AN APPLE FOR THE TEACHERS
With the teachers’work action dogging the BC Liberal government, does anybody remember Christy Clark’s vitriolic remarks about the teacher’s union when she was Minister of Education (2001-2005)? How her thinly veiled, and not so thinly veiled, remarks about how the out of control greediness of school teachers were harming our children and how parents were demanding immediate reforms to the school system?
Well, under Gordon Campbell and Christy Clark our school system certainly got reformed. Or deformed. But was it true even back then parents were demanding school closures? That parents were yearning for more students per teacher? Was it true that parents felt librarians’ were unnecessary? And that parents thought it didn’t matter how many children with learning disabilities were in classrooms without adequate teaching assistants? Was it true that parents were against school lunch programs in certain schools, and full funding for kids’ school supplies? Was it true that parents thought music and art programs for their children were absolutely frivolous even when studies of how these activities help children learn proved otherwise (Premier Clark has no university degrees in anything, much less in education.)
But we know now, as then, that parents were really longing for smaller class sizes, more teacher assistants to help increasing numbers of children with learning disabilities , school librarians, music and arts programs, and school funded school lunches where they are needed, good physical education programs, and adequate school supplies among other things. And contrary to Premier Clark’s spin, most parents want to feel that their taxes pay their teachers on par with other Canadian teachers. But Christy Clark’s government is pleading poverty.
However, if the province was and is so poor that it couldn’t, and can’t, provide adequate schooling for its children, where did all those billons, $4.33 billion of them, (Vancouver Sun) for the Olympics come from? And how is it that Christy Clark’s government can happily cough up $365 million for BC Place Stadium for adult games and entertainments while children’s education is cut to the bone and their teachers treated with contempt by the same government?
And while two million dollars doesn’t sound like much in the face of other spending priorities of the Gordon Campbell-Christy Clark government, this sum bought guilty pleas from Basi and Virk in the BC Rail scandal. Our (of course it was ours) two million went to these two confessed crooks just as blithely as the other millions and billions under BC Liberal priorities flew and fly to contractors and money changers, which drain funds from education and health care.
In the BC Rail trial, defense lawyer Michael Bolton said Christy Clark had participated in the scandal by providing government information to lobbyist Erik Bormann while she was acting as deputy minister of BC. These accusations were not proven in court because Basi and Virk were bought off before they could testify. But as these accusations are out there, in the public domain, wouldn’t Premier Clark, if she is innocent of any illegal wrong doing, want to clear up this shadow on her name?
Wouldn’t that be a wonderful lesson in democracy for school kids if Premier Clark said that she wanted to prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that she was, and is, not guilty of criminal activity, and called for an independent investigation into the BC Rail sale? Wouldn’t that be a wonderful lesson, all over Canada, of how premiers should act when accused of criminal activity? Instead of bad mouthing school teachers, Premier Clark, how about acting as a teacher yourself, which is what leaders are supposed to be? And as you have no fall election to worry about, you have lots of time to do this. Show this province what a real leader and teacher looks like.