B.C. Liberals fail to end lockout-strike by their own deadline

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VICTORIA— After presiding over an unprecedented loss of two weeks of schooling for more than half a million students across the province, the B.C. Liberals have failed to meet their own June 30 deadline for ending their feud with B.C. teachers.

“One year ago, Premier Clark dismissed the B.C. Public School Employers Association and directly appointed a negotiator to bargain with teachers. Premier Clark told parents she could do a better job of negotiating with teachers than the school trustees they elected. She hasn’t delivered,” said New Democrat education critic Rob Fleming.

“After losing two cases in the B.C. Supreme Court, one of which exposed a B.C. Liberal strategy to provoke strikes to create public sympathy for undermining the public education system, the B.C. Liberals seem more interested spending tax dollars on misleading advertisements than ensuring B.C.’s public school classrooms are places where all students can excel.”

Both B.C. Supreme Court rulings slammed the B.C. Liberals for violating teachers’ constitutional rights by ripping up their contracts, and both directed the government to go back to the table to negotiate working conditions such as class size and composition.

Fleming noted that instead of improving classroom conditions for all students, Premier Clark wasted the better part of a year demanding a ten-year deal.

“The Liberals have already cost our kids the end of their school year with a strong possibility this will carry into September,” said Fleming. “Instead of inflaming the situation by negotiating through the media it’s time for the Liberals to negotiate in good faith with teachers and end this strike.”