount they saved cheating the teachers out of 10% of their wages when they were still working in June? Wasn’t that something like $163 million so far?

    (Response: Exactly ..another HUGE amount … even if you deduct the cost of the $40 payoffs. h.o)

  • 11 MARGE // Sep 10, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    You are preaching to the converted Harvey. How do we get the message to Joe and Jane Q Public? That perplexes me through all of this. Why are parents tolerating the fact that Clark’s kid is safe at tony St. Georges and their kids are sitting on their butts at home? I also can’t understand how Don McRae (he who wrote the plaintive letter about his teaching experience) is now a very silent MLA. What about the “religious” zealots like Marvin Hunt in Surrey? He’s an ordained minister for goodness sake and he is strangely silent. Doe he forget that there is more to the line than “suffer the little children:. Where are the churches and temples and mosques putting out to the public that this insanity has to stop and that BC kids deserve the same as kids in the rest of Canada? We have the most incompetent premier in all of Canada coupled with a bozo for Min. of Ed. preventing kids from getting the same education. Then we have Madame Premier hiking her big butt to India thumbing her nose at BC. And not to mention the media who have their lips firmly fixed to the Liberal butts, it is funny. I can read exactly the same message from Baldrey as from Smythe as from Palmer. We now have Steven Smart at the CBC (he who is married to another Clark staffer) touting the “government” position this morning about “affordability’. This strike has opened my eyes tremendously as to what a Third World Country BC has become. Plain and simple we don’t have a democracy whatsoever. We have a dictatorship (not convinced Clark is in control of it but that others are pulling her strings as she is not bright by a long shot) that controls everything – even journalism.

    I just read that business is worried about profits because of the strike and nobody purchasing anything from them but they still support Clark. Why would I support them them once the strike is over? If they don’t support BC kids, why would I shop in their establishments?

    Why can’t the rest of BC see what is going on? I am in shock.

    (Response: You could send a link to this posting to everyone on your mailing list as a “must read”. And CTV News did a good job on this story ..let them know you appreciate this kind of solid info …. and WANT MORE! :) h.o.

  • 12 Steve Currie // Sep 10, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    I understood that the $40/day is coming from the teacher payroll that the government is not spending during the strike therefore it’s not extra money. The numbers seem to agree: $9M/day divided by 41,000 teachers = $219/day per teacher which would work out to an average salary of just over $57k. I’m no fan of the government’s strategy but I also want to know the facts are straight.

  • 13 MARGE // Sep 10, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    Read this to get a good view of what is happening in BC classrooms while Clark’s kid chats it up at St. Georges:

    Now multiply it by the hundreds of schools in BC:

  • 14 e.a.f. // Sep 10, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    If the networks, who have long reported, with a pro lieberal slant, are now changing things up, they are either being personally impacted and/or they are sensing a change in the wind and don’t want to be blown over.

  • 15 SunWuKong // Sep 10, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    Keep in mind, that none of us have received the bribe, yet.
    What you’re suggesting is that we prepay into the strike fund before (and maybe, if) the bribe is in our hot little hands.
    I think HO is firmly with the house’s odds on that bet.

  • 16 Dave Pasin // Sep 10, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    Reading and hearing the hubris from both sides is getting really irritating. Period

    The I don’t wanna pay anymore tax crowd along with the Fire ‘em all crowd are as much out to lunch as the give ‘em what the want folks.

    Has any sane mind put forth the idea that perhaps the 2 of them could work together to plan out class size and composition to determine what is best for the kids?

    Even the luddites on both sides have to realize that it’s the responsibility of the government to provide education to the masses and perhaps here’ a thought.. do it co-operatively with those that work in the system.

    What it may look like and how it may evolve would seem to me to be a co-operative venture between both parties so as to provide a workplace that is conducive to providing a learning environment that is beneficial to all kids and tailored to their needs.

    Can you really put a price on how much it costs to educate our society. It seems to me it’s far more costly to society and the economy to not provide adequate education and have people live in poverty than continuing to transfer wealth.

    Despite what the luddites may think, a growing progressive, economy, continually requires people who have the ability and tools to learn, imagine, originate, manufacture, work and spend.

    And lo and behold pay taxes that help to pay for and provide infrastructure and further growth.

    Just sayin’

  • 17 Larry Bennett // Sep 10, 2014 at 3:54 pm


  • 18 moose // Sep 10, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    i chuckle at the fact many, many teachers have children under the age of 13 who will also get the 40 dollars a day as provided by the libs as the teacher/govt mismanagement situation continues ……CC must love the idea of giving this odd compensation to ‘striking’ teachers ……who were also locked out …..while previously claimed as an essential service…. AND will parents of kids in privatized for profit schools also be getting this 40 dollar a day stipend too… I mean, is CC gonna pay herself these daily amounts too?

  • 19 Larry Bennett // Sep 10, 2014 at 7:03 pm

    What would solve this problem today, and forever, would be to give the taxpayers the freedom of choice on what kind of education people want for their children. Unfortunately, for the BCTF, it could mean some unemployment, and thus a loss of dues to their union overseers. Oh well, that what is known as “competition”, always makes for a better system.

  • 20 D. M. Johnston // Sep 10, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    From the beginning, the strike was all about the BC Liberal government bankrupting the BCTF. On a lesser note, I believe that the Premier’s advisers such as Gwyn Morgan, the SNC Chap, want the province to privatize the education system.

