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Teacher Newsmagazine Volume 17, Number 5, March 2005

Candidates’ statements

For President

Jinny Sims

We have a proud history of taking collective actions to advocate for our bargaining rights, our professional rights, and for public education. We will defend and assert our professional autonomy, advocate for authentic assessment measures, and resist any attempt to deprofessionalize teaching. Our bargaining rights are intrinsically linked to our teaching conditions and students’ learning conditions. We will continue to fight for our right to bargain all of our working conditions, including a fair salary and benefits package.

Together, we made education a central issue in the political arena. We are committed to resist the agenda to underfund, destabilize and privatize public education.

We will work with our allies to address social issues that affect children in our classrooms, and help rebuild healthy communities. We have to prepare for strong collective actions. Society cannot afford four more years of this agenda.

I will draw on my experience and strong background to advocate for our members and students. I will continue strong leadership, based on membership involvement and co-ordinated strategic action. I look forward to next year as we continue to build allies, work with labour, with parents, students, and others who care about a strong and stable public education system and a just society.

EXPERIENCE: Provincial: BCTF President (1 yr.), BCTF 1st Vice-president (2), BCTF 2nd Vice-Ppresident (2), BCTF Executive member-at-large (1), CTF alternate (2), CTF delegate (3), CTF director (3), BCFed Education Committee (2), Ministry for Children & Families (3), Coalition for Public Education (3), Social Justice (3), PSA/PSAC (4), Health & Safety (3), Income Security (3), Finance Cttee., Pensions, Summer conference workshop presenter/facilitator, Advisory council of local presidents, pension plan training, Bargaining training; AGM delegate (12), LR (5). Local: Nanaimo President (3), 1st VP (2);, Bargaining ctte. & neg. team (7), Grievance ctte. (6); S/W member & chair (3), ProD ctte. (2), Program Against Racism (2), Malaspina College partnership ctte. (2), EAC advisory board (5), Co-ordinator for multicultural curriculum (3), Facilitator for conflict resolution. Teaching: 25 yrs., English, social studies, counsellor. Education: B.Ed, UVic & Manchester, UK.


For First Vice-President

Irene Lanzinger

It is difficult to remember a time when the leaders of the BCTF did not begin every speech and statement with a long list of challenges and obstacles in our path.

The stripping of our collective agreement, the increase in workload of our members, the restriction of bargaining rights and the repeated attacks on teachers’ professional rights and autonomy have had a profound negative impact on the climate in schools, the morale of teachers and the strength and stability of public education.

Where do we find hope to overcome the obstacles and strength to fight for our students and our colleagues?

We find it in the members of the BCTF. I have the privilege of travelling the province and speaking with members. I hear their courage, their commitment to children, and their belief in public education as a pillar of a democratic society. I hear their unity and their resolve to fight for our rights.

The BCTF has a proud history of leadership in social justice, in professional rights and in bargaining and political action.

I would be honoured to be a part of the leadership that will win back our rights and protect public education.

EXPERIENCE: Provincial: BCTF 1st Vice-president (1 yr.), BCTF 2nd Vice-president (2 yrs.), Co-chief Negotiator Bargaining Team (2000–02), Advisory council of local presidents (3 yrs.), AGM delegate (8 yrs.), Summer conference (6 yrs.), Job action planning committee, LR (1 yr.), (alternate) (5 yrs.). Local: President (3 yrs.), Vice-president (2 yrs.), Member-at-large (2 yrs.), Staff rep (2 yrs.), Bargaining Committee (2 yrs.), Status of Women Committee (2 yrs.). Teaching: Secondary (9 yrs.), Elementary (4 yrs.). Education: B.Sc. (UBC), Teacher Training (UBC), M.Sc (SFU)


For Second Vice-President

Susan Lambert

Over the last year, as 2nd vice-president I was privileged to visit locals across the province. My most poignant moments were when colleagues shared their stories. In Kamloops I spoke to a young French Immersion teacher who had 18 children with IEPs. In Port Alberni a Math teacher shared his frustration with the new Grade 10 exams. Teachers talked about their struggles meeting the needs of every student in ever-increasing classes. They talked of the workload of gathering data related to school and district accountability goals. A Burnaby colleague confided she wept on her way home from a school visit where teachers, completing the BCTF WLC survey, unanimously agreed they could no longer recommend the profession to young people.

