Wednesday, September 10, 2014

UBC Professor of Law Joel Bakan speaks

"I see a lot of sense in the BCTF’s insistence on eliminating E80 from the package for consideration in binding arbitration...

"As is true of any negotiation, the respective bargaining positions of each party is determined by the prevailing legal framework concerning their respective rights. One cannot, for example, effectively negotiate a sale of land if the crucial legal issues concerning that land – such as zoning and permitted uses – are uncertain, or pending a court decision. ...The same is true of any and every negotiation, including those between BCTF and the government – extant legal rights determine respective bargaining positions.

"In my view, the BCTF is acting sensibly and reasonably in wanting to eliminate unresolved, yet crucial, legal issues from bargaining. It is not that the BCTF doesn’t want to bargain those issues – as the Minister seems to suggest; it is that they want to wait until the courts have finally determined the respective rights of the parties on those issues before commencing bargaining.

"That makes eminent sense, as does the proposal to go ahead with binding arbitration on those parts of the dispute that are not currently before the courts. The BCTF’s position would put teachers back in classrooms on terms decided by an arbitrator on matters not before the courts, while leaving negotiation concerning matters that are before the courts to a time when those courts have finally decided upon those matters."

People who read the 2011 and 2014 reasons for judgments written by Justice Susan Griffin will be left wondering why the Liberal government continues the fight. Apparently, the politicians know they have a losing hand so are doing everything to force a settlement that eliminates effects of the legal action. Having had two efforts at legislation tossed out, the chance of success with a third set of laws affecting teachers' rights is minuscule. The only alternative is to hope they can starve out teachers who've already had three years of 0% raises.

If the weight of expert opinion concludes that government is on the wrong course, what motivates them to continue? Government says it cannot afford to pay more for education. Yet, it already pays less per student than other provinces. As Sandy Garossino said, spending involves choices and priorities. Liberals prefer to pay subsidies to foreign owned resource companies and choose to pay billions on money losing arenas and convention centres. They believe that 7-figure salaries paid to executives have a higher priority than payments to serve special needs students. Their choices are not only mean spirited, they are mindless.

American philosopher John Dewey stated,
"Democracy has to be born anew every generation, and education is its midwife."
That may provide a clue to Liberal intentions. The Premier who disdains our parliamentary tradition has no real regard for democracy. She cheated as a youth when running for election to the SFU student council, she made promises when seeking appointment as Premier that were quickly tossed in the trash and she presides over a party charged with offending election laws.

By the way, read the court decisions linked above. They're not difficult to comprehend and you'll be way ahead of the many Liberals' "digital influencers" recruited to distort social media conversations. You'll also be ahead of the Press Gallery gang who largely ignore Justice Griffin's words.

Recommend this post


  1. Keep it up Norm.

    Justice Griffin is not only a seasoned Judge and lawyer before that. Her credentials and the respect from her peers are rock solid.

    Based on her finding of facts and her assessment of the Government, she had to have known this matter could reach the Supreme Court of Canada and therefore would have chosen every word, comment and ruling with great care. What judge would want to be known as the one who was spanked by a university dropout?

    I am bothered by the number of parents who claim to be so concerned about their children’s education, yet fail to educate themselves regarding the facts. I have yet to meet a parent who has read Justice Griffin’s rulings. They really are quite an easy read.

    In my own extended family there are 4 households with special needs children. The difficulties range from minor mobility issues to poor social skills and Asperger’s. Only one set of parents are aware of the real issues here. The other three believe back to work legislation will settle this dispute.

    I think 3 out of 4 uninformed households is probably quite typical and that is what the Government likes.

    Very disconcerting.


  2. You are right Norm, this is not about democracy or even doing the right and correct thing. This whole unsavoury mess is about breaking the unions and driving down wages and conditions.
    The BC Lieberal government is nothing but a "school yard bully" and will continue to waste taxpayers money on legal representation and wasted court challenges.

    With reference to a comment in a previous article: - a truckload of Temporary Foreign Workers could do a much better job at running this province and at a fraction of the cost the BC Lieberals.

    It is a pity that the MLA's cannot be fired for non-performance of their duties.

    The government is setting itself up for a serious union-government conflict. We already have BC Hydro union helping out the BCTF.

    Going to be very unpleasant before it gets any better. Corporations are at the root of all this, mark my words.


  3. And just to add Norm, I noticed when the finance minister was yapping yesterday about what it would cost the BC taxpayer to give the teachers what they deserve, oops I mean what they demand, ALL of the tax raises were on the backs of the citizens of BC, NOT one mention of maybe a corporate tax increase or maybe even a little more on the royalties paid to the province, and of course the Mainstream media was quick to report this although I noticed at least one of the news casts at least gave it a whole 3 or 4 seconds of air time referring to maybe the corporation paying a little more.

  4. The BC Liberal party is a party of carpetbaggers, con-artists, flim-flam shysters and gangsters. It is now the haven of corrupt neoconservatives; religious Tea Party types and the tin-foil hat brigade. It is this cadre of unsavory people that keep the BC Liberals in power. Mind you, the NDP are as incompetent as a country bumpkin and really seem afraid to take on the Neanderthals that run the Liberals.

    So now we have a premier, who tried to fiddle an election for student president at SFU, got caught, was fined, yet did not pay and did not graduate.

    I think the real problem is that the corporate oligarchy that actually runs the province, ensures the most stupid win the election and as this stupid person creates mayhem across the province, the corporate oligarchy and its paid minions ensure that BC is financially raped to increase their profits.

    Our rather stupid premier, under 18th century parliamentary rules, is now become a despot, all legal under our way of running things (we ain't a democracy old chum) so unless the populace rises and storms the parliament buildings in Victoria or other sundry acts of revolution happen, one best bend over and take it up the a**, because the Queen demands the teachers heads.

  5. Why are parents tolerating the fact that Clark’s kid is safe at tony St. Georges and their kids are sitting on their butts at home? I also can’t understand how Don McRae (he who wrote the plaintive letter about his teaching experience) is now a very silent MLA. What about the “religious” zealots like Marvin Hunt in Surrey? He’s an ordained minister for goodness sake and he is strangely silent. Doe he forget that there is more to the line than “suffer the little children" which is exactly what Chrusty is doing right now. Where are the churches and temples and mosques putting out to the public that this insanity has to stop and that BC kids deserve the same as kids in the rest of Canada?

    We have the most incompetent premier in all of Canada coupled with a bozo for Min. of Ed. preventing kids from getting the same education. Then we have Madame Premier hiking her big butt to India thumbing her nose at BC.

    And not to mention the media who have their lips firmly fixed to the Liberal butts, it is funny. I can read exactly the same message from Baldrey as from Smythe as from Palmer. We now have Steven Smart at the CBC (he who is married to another Clark staffer) touting the “government” position this morning about “affordability’.

    This strike has opened my eyes tremendously as to what a Third World Country BC has become. Plain and simple we don’t have a democracy whatsoever. We have a dictatorship (not convinced Clark is in control of it but that others are pulling her strings as she is not bright by a long shot) that controls everything – even journalism.

    I just read that business is worried about profits because of the strike and nobody purchasing anything from them but they still support Clark. Why would I support them them once the strike is over? If they don’t support BC kids, why would I shop in their establishments?

    Why can’t the rest of BC see what is going on? I am in shock.

  6. Read this from a principal in Coquitlam. Now multiply it by the hundreds of public schools in BC. Meanwhile Clark's kid is in tony St. Georges.



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