Class of 2017 graduates were cheated

Click here or the pdf file or read the excellent letter below.


Class of 2017 graduates were cheated

February 7, 2017

Dear Editor:

It is a question of priorities. It always is a question about priorities. In January 2002, then-minister of education, Christy Clark, rose in the legislature of B.C. and was “delighted” to rip significant chunks of funding from children and schools.

The claim, proven false in court, was that the collective agreement between the province and teachers was so inflexible that children were being negatively impacted by its rigid terms.

The truth, so vividly played out over the next 15 years in our public schools, was the Liberal government wanted to siphon funding, in excess of $300 million a year, from the education budget. The net result was school boards closed schools, cut programs, and kids were short changed.

Let’s be clear. Evidence, presented in court, proved that this robbery was the government’s plan all along. In addition, evidence showed they also took specific steps to disguise this plan from parents. Testimony and documents proved that the government took action to intentionally provoke teachers, hoping the response would be a strike. Clearly, our kids, public education, is not a priority of the Liberal government.

The acrimony between teachers and the government, one that the Premier now says she would like to improve, was created, by design, by Ms. Clark. That truth, proven in court, is repugnant. A government taking actions that harm its own people, its children, should be held in contempt, and not simply by the highest court in our land. On May 9 we can hold them in contempt and throw them out.

Fifteen years. Children graduating high school this June have been cheated by this government. It stole money from education.

Who will pay the costs of that theft?

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in less time than a recess break at my local elementary school. It was a glaring indictment of the government’s actions and a proclamation that they had stolen from children who lost opportunities, from communities who saw schools close, and from teachers who have tried valiantly to provide the best possible education in a system without enough.

Our premier, the parade of education ministers since 2002, and our MLAs have recited hollow slogans about “More Funding than Ever,” “Families First,” and “Investing in BC.” They cut funding, forcing school boards to consider closing schools, then drop in at the eleventh hour with some Band-Aid funding. They follow this up with a photo-op and tell us they are amazing.

It is about priorities. On May 9, let Ms. Clark and her government know that she does not understand your priorities.

Kevin Epp


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