Time for province to make a deal

Next year’s provincial election could be won or lost by how the B.C. Liberal party plays its cards in the ongoing dispute with teachers.

Next year’s provincial election could be won or lost by how the B.C. Liberal party plays its cards this week in the ongoing dispute with the province’s teachers.

The teachers have been on a relatively low-key strike since September. There were concerns then about how job action would affect kids in the classroom. Fortunately, judging by the dearth of complaints, it seems most teachers have kept the drawn-out labour negotiations from inconveniencing parents or politicizing students.

But this week’s vote to escalate the strike is a magnitude beyond holding back grades on report cards or piling paperwork on administrators. If teachers vote to walk off the job even for one day, you can bet the public will pay a lot more attention to this issue.

Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that. Even if it does, the province will gain little by sticking to its hard-nosed strategy. Teachers spend a lot of time with our kids and play a vital role in the health of our local communities. Portraying these frontline workers as greedy or easily replaceable will do little to bolster the Liberals’ flagging support. Indeed, legislating teachers back to work instead of working harder to negotiate a deal will effectively arm the NDP with more ammo ahead of the May 14, 2013 vote.

This government, under Gordon Campbell, paid a heavy political price for showing arrogance toward a labour movement that is still a powerful force in this province. Any currency the Liberals had from the public’s disdain of previous NDP regimes has long been used up.

Unless Premier Christy Clark is in a hurry to go back to her radio job, she needs to stay away from the kind of comment she recently made on her former employer’s station. Clark said she didn’t think the province could make a deal with the teachers. That’s simply not true.

The time has come to appoint a mediator and agree to abide with whatever decisions he or she makes.

Teachers, by their considered actions, have so far earned the public’s respect. Now is the province’s chance to do the same.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Environment Canada has issued a wind warning for Greater Victoria, with winds expected to get up to 70 km/h Friday morning. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Wind warning promises blustery Friday for Greater Victoria

Winds up to 70 km/h expected Friday morning

Low interest rates have acted as a catalyst for the pandemic real estate market. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy)
Real estate sales surging across Greater Victoria but risks lie ahead

Single family home prices jump nine per cent over past year while condo values remain stable

Crews deal with a rock slide on the Malahat section of Highway 1 in 2017. (Black Press Media file photo)
Rock work closes Highway 1 in Langford for spurts

Friday closures could delay drivers up to 20 minutes

Crews disassemble the iconic red and white KFC bucket from a sign on Goldstream Avenue. (Photo courtesy of Mark Schoor)
Iconic KFC bucket removed from Goldstream Avenue

Popular fast-food chain closes Langford location

One person is dead after a camper van caught fire Thursday morning in Victoria's Beacon Hill Park. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
UPDATED: One person dead after vehicle fire in Beacon Hill Park

Investigation into Victoria death in early stages

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of March 2

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: How’s your butter?

Recent reports have some Canadians giving a second look to one of… Continue reading

The intersection of Melrose Street and Third Avenue. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Suspect in custody after two pedestrians struck in Port Alberni hit and run

RCMP asking for video footage, credit witnesses for quick arrest

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk to B.C. from powerful New Zealand earthquake: officials

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

Comox Valley RCMP had access to 20 Street blocked off between Cousins and Choquette avenues as they conducted a raid of a house on the block. Photo by Terry Farrell
Comox Valley RCMP raid Courtenay problem house, several arrests made

Comox Valley RCMP conducted a raid of a problem house on 20th… Continue reading

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

A Cowichan Valley mom is wondering why masks haven’t been mandated for elementary schools. (Metro Creative photo)
B.C. mom frustrated by lack of mask mandate for elementary students

“Do we want to wait until we end up like Fraser Health?”

(Pxhere)
B.C. research reveals how pandemic has changed attitudes towards sex, health services

CDC survey shows that 35 per cent of people were worried about being judged

Most Read