    Why is the BCTF so powerful; why does the BCTF want to dictate class size and composition?

    BC’s Ministry of Education is very weak and has absolutely no vision. It has become a backwater for those so incompetent in the bureaucracy, they can’t work anywhere else.

    Nature abhors a vacuum and the BCTF has done what the ministry is incapable of doing.

    Fast forward to today. Premier cClark hates the BCTF because the courts overturned Ms. Clark’s legislation when she was Minister of Education.

    Clark’s absolute hatred for the BCTF and the teaching profession has driver her and her pit-bull, Factbender to use school children as human shields to further her political agenda.

    From my point of view, this woman is evil and she is very dangerous as I believe she is unbalanced.

    The Neo Conservatives; Tea party Types; and the Tin-Foil hat brigade have thrown their lot in with the Liberals and they too have become child abusers for condoning the government forcing school children as human shields, to protect the government.

    We are descending into evil times, ruled by depots who care little for anyone but themselves and the circle of friends.

    As I have a grade 7 student waiting for school to start, I have a real stake in the outcome. More and more i side with the teachers and more and more I detest the government.

    The government can end this debacle with back to work legislation, but no, the Premier, Factbender and their supporters engage in major abuse of the children by forbidding them going to school.

  • 21 R // Sep 10, 2014 at 8:01 pm

    Republicans= liberals?

  • 22 Crankypants // Sep 10, 2014 at 8:07 pm

    There is an interesting copy of a letter from a principal of a school in Port Coquitlam that Norm Farrell has on display. He did some research on the funding the school was receiving for books, desks and other equipment one would associate with a school pre and post Liberal governance. The school is not identified nor does it state whether it is elementary, middle or high school.

    In 2002 the school received $181,000 with a lower school population than today. He states that the funding in years previous were at about the same level.

    In 2003 this was dropped to $84,000.

    In 2009 this was dropped to $48,000.

    In 2014 this was dropped to $23,000.

    That is an 87% decrease in twelve years.

    It doesn’t look as if education is much of a priority at all.

  • 23 13 // Sep 10, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    Harvey, the government is using my own money to bribe people with children. Everything the government does is with “our” own money.Bribes, bridges, pay increases, pension increases to public servants, the list is endless. But it is with “our ” own money. When the dust settles ( likely long before the BCTF settles) and this is all said and done we can move onto the nurses. 9 other unions have funded an 8 million dollar fund for the teachers to borrow from. What solidarity! I wonder how many private sector union have decided to spend members dollars on a teacher bail out scheme?
    But back to the our money theme. Come the next election we will see how the voters saw this labor dispute. Liberals wasting our money on bribes OR the Liberals trying to slow the spending on public sector workers to make it seem like the private sector hasnt become a third class bunch of ATMs to fund first class wages and benefits.

  • 24 Rick Rosen // Sep 10, 2014 at 10:11 pm

    How about a parent files a Human Rights Complaint against the government and their 40$ a day sham. The government is clearly discriminating against special needs children of a certain age and their families. One would think that they would have a right to access to the bribe money.

  • 25 e.a.f. // Sep 11, 2014 at 12:57 am

    No w0nder teachers want raises if they have to buy the supplies the schools need out of their own pockets.

    At the beginning of the strike Huffington Post ran a series of pictures of what class rooms looked like prior to the teachers removing their “personal possessions” and then after their “personal possessions” had left the room. In some class rooms there we no books, no bookcases, no chairs, no pictures. All there were in some class rooms were 4 walls and a few desks. It looked like a lot of American “public” schools, 4 walls and a few desks.

    What is described in “Crankypants” comments is similar to a comment some months ago, where an east Vancouver school had a budget for paper of $400 a year. Yes, the teachers had to purchase everything or get it for free for art projects, etc.

    This is not a government which supports education. If Surrey is to eliminate portable class rooms, they would need 10 new schools tomorrow morning.

    We still have schools which have not been retro fitted to withstand earth quakes. How’s that for “families first”.

  • 26 DBW // Sep 11, 2014 at 5:10 am

    Just came across an oldy but a goody.

    A Framework for Long Term Stability in Education. It is the Liberal plan from January, 2013 to get a 10 year deal with teachers.

    On page 17, it suggests a means for overcoming an impasse which looks a whole lot like non-binding arbitration.

    If there is no agreement by July 15, the mediator will issue recommendations for settlement.

    If neither party rejects the mediator’s recommendations by July 25, they become the basis for the new collective agreement.

    If government rejects the mediator’s recommendations, it must provide an alternative offer for settlement by August 7.

    If the BCTF rejects the mediator’s recommendations or government’s alternative offer, they must issue strike notice by August 31. If they do not, then the mediator’s recommendations or government’s alternative offer will be deemed to be accepted and form the new collective agreement.

    This looks like non-binding arbitration.

    Not sure how either side would feel about this, and in this particular case, I am not sure how much a mediator would be able to recommend given the court case. But a smart guy like Vince Ready might be able to be able to recommend a solution on salary and benefits and allows class size and composition to be determined after the court case (he could be called again for that).

    Either side can still reject, but the likely public outcry would be difficult to overcome. The teachers may not like it because it puts E80 out there but I really can’t imagine a mediator including it with the court case looming. The government may not like it (although it is their idea) because they may not wish to settle a partial contract.

    All we know about Vince Ready’s involvement is that he believes the two sides are too far apart for mediation. What we don’t know is how he would bridge that gap.

