March 30, 2012 - No. 45
Teachers' Federation Crafts Plan of
Resistance to Fraudulent "Education Improvement Act"
Fort Nelson, BC, March 7,
Federation Crafts Plan of Resistance to Fraudulent "Education
Improvement Act" - Charles
• Plan of Action to Resist Bill 22
- BC Teachers' Federation
Growing Opposition to
• Who Decides? The People Decide!
March 31 Rally -- Comox, Vancouver Island
• Our Coast! Our Decision! No Pipeline! No
• Teachers Discuss Their Working Conditions
Teachers' Federation Crafts Plan of
Resistance to Fraudulent "Education Improvement Act"
Abbotsford, February 27,
2012: 108 Mile Ranch, March 6, 2012
From Saturday evening March 17, through Tuesday evening
some 700 delegates representing 75 locals of the British Columbia
Federation (BCTF) discussed and debated at their 96th Annual General
The central topic was how best to organize resistance against the
draconian Bill 22 passed by the Clark
government on Thursday, March 15. Most of the four days of the AGM were
spent in committee closed to all but BCTF members. They
needed time to argue out amongst themselves how to go forward.
On March 21, Susan Lambert, re-elected President
for a third
term, presented the BCTF "plan of action to resist Bill 22." The plan
will be put to a vote of all teacher members on April 17 and 18.
Many teachers are presently on spring break, which occurs
at different times during March and April across the school districts
One aspect of the plan is again to challenge the
legislation in the
courts. The BCTF spent millions of dollars disputing Bills 27 and 28
enacted when Christie Clark was Minister of Education in 2000. Ten
years later the BC Supreme Court ruled parts of Bill 28 in violation of
teachers' right to bargain collectively
such matters as class size, and gave the province until April 2012 to
correct the measure. In Bill 22, the offending provisions from the
previous Bills are re-set word-for-word into the new legislation under
a different section. The extreme arrogance of the government not to
correct their illegality but to restate it in
another form underlines the impunity with which governments generally
impose their dictate despite alleged "constitutional guarantees" in the
Charter of Rights and
Freedoms (Constitution Act 1982).
The BCTF plan of action includes a decision whether
withdraw from all voluntary extra-curricular activities. "The
government has repeatedly demonstrated such profound disrespect for the
work we do that members felt they had to take a stand," Lambert said.
About a dozen school districts have
already voted independently to withdraw participation in
extra-curricular voluntary activities.
The plan also envisages taking a vote later on the
an illegal province-wide strike action. "It is a measure of the depth
of the teachers' outrage at Bill 22 that the action plan includes the
possibility of a future vote on a full withdrawal of services, among
other measures." The matter of an illegal strike
will be discussed and voted on a month or so after the full membership
decides on the overall plan. Lambert emphasized that the vote in April
includes "a possibility of a future province-wide vote of members on
whether it's necessary to respond to government actions with a
full-scale protest against Bill 22."
With respect to doing outreach to the public the press
says, "The action plan also contemplates motivating teachers to make
defense of public education a vote-determining issue in the May 2013
Powell River, March
Lambert is quoted saying, "Across BC teachers will be
their communities, working hard to ensure a strong and stable public
education system as part of the foundation of our democracy and for the
rights of all children to an education that meets their individual
learning needs. We need a government
that supports teachers and parents as we work together to provide the
very best for BC kids, not one that claims to put families first while
attacking all the vital public services people need."
A significant feature of the debate at the AGM was the
teachers to listen, read and argue their views straightforwardly. Two
hundred copies of TML Daily (March 16, 2012 - N0. 37)
which focused on the AGM, 100 copies of the TML Daily Supplement with the Discussion
as well as 200 copies of Workers' Forum were warmly
received by delegates.
allowed to hold discussions with the media as long as they made it
clear they did not necessarily represent the views of the BCTF. A
number of delegates volunteered to be interviewed on Discussion
They spoke their minds about the necessity to make known to the public
the importance of defending public education and teachers' working
conditions, which are the learning conditions of students.
BC teachers are in the forefront of defending the right
and to hold the government to account to guarantee that right in
practice. People should rally around the BCTF Action Plan as a plan not
only to defend teachers' rights but the rights of all and public
Secondary School, Gitlaxdaamiks, November 15, 2011.
Plan of Action to Resist Bill 22
In response to the harsh
and unjust measures contained
in Bill 22,
teachers from across the province have crafted a bold plan of action
with the ultimate goal of having the so-called Education
Improvement Act repealed.
Almost 700 delegates at the BC Teachers' Federation 96th
General Meeting adopted the plan after three days and evenings of
intense debate about the best ways to defend public education from a
decade-long systematic process of attack by the provincial government.
