Government Should Invest in Education Not Advertising

This morning daily newspapers across B.C. carried a full-page ad headlined “Taking Action For B.C. Students.” The B.C. Teachers’ Federation is critical of the advertisement both for its content and its timing.

“There are more myths than facts in this piece of government spin-doctoring,” said BCTF President Jinny Sims. “Here, we have the B.C. Liberals spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on advertising after they refused to put one penny into a new collective agreement to improve services for students.”

Sims questioned Labour Minister Mike de Jong’s claim that he decided to impose a legislated contract only after reading the report from fact-finder Rick Connolly last Friday.

“For full-page ads to appear only two working days later leads me to suspect that this legislation was a foregone conclusion,” Sims said. She took exception to a number of statements in the ad, including:

“Because education is an essential service.” According to international law, education is not an essential service. The International Labour Organization, a United Nations body composed of government, business, and labour reps, called on the B.C. Liberals to repeal the law and refrain from imposing settlements in the future.

“The Province believes that even one day of class lost to strike action is too long.” The reality is that since the Liberals imposed the last contract and stripped teachers’ collective agreement, thousands of B.C. students have lost more than 1.6 million school days due to cost-cutting. Some school districts close their schools one-day a week, and others have extended holiday periods to save money.

“The needs of students must come first.” That is why teachers are taking a stand. “Education has never been more important to our children and our society and we think government should work with us to seek improvements, not legislate more problems and create more instability,” Sims said.