  • 27 D. M. Johnston // Sep 11, 2014 at 7:07 am

    The same is true in Delta, where I was a volunteer coach for the school rugby team. The coaches for the team was 1 vice principal; 1 teacher; 9 volunteer coaches. Without the volunteer coaches, no rugby program.

    Only the favoured sports, Hockey; Football; Basket Ball; and Soccer has school monies and manpower available from the board.

    The school rugby team raised our own monies and organized car pools for the boys to play (a bus costs a minimum of $350 to go to an away game), we were and are self contained designed by the previous coaches who had the foresight and the wisdom to self fund the program.

    It is a lot of work and for some coaches, they could ill-afford loosing the monies they could have earned by working.

    Being a coach for a school team gives me a peek of the real world of teachers and Victoria’s claw-backs of school funding.

    I see open drug dealing in schools but there is no money for the resources to prevent this. I see scores of students either opting out or drifting away in an alcoholic or drug induced haze and there is no monies to counter this. I see kids on the verge of suicide (the school has had far too many but the media refuses to deal with it) yet little or no funding for mental illness which is rampant in our school system.

    It goes on and on.

    The BC Liberal government has greatly enriched their corporate friends, in part, on the backs of schools and students and this I call child abuse and by extension, the BC Liberal Party and those who support it are child abusers.

    I know the Liberal supporters will cry foul, too bad. This strike is greatly impacting children and to continue, shows a gross dereliction of duty by the government who have an agenda, set forth by an extremely unbalanced premier, to destroy public education in BC.

  • 28 Hawgwash // Sep 11, 2014 at 9:25 am

    Larry Bennett @ 19:
    What DO you smoke Larry?

    “What would solve this problem today, and forever, would be to give the taxpayers the freedom of choice on what kind of education people want for their children.”

    The taxpayers have the freedom of choice on what kind of government people want.

    How’s that workin’ for ya?

  • 29 212degrees // Sep 11, 2014 at 10:28 am

    The very nature of arbitration demands compromise from both sides. Why is it assumed that the teachers would be awarded all their demands and costly perks. A fair and knowledgeable arbitrator would throw out the extremes and false claims from both sides, and come to a middle ground which would be reasonable for all parties involved. Just what is the government really afraid of and by not accepting binding arbitration are they not demonstration a hidden agenda based on vindictiveness, and bad faith.

  • 30 Michael Watkins // Sep 11, 2014 at 10:48 am

    Thanks Harvey for the on-going pieces you are doing on BC Ed. I sure hope we see action that returns teachers to class well before October 6, but I’m cynical enough to believe Clark would force a settlement before she leaves town, if it is still an open issue by then.

    Regarding funding, yesterday I sent a letter to all BC MLAs asking a number of pertinent questions on the topic.

    Already the government has accumulated via the $40/child<12/day scheme $72 million in obligations to parents – that's enough to build THREE new seismically safe elementary schools at a time when tens of thousands of children would normally be in schools at high risk of structural failure and collapse due to the mismanagement of this public safety issue by this and previous governments.

    That $72 million hasn't been planned for in any way in Budget 2014. Contingency funds in the budget may cover this but the fear I have is, like in prior years, the BC Govt will simply download all these new costs on to school districts.

    The Schools Act mandates minimum hours of instruction each year. The longer school remains out the less likely that the time can be realistically made up without extending the school year. What is the government plan? They are silent on that, too.

    The money is there to fund BC Education properly, it's all a matter of priorities. Unfortunately in our system of "governance" we elect a small group of people and set them free to do whatever the hell they want, whether we voted for those measures or not.

    Parents did not elect this government to set up a major battle with teachers, keeping children out of school for weeks.

    $72 million wasted from this year's education budget. What's the government plan?

    Nothing but silence on that one.


    (A fair-minded tax payer and parent of school aged kids. I've no connection whatsoever to unions of any sort.)

    (Response: Although a close friend is a teacher, I didn’t get too motivated by it …until I started to notice what I perceived to be a deliberate attempt on the part of the government to slash the QUALITY of kids’ education in BC…just to save money and reward those doing well with even more tax breaks, savings etc. Make no mistake about it …you crowd too many kids into large classrooms, throw into each ESL and Special Needs students, without adequate aides to assist, and EVERY STUDENT starts to suffer. And I started hearing …not just from teachers …but school trustees and parents the government has cut many school budgets to a fraction of what they were a decade ago …despite rising costs … so much so they can’t even fix a broken desk or have enough text books or so few supplies that teachers are taking money out of their own pockets and purses to buy them …and I thought …WHAT THE H IS HAPPENING TO BC???? When they have SO MUCH MONEY for so many less important projects, parties, celebrations and vanity facilities. So THAT got me onto the topic … and hopefully fueled a good discussion about it all. h.o)

  • 31 R // Sep 11, 2014 at 10:58 am

    Section 72 BC- socioeconomic school impact

    Shame on you BC Liberals-inequality,in BC,for all.

  • 32 e.a.f. // Sep 11, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    D.M. Johnston, thank you for telling it like it is. Many won’t want to believe you, but I know you’re telling the truth.

    What you describe is a form of child neglect and abuse. Most people don’t want to know about it. If it weren’t for some of the dedicated teachers out there the child suicide rate would be much higher than it currently is. Yes, you are quite correct. The media doesn’t want to deal with it. If people actually knew what the mental health state of many of our children were, it might cause some of them to actually get disgusted. To make matters worse, those children who can not be treated by school counsellors and shrinks, have to wait in line for a hospital bed. If your parent is rich, they can always spend $30 grand a month or more in an American care facility.

