Reality Check: Christy Clark’s real record on education

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While defending herself in the media after New Democrats pressed for answers this week about the BC Liberal government using children as pawns for their political advantage, Premier Christy Clark said she wants British Columbians to judge her based on her record on education. Here’s what the premier said to media Thursday:

“I would ask that people judge us, judge me, based on our record, based on what we actually did,”– Christy Clark, Vancouver Sun, Feb. 13, 2014

So what did Christy Clark actually do?

  • January 2002: When she was education minister, Christy Clark led the B.C. Liberal government’s attack on school children with Bill 28, which removed the right of teachers to bargain for smaller classes with more student supports. The courts ruled that Clark and her government broke the law and the legislation was declared unconstitutional in 2011, a ruling which Christy Clark did not appeal.
  • May to November 2011: Ordered by the courts to go back and consult with teachers about class size and composition, Christy Clark’s Liberals instead hatched a scheme to create confrontation and provoke strike action by teachers in a cynical attempt to gain social license to re-introduce the same illegal legislation that the courts struck down.

“…the government was not planning to restore the BCTF’s members’ ability to collectively bargain the working conditions nor would it restore any working conditions language to the collective agreement. A party cannot say it is consulting if it starts from the position that its mind is made up no matter what the other side presents by way of evidence or concerns.” –Justice Susan Griffin, 2014 BCSC 121, [191-192]

  • March 2012: Christy Clark’s B.C. Liberal government passes Bill 22, a bill that is “virtually identical” to the previous law that was struck down as unconstitutional.
  • January 2014: The B.C. Supreme Court judgement concludes “that the government did not negotiate in good faith with the union after the Bill 28 decision. One of the problems was that the government representatives were pre-occupied by another strategy. Their strategy was to put such pressure on the union that it would provoke a strike…” – Justice Susan Griffin, 2014 BCSC 121, Summary
  • February 2014: Christy Clark’s B.C. Liberal government files an appeal of the Supreme Court ruling. Christy Clark claims that the judge got it wrong while at the same time refusing to release the documents the judge relied on to make her decision. Documents filed with the court of appeal confirm the premier is taking further steps to keep those documents hidden.

fleming_rQuote from New Democrat education critic Rob Fleming:

“The premier asks British Columbians to look at the facts while denying the public access to them. She asks British Columbians to believe her story that she didn’t provoke a teachers strike, when the courts found she did exactly that and her own chief negotiator said under oath it was her government’s deliberate strategy. Planning to disrupt people’s lives, including 565,000 children and their parents, for crass political advantage is no way to govern our province.”