"Christy Clark as education minister started this fight
10 years ago
with her legislation that stripped teachers' collective agreements of
our bargaining rights and of guarantees for quality learning conditions
for students," said BCTF President Susan Lambert. "The BC Supreme Court
found her bills to be illegal
and unconstitutional, yet her government has done nothing to show
respect for the ruling, for public education or for the teachers and
students of BC. In fact they're violating the rights of teachers and
cutting the same services to students with Bill 22."
The BCTF will be mounting a legal challenge to Bill 22,
Lambert, who was re-elected Tuesday for her third term as president of
the 41,000-member federation.
Lambert also criticized Education Minister George
of this round of bargaining and his absence from the country at this
critical time. "He is attempting to abdicate any accountability for the
crisis this government has created in our schools and the broken
relationship with the teachers of this
province," Lambert said. "It's completely irresponsible to think he can
impose this draconian legislation with its sham mediation process,
order a cooling off period, and the next day head to China to recruit
more fee-paying international students to our underfunded public
It is a measure of the depth of teachers' outrage at
Bill 22 that
the action plan includes the possibility of a future vote on a full
withdrawal of services, among other measures. As always in the BCTF,
the members will decide whether this is the correct future course of
action. The plan will be put to a province-wide
vote of teachers on April 17 and 18, 2012.
"In April, all teachers will vote on the plan
recommended by the AGM
delegates. To be clear, the plan also includes a possibility of a
future province-wide vote of members on whether it's necessary to
respond to government actions with a full-scale protest against Bill
22," Lambert emphasized. "At every step
of the way, government has chosen bullying tactics instead of
respectfully working with teachers towards a solution."
Under the plan, teachers will also decide whether to
province-wide withdrawal of all voluntary extra-curricular activities.
"This government has repeatedly demonstrated such profound disrespect
for the work we do that members felt they had to take a stand," Lambert
said. "It's one of the only options
left open under Bill 22." Local teacher associations in about a dozen
school districts have already voted independently to withdraw
participation in extra-curricular voluntary activities.
Under the action plan, teachers will of course continue
will prepare year-end report cards. As always throughout this job
action, marks that are required for graduation, post-secondary
application and scholarships have been, and will continue to be
Teachers are deeply concerned about the negative impact
of Bill 22
on class size and class composition. The legislation removes any
effective limits on class sizes from Grades 4-12 and eliminates caps on
the numbers of students with special needs assigned to any particular
class. Furthermore, it doesn't address
the loss of more than 1,500 learning specialist teachers, whose skills
are desperately needed to support all students' learning.
A particularly galling part of Bill 22 is a
which would see some teachers being paid extra for having classes that
exceed 30 students. The action plan calls for teachers to refuse to
accept additional pay for oversized classes.
Peace River North,
"We reject this idea outright. It's a totally unethical
from this government that would do absolutely nothing to improve
learning conditions for kids. It's despicable that they think teachers
would trade our professional ethos of care for money," Lambert said.
"We've been advocating for decades for
the conditions that kids need. All students deserve to be in a class
where they can get the individual care and attention they need, but
after a decade of cuts BC teachers can't keep on filling the gaps for a
generation of children growing up in the highest child poverty rate in
The action plan also contemplates motivating teachers to
defense of public education a vote-determining issue in the May 2013
"Across BC teachers will be active in their communities,
hard to ensure a strong and stable public education system as part of
the foundation of our democracy and for the rights of all children to
an education that meets their individual learning needs," Lambert said.
"We need a government that supports
teachers and parents as we work together to provide the very best for
BC kids, not one that claims to put families first while attacking all
the vital public services people need."
Growing Opposition to Harper's Pipelines
Who Decides? The People Decide!
new oil pipelines across
BC and increase tanker traffic.
A March 26 Monday afternoon rally and march in downtown
drew a larger than expected crowd of well over a thousand participants.
Opposition is surging to the proposed building of an Enbridge bitumen
pipeline across northern British Columbia, an expansion of the existing
pipeline that carries
crude oil to Vancouver and the explosion of tanker traffic along the
coast that all this would entail. The question of who decides these
important issues is becoming more central within the opposition.
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of BC Indian
at the rally declaring that Prime Minister Stephen Harper has bitten
off more than he can chew if he thinks more oil tankers will be allowed
on BC's coast.
"We all know this government is a few clowns short of a
that this fight will intensify," said Phillip. "I will tell my
grandchildren that you were here today, and we will win this, and we
will make this a better world."
Coastal First Nations president Art Sterritt said First
not prepared to risk their ancestral homelands to deliver profits to
greedy oil companies.