    Before some of you start calling for more police in the schools or the arrest of the students, you might want to consider much of what is happening, has a root cause of mental health issues. We have yet to see how the judiciary system cured anyone of mental health issues. Oh, wait I know, the latest report on the federal prison system reports a “cure”. The prisoners committee suicide at a rate of 5 times higher than others.

    Thank you again for writing, D. M. Johnston.

  • 33 Gene the Bean // Sep 11, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    That makes sense Harvey.
    I wonder who the Liberals will sacrifice once they lose the next court case? Surely not the bobblehead…I think she has the backroom boys flummoxed and will survive.
    I find it interesting that the NDP are essentially sitting on their collective thumbs on this issue….?
    I’ve raised that very point on ‘their’ media site, The Tyee and was promptly banned….how dare we expect the opposition to oppose….too funny huh!

  • 34 r // Sep 11, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    section 72 -essential service

    Shame on you BC Liberals-

  • 35 Hawgwash // Sep 11, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    I listened to chunks of Simi’s show today and much to my delight it seems like a lot of people are finally catching on, waking up and slowly pulling their heads out of the sand.

    Little by little, pieces like the one from the Port Coquitlam principal whose budget has been reduced by 90% since 2003 with no change in class size; the PAC mom in Langford whose school raised $40,000 to buy essentials like library books and the administrator whose funding has been cut while fees and utilities have steadily increased; the truth is emerging.

    So many callers confessed to having “no idea” what was really being done by the Clark government and now the realization that there is a hidden agenda.

    Maybe the groundswell of disenchantment is gathering momentum. Maybe the MSM and CC will begin to feel some real heat.

    Thank you Harvey and others like you for keeping the fires going.

    (Response: Interesting… I’m don’t often listen to radio at that time of day …but I heard it too. Thought it was very good. Imagine running an entire PoCo school on $21,000 a year … 90% less than 10 years ago, and with MORE students now too. I get the fact that NO ONE wants to pay higher taxes ..but I also get the fact that the government itself keeps boasting we have the lowest taxes (corporate and personal) in North America. While the kids are crammed into crowded classes, without even enough text books, school supplies? What are we …. Arkansas North? h.o)

  • 36 lou // Sep 11, 2014 at 5:53 pm

    extra cash used to pay some of the debt off. why is that everyone wants to keep giving and giving. surplus is good for debt reduction. unions have over stayed there welcome. they ruined the car companies now they are trying to do the same to our province. i say hang tough Fassbender.

    (Response: Now isn’t that a reach! You don’t have to imagine what working conditions would be without unions .. just ask today’s youth. Lousy pay, fewer hours so they have to work two jobs, with no benefits, no pensions …and guaranteed to be fired once you reach 50, because companies today treat staff like disposables …even when they’re making decent profits. We need MORE unions, not less … although hopefully not all making some of the more radical, ridiculous demands of the BCTF. h.o)

  • 37 Elle // Sep 11, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    How does lou figure that the money that the government is not giving schools is going to debt reduction? We have more debt than ever. It is all a shell game that the Liberals are playing. They take wherever they can and funnel it into vote-buying ventures like the Bollywood thing that they pulled off that was a complete waste of our money. I despise Clark and her idiocy. Whoever voted for her deserves this. The rest of us sure don’t. I am so glad that the facts are finally coming forward about what is going on in the schools. This is not right. The government takes our tax dollars and is mandated to provide certain services to the public. Education is one of these services. By starving the system all these years, the government is not providing what they are mandated to do. Some children have gone their entire 12 years of schooling under this system and they have been cheated. This not only affects the disadvantaged children with special needs and ESL. It affects all the children in each classroom because time is taken up helping the most needy and the rest have to fend for themselves. My children are out of school now, thankfully, but I was very involved when they were. I can’t understand why more parents are not outraged by what is going on. The teachers are not there to babysit while the parents are at work. The kids should be learning and having enriching experiences while in the education system. Without the support of the teachers and volunteers, the students would be going without. This Liberal government is shameful.

  • 38 morry // Sep 11, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    Lou – your logic is faulty. Unions did not ruin car companies. they are still doing just fine. Unions are what keeps the working people strong. Without Unions many people would be like you. … a troll.

  • 39 D. M. Johnston // Sep 11, 2014 at 9:04 pm

    Quote: “unions have over stayed there welcome. they ruined the car companies”

    Er no, it wasn’t the unions, though the neo-conservatives and the tin-foil hat brigade would like us to think that, rather is was dreadful management, trying to sell a dreadful product. The American car companies had a very poor product and were outsold by the foreign competition.

    It wasn’t the Unions that jeopardized the American auto industry but a complacent, bordering on incompetent management that drove them to near extinction; something that Photo-op wants to do to BC’s education system.

  • 40 Larry Bennett // Sep 11, 2014 at 9:07 pm

    Hawgwash – take a deep breath and read slowly. When the taxpayers of B.C. are given the freedom to send their share of education taxes to the system they prefer instead of to support the members of the BCTF, and the PUBLIC school system. I would, for instance, prefer to see my share go to home-schoolers or parochial or traditional style schools. By the way, I don’t smoke ANYTHING!!!!

