Letter to the editor responding to Bill Bennett’s letter

I am deeply disappointed in your lack of caring and involvement with what is currently happening with public education in B.C.

Response to Bennett’s lack of involvement


As an East Kootenay resident, I am deeply disappointed in your lack of caring and involvement with what is currently happening with public education in B.C. In June, I had 10 per cent of my pay docked when the government locked me out. I wonder…has any of your pay been docked for not doing your job?

You stated you had “deliberately not entered into the public debate on the topic of the contract with the BCTF.” Why not? Is that not within your roles and responsibilities — to listen to the constituents in your area and be our voice? You were not elected by the people of the East Kootenay’s to run your own agenda. You have a duty to represent us and bring our concerns and voices to Victoria.

You said the BCTF has ignored the fiscal responsibility of the government. I disagree. That is not their job…it is the job of the government. It is very obvious to me and many others that this Liberal government does not place a very high value on public education. If they did value public education, they would stop appealing their losses in court and put the money back into education that was removed. The way I see it, this money was taken away from our students, not our teachers.

When you say the union needs to bargain in good faith on behalf of teachers, it makes me laugh. The Liberal government lost in court (twice) and was told they did not bargain in good faith with the teachers. Negotiations are about giving and taking. The BCTF has compromised quite a bit and the government has not. I have examined the proposals from both sides and see a lot of movement from BCTF but nothing from BCPSEA. I feel that the government has taken enough from our students and it’s time for them to do some giving.

The only statement I agree with in your letter is “that the vast majority of teachers want to settle on reasonable terms and get back to work.” EXACTLY! But, yet again, the government is stalling. Agreeing to binding arbitration with the removal of the E80 clause to really “let the courts decide” is the only way to get kids back in school quickly.

It is an insult to teachers across B.C. when you imply that we are not on strike for the children. Class size and composition is all about the children. We are their voice and you, as our elected MLA, have a responsibility to also be their voice. Listen to the parents, the students, the taxpayers and the teachers! It’s your job!


Renee MacCormack

Sparwood, B.C.