As a union our challenge is clear. We must regain for our members our autonomy, our ability to tailor instructional strategies for all the children we teach; we must once again have the ability to bargain teaching and learning conditions. We must assert the value of teaching.

The next few months will be critical for our union and our profession. I commit to working to build the unity and resolve we will need to face and overcome these challenges.

EXPERIENCE: Provincial: BCTF 2nd Vice-president (1 yr.), BCTF Executive member-at-large (1 yr.); AGM delegate (21 yrs.), Task Force on the Code of Ethics, Trainer/ facilitator in Namibia (8 sessions) and South Africa (1 session), Staff Rep Trainer (5 yrs.), WOW facilitator, Summer Conference Participant and workshop presenter, BCTF OSD/PD Administrative Staff (4 yrs.), Federation Appeals Board (2 yrs.). Local: (Prince Rupert): Staff Rep (4 yrs.), S/W Committee (1 yr.), Program Against Racism Chair (2 yrs.), Bargaining Committee (1 yr.); Communications Officer (2 yrs.), Labour Liaison Officer (3 yrs.). (Burnaby): Vice President (2 yrs.), LR (4 yrs), Leave of Absence Committee (2 yrs.), Grade 7 Girls’ Conference (1 yr.), BTA Scholarship Committee (2 yr.), Job Action Committee (1 yr.). Teaching: 23 years–intermediate, teacher-librarian, learning assistance, gifted education, special needs resource. Education: Honors English BA (SFU), PDP (SFU), Teacher-Librarian Diploma (UBC).


For Member-at-Large

Milan Boljuncic

Today’s teachers continue to take pride in educating children. Teachers have continually faced attacks by provincial governments and have shown amazing resolve. Unfortunately, we still have much to do.  

I believe that for the BCTF to remain relevant to all of its teachers we must continue to find ways for each and every teacher to have a voice. The Federation must become more credible to our non-activist members as much as it is for teacher activists. Our Federation must examine the ways in which we provide service to our members as well as actively engage beginning and experienced teachers in advocating for public education.

We must continue to advocate for a fully funded public education system. Cutbacks and underfunding have seriously impacted our classrooms. Our larger class sizes and class composition issues are the leading issues for teachers. We need to continue to build and strengthen our ties with parents, labour, our communities, and most importantly, our own teachers. We need a variety of voices to support our students and our teachers.

As a candidate for Member-at-Large I look forward to bringing new perspectives to our leadership that strengthen and unite the multiple interests of our membership.

EXPERIENCE: North Vancouver Teachers’ Association Executive: Local Representative (2 yrs.), Member-at-Large (2 yrs.), Alternate Local Representative (2 yrs.); Delegate to the BCTF AGM (6 yrs.); School Staff Representative (4 yrs.); School Staff Chair (3 yrs.); School Planning Council Representative (2 yrs.); Vancouver and District Labour Council Representative (1 yr.); District Committees: Local Bargaining, Counselling Review, Graduation Review, Timetable Review, Professional Development, Multiculturalism and Anti-Racism; School Health and Safety Representative. Teaching: 8 years Secondary Social Studies, Physical Education, Career and Personal Planning Education: M.Sc. (U of O), B.Ed. (UBC), B.A. (SFU), Diploma of Liberal Arts (Zagreb, Croatia)

Rick Ferguson

Teachers and their union are under attack by the Liberal government as well as by privatization initiatives from neo-conservative forces. Teachers as defenders of public education fight these forces individually and collectively. BCTF PSAs and committees encourage teachers to be the best teachers possible. Professional teachers attend to the needs of all students. Private schools care for only some students.

Our professionalism is our greatest strength. At zone meetings and summer conferences (as Social Justice Representative or as Professional Development Representative) I have seen the care and concern of teachers transformed into actions that make a difference in classrooms and communities each and every day. The quiet work of teachers involved in PSAs often goes unnoticed yet their efforts make a daily contribution to the quality of our schools. As your Member-At-Large I will strengthen these structures.