  • 41 r // Sep 11, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    the end is nigh

  • 42 e.a.f. // Sep 11, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    If you want to know how it works where there are no unions try some of those central American countries. Try Asia, Africa, actually, if its a really poor country with lousy working conditions, etc. you can expect it to either have no unions or unions are repressed and union leaders shot and killed or tossed into jail.

    If you look at American states which have anti union legislation, frequently called, right to work legislation, you will find, lower wages, lower social standards, worse schools, higher crime rates, higher poverty rates, lower corporate taxes and higher state debt.

    If it weren’t for unions we would all still be making less than $5 a day, 12 to 16 hr days, with no days off. Just remember what happened when that garment factory went down in Bangledish. That’s what happens when there are no unions.

    If you have a look around, in B.C., if its a non union work place, its usually got lower wages and the whole lot less of everything.

    When there are no unions, parents don’t get paid enough to feed and cloth their children. That’s how we get child poverty.

  • 43 R // Sep 11, 2014 at 9:45 pm

    If not for unions Bc income inequality would be even worse.
    Exporting bc raw logs and low resource royalty rates makes it worse..
    Connect the dots

  • 44 Lew // Sep 11, 2014 at 9:47 pm


    I think I hear the doorbell ringing. Probably your next shipment of bags from Tetley’s Tea. Non-union driver, of course.

  • 45 Eldon // Sep 11, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    What I find depressing is that the govt has held off negotiating for so long that people have just become fed up with both sides. Teachers enjoyed 50% support in polls in June while current polls suggest only 35% support. The govt executed its plan perfectly. The issues haven’t changed, but the stall tactics worked to undermine parental support.

  • 46 BMCQ // Sep 11, 2014 at 10:21 pm


    I hope you do not mind me posting this here. Not exactly on Binding Arbitration but it does fit into Union Benefits.

    You may have read where I pointed out earlier that “BLOATED” Benefit Programs that Federal Public Sector Workers now hold would sometime in the New Year rightfully become a target of The Harper Federal Government.

    Please read today’s National Post piece that states just that!! “Blooated” Benefit Plans with various Provincial Municipal Public Sector Workers will face scrutiny and “Roll Backs” Fact is the programs are way out of line and Tax Payers cannot afford to keep supporting them with their hard earned salaries.

    This Roll Back of Sick and other Benefits will become one of the most important Federal Election Issues next year!!!

    The Voter/Tax Payer will have a very clear choice to make. Vote for The Harper Government which will offer Fiscal Responsibility, Law and Order, Security, and Smaller Government.

    The other two choices are Justin Trudeau who unfortunately has his Mothers Brain and not his Fathers, or Thomas Mulchair and The NDP who will unfortunately for them probably lose at least half of their Seats in Quebec to Justin and his Libs.

    I believe Justin will pick up many seats in Quebec, The Libs and NDP will fight over Crumbs in the rest of the Country splitting the vote in many ridings which will allow the Cons to come up the middle which will result in Harper actually increasing their Majority!!

    “Bloated” Benefit and Wage Packages DID KILL Automobile Companies. Fact is Morry, Federal, State, and Provincial Governments were forced to “BAIL OUT” Auto Makers by injecting $ Billions to keep them afloat!!!

    Yes, Unions are useful and have assisted greatly in taking the work place out of the Dark Ages to what is in most cases safe, clean, regulated, and overall pleasant places to work. Problem is though Public Sector Agreements at all levels along with others including Auto Workers have “Greedy Unmanageable Benefits that require rolling back!!

    Are you aware that the United Auto Workers are the largest consumer of VIAGRA in North America? Ridiculous, those retired SOB’S should purchase their own Viagra!! Just plain silly!!

    I believe, think, guess, there are about 30K Union Workers in B.C. at this time. How does that number compare to 10, 20, 30, years ago?
    Is the COUNT up much over the last 20 or 30 years??

    Just thought I would ask.

  • 47 morry // Sep 11, 2014 at 10:32 pm

    RE R’s post “The government of China has stepped into the B.C. teachers’ strike…” Since when does a Country butt into the affairs of another country’s affairs, especially a province”

    China : how did you handle the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 ?? Did you heed the protests from other countries?

  • 48 BMCQ // Sep 11, 2014 at 10:36 pm


    About 35% of total workers in B.C. are Union members.


    (Response: I really doubt that. h.o)

  • 49 Ann-Marie Hunter // Sep 11, 2014 at 10:59 pm

    I think that many of you have been brainwashed by the BC Liberals! You seem to be hung up on the idea that Christy Clark is telling the truth when she says she truly cares about public education. Clearly, that is not in the books for her! She and her buddies are on the path to privatize education by breaking the public system, making it so bad that no one would want to send their kids there! But beware, those of you who blatantly speak of how that would be a better scenario! Without public schools, where all children have equal opportunity to succeed, we will be left with a business model for a training ground for our children! Nothing that we have now in schools will be available for your children – UNLESS you are rich enough to pay for it! I hope that you can see through this smokescreen and can stop yourself from being brainwashed into thinking that this government is telling the truth when they speak of how much they care for children! I really hope that you (and all of us) never have to witness the BC Public Education System become like the one in the US – but make no mistake; that is what Christy Clark is planning! Support BC Teachers!

  • 50 John // Sep 12, 2014 at 5:58 am

    Years ago, while taking part in a tour of a var plant, a GM exec was bragging to union leader Bob White about some newly installed automation.

    The exec remarked repeatedly how many workers had been replaced by that machine and this machine, until White finally asked the exec exactly how many GM products those machines had purchased since starting work at GM.

