Close to 300 braved bitter winds to support teachers and denounce Bill 22.
Monday LeBourdais park was filled with concerned mothers, fathers, guardians, children and students rallying together in support of Quesnel educators.
“I fight for this for three reasons,” mother Candace Moore told the crowd.
“Ever since 1997, when I volunteered in a Grade 3/4 split for one of my grad courses, I have dreamed of becoming a teacher.”
Moore said she had full intentions to finish her schooling but after witnessing the “slaughtering of the teaching profession” she is second guessing her career choice.
“Just for the sole fact the Liberals feel they can bully teachers into an unfair and unjust contract,” she added.
Moore went onto say her husband is a teacher in the district and boosted his dedication and passion for his profession.
“Most teachers are like this – so why does the Liberal party think it’s OK to strip them of their basic rights?” she questioned.
Thirdly Moore added is her child’s education.
“She is more than a statistic and her bright and blossoming mind deserves more from our government,” she said, adding she felt Premier Christy Clark had given up on the public education system as her own son attends private school.
“If you think Bill 22 and our public schools are sufficient enough and are so promising, then place your son in a public school.”
Vice president of the Quesnel District Teachers’ Association Rick Cash addressed the crowd and highlighted Bill 22 and it’s “destructive” language.
“It erodes and erases what teachers have worked so hard to gain the last 40 years,” he said, specifically pointing to seniority issues and class size.
“They (class sizes) will get bigger.” No doubt about it.”
Independent MLA for Cariboo North Bob Simpson spoke to Bill 22 at the legislature Monday afternoon, calling on government to immediately increase funding for K-12 education with additional tax revenues and to restructure the collective bargaining process so that binding arbitration becomes the last resort to resolve disputes not legislation.
“I believe government must begin to view education spending as an investment to be maximized not a cost to be controlled,” Simpson said.
“For every dollar we wisely invest in the K-12 system we save hundreds of taxpayers’ dollars in avoided costs in the justice system, the health care system, the social safety net and in government-funded workforce adjustment and training costs.”
Simpson further proposed a “cooling off” period for the BCTF and government while an Industrial Inquiry Commission works with all parties to address, examine and report. (For Simpson’s full response, see www.bobsimpsonmla.ca/bill22).
“This issue is not just limited to the quality of education, but is also extended to our government’s inability to respect a democratic nation,” mother of four Stacey Hanrahan–Denis said.
“I am here as an advocate for my children. I am standing up for their future education and rights as a Canadian. In the name of democracy, let us all unite.”