"We've been here for over 10,000 years, and we will
said Sterritt. "Democracy is alive and well in British Columbia. We
will stop this black plague from saturating our province. We cannot
fail ... we will not fail."
Elder Edwin Newman
Heiltsuk First Nation
addresses Vancouver rally, expressing the determination
of First Nations to have a decisive say over development.
full ceremonial regalia, members of many First Nations and others
marched through Vancouver's business section beating drums and shouting
slogans opposing the Enbridge Northern Gateway and Kinder Morgan
pipelines and calling on the people to take control of their own
destiny and that of their children.
During the rally, the participants greatly appreciated
performance from 11-year-old Ta'Kaiya Blaney, who sang her moving song,
Rueben George of the Tsleil-Waututh said First Nations
rely on clean
water as an essential part of their everyday lives. "This is for your
children, this is for my children," said George. "We're doing it for
Kinder Morgan's children, so they can have clean air and clean water."
Enbridge's $5.5-billion Northern Gateway pipeline would
bitumen from Alberta through northern BC to a proposed marine terminal
in Kitimat. From there, tankers would navigate the windy wild waters of
BC's north coast around Haida Gwaii and Vancouver Island. Kinder Morgan
plans to spend $3.8
billion to more than double the capacity of its existing Trans Mountain
crude oil pipeline from Edmonton to Burnaby and greatly increase tanker
traffic in Vancouver's Burrard Inlet and the Salish Sea.
speeches and a performance at the Art Gallery, First Nations led the
crowd in a march to Enbridge Northern Gateway offices at 505
Burrard Street. The protesters vowed unwavering determination to fight
big oil and big government and to have the decisive say in all
development projects that affect
the lives of present and future generations and Mother Earth.
31 Rally -- Comox, Vancouver Island
Our Coast! Our Decision! No Pipeline! No Tankers!
March 31 -- 1:00 pm
Recreation Centre, 1855 Noel Ave.
outside Comox Valley: Contact Marie, 250-335-0850 or visit bit.ly/comoxorbust
For information on
public hearings and rally, see Facebook page.
The National Energy Board Joint Review Panel for the
Northern Gateway Project is holding hearings in Comox at the Comox Rec.
Centre on March 30 and 31. People from every corner of Vancouver Island
and southern BC are expected to converge at this two day event.
The Comox Valley chapters of the Council of Canadians
and the Sierra
Club are calling on all concerned British Columbians to stand up for:
- the environment,
- the rights of First Nations through whose lands the
pipeline will pass,
- those whose livelihoods and way of life will be
irreparably harmed by an oil spill, and
- our democratic right to participate in making the
impact our land and waters as well as our social and economic
Click poster to
As has been the case at
previous sessions in Calgary,
Northern BC the vast majority of the people who will address the Panel
will be expressing their opposition to the Northern Gateway Project, an
Enbridge pipeline from Bruderheim, Alberta to Kitimat to facilitate
tanker shipments to Asia, endangering
the Great Bear Rain Forest and hundreds of rivers and streams as well
as the waters of Douglas Channel and the coast.
The danger is very real. The Polaris Institute reported
in 2008 that
Enbridge's own data revealed 610 spills from Enbridge pipelines from
1999 to 2008. In July 2010 there was a spill in the Kalamazoo River in
Michigan which the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports as
"the largest inland oil spill
in Midwest history," of at least 840,000 gallons of oil. The cleanup of
that spill is not yet completed.
People are asked to bring their own signs and to wear
symbolize the ocean waters that we are bound to protect. Speakers at
the rally include local environmental activists as well as
representative of the United Fishermen and Allied Workers Union and the
Dogwood Initiative which has spearheaded the
No Tankers campaign.
"With both the Harper and Clark governments pushing for
regulation and environmental protection so that mining and other
resource extraction projects can be fast-tracked, and doing it without
our permission," said Mike Bell of the Sierra Club, "it's time to make
our voices heard."
Gwyn Frayne, local spokesperson for the Council of
on everyone to "stand against pipelines and tankers, stand up to Big
Oil and Gas, stand with indigenous communities, and stand up for future
generations, and ensure that the Northern Gateway Project is defeated."
Parking will be limited so car pooling is recommended.
The official hearings will be in the Comox Rec. Centre
Friday, March 30
and Saturday, March 31. The actual start and stop times each day is to
be confirmed the week prior.
Local organizers have not been able to get any more
information from the Joint Review Panel at this time but expect to be
able to provide more details the week before the hearings.
Other organizations and individuals locally as well as
Island communities, including the Wilderness Committee and Dogwood
Initiative are organizing for a large convergence in Comox on March 31.
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