  • 51 Noneck // Sep 12, 2014 at 6:39 am

    And to add a final statement to e.a.f’s post – And BC’s child poverty rate remains one of the lowest in Canada” to read highest

    It is absolutely astounding that a province of this magnitude is so poor. Heck, even Quebec is doing better than us! You would think that all the oil and gas and other resources we have would give us a lead. I mean, seriously, where does that money go?

  • 52 Dave Pasin // Sep 12, 2014 at 8:04 am

    Larry, Larry, Larry

    Let your Dr know you need an adjustment in those meds.

    Those little red and blue pills must not be cutting it anymore. Either that or you and your ultra right wing ilk actually don’t believe or understand reality.

    The fact is that starving public education (ooo boogy words public and education) of funding does little to advance a society. believe it or not there are numerous independent studies that show jurisdictions that have vigorous, well supported school systems have far higher standards of living. That means better wages, higher spending power, more taxes, etc etc.

    Oh by the way Larry, perhaps the reason private school kids do better is because they can cherry pick the best and brightest at the time of application. Nope no pesky autistic, special needs kids need apply. They could skew our test scores.. Can’t have that, we have to have the Right wing think tanks let everyone know our kids do better!

    I mean geez not everyone can toil in a mine or sweep chimneys. That may be a tough concept for the Larry’s of the world to accept.

    I am willing to bet that Larry and his ilk were more than willing to accept the “goodies” of public education when he was a kid.

    Nope, no toiling in the mines for Larry and friends, They got theirs, why should they pay for someone else to do the same.

    Kinda pathetic really and a sad comment on how many believe rhetoric over reality.

  • 53 Hawgwash // Sep 12, 2014 at 8:17 am

    r @ 41…

    Surprise, surprise.

    The grip China has on the politicians (and culture) of this country is scary. Just wait until there are enough “cash only” MLAs to take control in Victoria.

    I had a recent connection to an offshore funded construction site in Richmond. Between the Russian, Mexican and Chinese workers, there was almost zero communication. Working conditions, site safety and quality control were nonexistent. Old, discarded building materials were brought in to be used in unseen places.

    When the foreign owner visited the site for the first time, he went nuts over the workers leaving the site at 3:30 because there were “still 5 or 6 hours of daylight.”

    Out of curiosity, I did some reading on the education system in China. Apparently, teachers in rural areas find it necessary to work farms in order to survive.

    So those among us here, who love to union bash, take heed, because that is where we are headed and it is almost too late to turn around.

  • 54 Lew // Sep 12, 2014 at 10:16 am

    BCMQ, the US auto industry made a profit every year from 1955 up until the 2008 global financial crisis, although they were losing market share to foreign auto makers because of the substantial increase in fuel from 2003 onwards. The US automakers had focused on SUVs and pickup trucks because of their popularity and high profit margins. With fewer fuel-efficient vehicles, they lost sales to their foreign competitors. The credit crunch in 2008 turned it into a crisis.

    This excerpt from the Huffington Post might refresh your memory about what caused the 2008 financial meltdown, and who was bailed out by taxpayers.

    “Everyone saw in 2008 what happens when the “implicit” federal support for Wall Street becomes “explicit”: trillions of dollars in taxpayer and government bailouts ladled out to Wall Street and the entire global financial system, largely unconditionally. Those bailouts and the economic devastation caused by the crash are going to cost the U.S. more than $12.8 trillion. To prevent that from ever happening again, the Dodd Frank financial reform and consumer protection law was passed in 2010, but those very same Wall Street banks, their unlimited resources and innumerable purchased allies have fought endlessly to kill, weaken or gut that law.

    The fight over these resolution plans is only the latest battle in that ongoing war to kill financial reform. No one should be surprised by this: while unregulated reckless gambling by Wall Street caused the worst financial crash since 1929 and the worst economy since the Great Depression of the 1930s, it was hugely profitable to them. Financial reform is all about protecting taxpayers and preventing bailouts. Wall Street wants to protect profits and receive future bailouts. The FDIC and the Fed stood tall against Wall Street power and for Main Street pocketbooks.”

    Now, how can the fault for all of this be laid at the feet of unionized auto workers?

  • 55 BMCQ // Sep 12, 2014 at 11:36 am

    LEW – You are correct. I should have stated that “Bloated” Salaries and Benefits “Contributed” ! My apologies for not mentioning that. I type very quickly and should proof before I submit. I agree with most of what you say. It is well documented that The Economy was in collapse etc. etc. Trust me like many I was still somewhat Invested in those Markets and felt it. Thank God I was concerned and went liquid to a fair degree but I was still hit by the collapse.Fact remains though Legacy costs attached to UAW Autos is somewhere around $ 1700.00 each and Cars produced in other jurisdictions some union with lower more reasonable wages and common sense Benefits are about $ 800.00. That does amount to quite a bit and makes them less competitive. Let’s also remember that the Cost of Living and Housing is not so expensive in those areas. UAW DO NOT require some of what they have in Benefits. Obama missed an opportunity to claw some of those back but he did not want to alienate the Unions. I am currently negotiating on something there myself.

    Do not get me wrong here. My own Company is Union and I am very Happy with the treatment the Company has had over the years. But then the Union is Private Sector and they are not anywhere near as aggressive with their demands, especially the Benefits side. We do a lot of business in the Movie Industry. I had a Teamster from that Industry in my office this morning and he told me that he has no Sick Day entitlement. We have Five and I can live with that. Guess what, my Accountant tells me that it is very unusual for anyone to use those days. The odd time someone requires more and that individual always get what is needed. I would never see any one put into a compromising situation. We are fortunate to be in a position that we can accommodate unusual circumstances.

    I do not doubt that most Tax Payers in B.C. would be in agreement with the Wage package that The BCTF and Government are close to. It is the unreasonable Benefit Demands that give most of us trouble!! Class Size and Comp can be negotiated to a degree and as I have stated earlier most could be very happy with perhaps $ 100 Million put into that. I agree that E -80 should be set aside and let the Courts, probably two deal with that. I hope BCTF Supporters are not upset if The BCTF lose the next round in the Courts and then appeal!!

    Good Analysis of the Economic Situation. Again, sorry I generalized without saying partially.

    Thanks for the challenge and the Head’s Up.

    Quebec is not doing “Better than Us”!! Quebec is a “Have Not Province” and they receive Transfer from B.C. and Alberta each and every year. If Quebec are doing better than us you may wish to show me when the last year was that Quebec DID NOT receive Transfer Payments!!! Fact is Noneck we the Tax Payer of B.C. are actually paying for the Child Health Care they boast about when you read about it on Blogs like this!!! Think about that!!

    My son attended a Private School and there were Special Needs Boys in attendance. There were also plenty of Boys attending that no money to pay. They were on Bursaries. Private Schools are not part of “The Evil Empire” you wish them to be!!

    Once again, thank you all again for the Respect and Kind Words!!

  • 56 BMCQ // Sep 12, 2014 at 11:47 am

    One last thing here.

    When was the last time any one here saw 100 or more Parents Camped out in front of a Public School for three Days desperate to could get their Child registered in the School for the upcoming year?

    Please Text me a Pic of that the nest time you see it!!!

    Ever wonder why Private and Traditional Schools are experience a Dramatic Increase in Students?

  • 57 Lew // Sep 12, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    BCMQ, the answer to the questions you asked in your post #56 might be found (partially at least) in post #22 above from Crankypants.

  • 58 Matt // Sep 12, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    Bob, I am a teacher a object to your calling CUPE members “scabs” for agreeing to a deal that lets them get paid while the BCTF is picketing their workplaces. I absolutely understand why CUPE agreed to that: many Education Assistants and youth workers don’t make much more than $30k/year. I don’t blame their leadership for wanting to prevent them from being financially ruined by a struggle over which they have no control.

  • 59 Larry Bennett // Sep 12, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    Dave, Dave, Dave, -Larry, Larry, Larry, worked a good deal of his life in a non-union industry – autobody, though for the last 25 or so, it was in a unionized industry that did not believe that shift-differential was of great import, or for that matter, a pension!
    From grade 4 to grade 8 he attended a Catholic school, (skipping, with 3 others, grade 7, with the approved testing of the public system). He was taught, mostly by elderly French Canadian virgins and Irish priests, who practised discipline and instilled in our hearts and minds, a love of knowledge and the arts. My parents, thereafter sent me to public school, in part for the fact that it saved them $15/mo., and the experience was one of chaos and disorganization. I never bothered to graduate, until years later, through the government home-study plan, whose name I have forgotten. I can assure you that no one was turned away from the Catholic School unless they could not afford the tuition – there was no deference to good, bad or ugly. Oh, and by the by, just what have you got against miners or chimney sweeps, they certainly would be paid more (these days) than the average labourer.

  • 60 Noneck // Sep 12, 2014 at 7:06 pm

    Oh BMCQ, here we go again…

    The second link has a better picture than the first. Perhaps it doesn’t show the hundreds of parents, but the first story mentions that around 1000 students are turned away from French immersion every year in BC. That would show a real need that is not being addressed in BC education.

    I asked you once and I’ll ask you again – please name one accurate unrealistic benefit that teachers and the BCTF are negotiating for. I could help you out with this, but I’d like to hear what you come up with first.

  • 61 BMCQ // Sep 12, 2014 at 7:51 pm

    Noneck – So now this is a Test is it? I did not think Teachers really believed in Testing. BCTF has always spoken out against Government Tests. Tests that provide Parents an indication of where their Children stand. Tests that indicate if that same Child is learning anything.

    To answer your Question/Test. Just start to find the answer yourself by looking at the so-called Demands the BCTF have already taken off the table. Even your hero Iker has finally been convinced that those Demands were unrealistic and just plain Greedy!! Or did he take those Demands off the table because he thought they were warranted, please explain. Without wasting another minute here I will close by saying that the most ridiculous Demand your Hero Iker is DEMANDING still happens to be on the Table!! The ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS UNREALISTIC $ 5,ooo.00 SIGNING BONUS!!!!!

    Any individual here that does not agree with what I have just pointed out is just simply DISHONEST!!

    Regarding French immersion.

    Now before the “Keeping it Real Cops” jump all over what I am about to state here please understand that this JUST AN OBSERVATION OF MY OWN, AN OPINION!!

    It appears to me that out of my own Sons friends SOME of the quickest learners, some of the best students were the French Immersion Pupils. They just seemed to grasp almost any subject a little earlier than most. And yes, I am Absolutely Positive that someone here will provide information that might just discredit what I have just said. That is fine, it is just an observation.

    By the way Noneck, no comment on my point regarding Quebec doing better than ……….

    I addressed your concerns now it is your turn!!

    Thanks again for the Kind Words!!

  • 62 BMCQ // Sep 12, 2014 at 8:08 pm

    One last thing here, sorry.
    I believe I asked this last week but here we go again.
    When we talk about the High Cost of Text Books. They obviously cost School Boards, Parents, Students and others a lot of Money over the Years. Replacements, changes in Curriculum, other reasons. I am well aware of what we have spent on them in our own family over the years, it is very costly and must be a hardship for many. To me it seems that almost all Students at a certain age have some form of Lap Top/Tablet. Why can they not download Text Books for various Courses? Seems to me it could save perhaps Millions. And in the case of Currriculum changes it would not cause System to be stuck with outdated Test Books that are no longer needed. Yes, I understand that this is simplistic but in the case of Geography where Maps could veryt well require re-drawing in some future time the change could be made at the source and that would be reflected automatically on the Tablet. that would eliminate the need to change the Text.

    I am almost positive that someone here can offer clarity or explanation on that.

    (Responsing: Downloading WHOLE BOOKS for entire classes might even cost MORE (licencing, labour to print thousands of pages, ink, paper, binding) than just buying them. But why are we even talking about this is such a rich province? Again, are we now trying to become some Apalachian-type backwater in terms of our kids and schools? h.o)

  • 63 BMCQ // Sep 12, 2014 at 8:45 pm

    Sorry perhaps I was not clear enough.

    I mean Downloading them onto Laptops, not physical onto Paper etc.

    Really no different than Kindle or whatever it is called. Very similar, just School Text books.

    There would be many advantages a few of those are listed in the earlier post. Also, if we were to Download directly to Laptops there would be an Environmental component because there would be less Paper, Ink, Binding, Transportation of those Books to Destination, etc. etc.

    Yes there may be lic. costs and a small charge to download again like Kindle but when you are say in Canada, or B.C. buying power would be great because of large number downloaded and the cost per book would be mere Pennies on the Dollar.

    In my own business we download sophisticated Software, Programs, Manuals, Instructional Programs on a regular basis and the cost is a fraction of actually transporting the original Book to our Facility here in Canada. We save literally thousands of Dollars each and every year in the Business. Saves time as well.

    Nothing to do with Appalachia, I thought it made sense.

  • 64 Noneck // Sep 12, 2014 at 9:05 pm

    It’s amazing how anyone with a positive view of teachers is labelled a teacher. I don’t remember ever saying I was a teacher. Fascinating. And the last I checked, the ministry has insisted on yearly testing on students and teachers have complied. FSA, Grade 10 exams, Grade 11 Socials, and English 12 are all administered and marked by teachers. Seems like teachers are ok with testing if they mark them.

    Simply put, the $5000 signing bonus is on the table to help keep the teachers’ salaries lower than they would be if the new wage increases were to be calculated in the contract. Since the old contract is now 15 months behind, a salary increase in the first two years would be paid as retroactive – and the new contract (and possible COLA adjustments) would reflect these new pay scales and increase teachers’ salaries even more.
    That’s one reason why the government put the signing bonus on the table in the first place. Also, signing bonus funds are taxable. In fact, I read it somewhere that the $1200 signing bonus was calculated around $800 or so in actual dollars. $400 bucks in the provincial kitty could certainly pay for a few of those new textbooks (or tablets or whatever) that the system is sorely lacking.

    Regardless, negotiations are all about finding what is possible and what is not. $5000 is highly improbable. $2500 over two years might not be unrealistic. Or something else (like “unlimited massages”) is a better tradeoff than money. Vince Ready was on his way in solving this issue, but the roadblock of E80 detoured the parties.

    I brought in the topic of French Immersion to refute your original statement that follows:

    “When was the last time any one here saw 100 or more Parents Camped out in front of a Public School for three Days desperate to could get their Child registered in the School for the upcoming year? Please Text me a Pic of that the nest time you see it!!!”

    Simple research led me to the articles I posted. I took exception to the public/private school preference you inferred. I felt it necessary to show that public school is just as desirable as private school. And I had pictures to prove it.

    Finally, at no point did I imply French Immersion students were better than regular students. I don’t think there is available data to help us there.

  • 65 Crankypants // Sep 13, 2014 at 12:00 am


    Would these laptops/tablets/electronic readers be supplied by the government or would the parents of school aged children have to do so? If it’s the latter then where do the kids who go to school hungry get their device from?

    Let’s say all the kids from grade 1 to 12 have a device. How long do you think it will be before those pillars of society that will break into a car if they some loose change or any of item they think they can sell/pawn figure out that all these youngsters are carrying something they can turn into their next fix? May as well just put a target on every kids back.

    In a perfect world your idea may work but we don’t live in such a place.

  • 66 BMCQ // Sep 13, 2014 at 7:40 am

    My point about the French immersion was just a personal observation. My Son has many friends in French immersion and I have always felt that there was something in that allowed those pupils to grasp and learn quicker than others. Not saying they were always better Students by the time they got to later High School but it did appear to me that they were faster to grasp concepts in the primary Grades. Having said that each and every former French immersion Student I know always had High Grades right through Grade 12.

    Not a Study, just an observation.

  • 67 Larry Bennett // Sep 13, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    BMCQ – It would be even moreso evident if they had done Greek and Latin immersion – which today is just too European, ecclesiastical, and classical for our little darlings whom we wish to make into little rebels. The whole concept of “in loco parentis” is to take control of their minds and souls in order to make sure traditional beliefs are not passed on to the next generation.