As BCTF Working and Learning Conditions/Bargaining Advisory Committee chairperson I have proudly worked with eight teachers from across the province to restore the Teaching and Learning Conditions Declaration, a blueprint for what schools can be. Further we have provided the Executive and the Bargaining Team with sound advice to help shape the bargaining goals and strategy.

Thank you for your support.

EXPERIENCE: 20 years service on the Nicola Valley Teachers’ Union Executive including bargaining team member, WLC Chair, Bargaining Chair, Pro-D Chair, Vice-President, President and currently Local Representative. Chairperson for BCTF Working and Learning Conditions/Bargaining Advisory Committee. Attended 20 AGMs as either a delegate or LR. Attended numerous Summer Conferences and Zone Meetings as Social Justice Representative, Professional Development Representative or Bargaining Representative.

Al Klassen

An effective and successful "Union of Professionals" representing teachers across the province requires strong and united voices that provide a balanced perspective at its Executive table. As a four-term President in a mid-sized local, I am running for BCTF Member-at-Large. I offer my experience as a president, classroom teacher, and union tradesperson to bring forward a practical, knowledgeable and reflective approach that supports and represents the typical teacher.

Once again we are facing a critical juncture for teachers in public education. BCTF members have had success in demonstrating their resolve, and must now use a strategic approach with that resolve to make their issues concerning public education known and supported by more than just teacher activists. In order for the expertise of teachers to be acknowledged, valued and acted upon by people who control and shape public education in this province, our Federation must rebuild a successful working relationship with our public education stakeholders.

The BCTF Executive must have a balance of perspectives, styles and ideas in order to meet the challenges facing us in the years ahead. I believe I can, and will, bring those qualities to the BCTF Executive and I ask for your support as BCTF Member-at-Large.

EXPERIENCE: Provincial: ACLP (3 yrs.), Local Representative (4 yrs). BCTF AGM delegate (6 yrs.) Local: President (4 yrs.), Vice-President (2 yrs.), Local Bargaining Chair (2 yrs.), Health & Safety Representative (2 yrs.), Member-at-Large (2 yrs.), Staff Representative (2 yrs.). Teaching: Secondary Technology Education (11 years) Education: B. Ed UBC, trades–BCIT (PVI). Other: 17 years Journeyman Ironworker/ Welder, General Foreman

Elizabeth MacKenzie

When I returned to my teaching assignment after four years I was prepared for some changes, but nothing could have prepared me to what has become the reality in many schools. Lack of support services for students, lack of basic supplies and textbooks, and colleagues who still loved their profession but were profoundly tired.

I have always believed that one of the benefits of belonging to a union is that together we work to support our members, provide salary and benefit rights and fight for working conditions that are effective to the positions we hold. The BCTF needs to continue to support teachers’ rights. But we also need to develop effective methods in dealing with our concerns.

Teachers’ bargaining rights have been torn up, professional relationships have been soured and many members do not see the BCTF as their professional voice. In the coming year we need to work together to provide services that build strong support systems for teachers, create Social Justice initiatives that reflect the needs of the classroom and work with members to deliver a fiscally responsible and credible union.

I believe our union must stand behind its principles and be the professional face for teachers.

EXPERIENCE: Provincial: BCTF Staff, Teacher Rehabilitation Co-ordinator (4 yrs.), LR (8 yrs.), Agenda Committee (4 yrs.), AGM Delegate (12 yrs.), chair of the CTF AGM Task Force, BCTF Income Security Committee (3 yrs.), BCTF Pension Committee (1 yr.), Summer Conference delegate (10 yrs.); Women in Negotiations delegate. Local: President, Chilliwack Teachers’ Association (2 yrs.), Vice President (4 yrs.), Bargaining Committee (9 yrs.), Grievance Committee (8 yrs.), Native Education Advisory Committee (2 yrs.), Wellness Committee (3 yrs.), Student Services Committee (4 yrs.). Teaching: 17 yrs. Elementary: Alert Bay 4 yrs., TOC Victoria/ Sooke 1 yr. Surrey 1 yr., Chilliwack 11 yrs.

Jill McCaffery

Everyday we experience the consequences of the Liberal’s education policies. Public school teachers struggle with increased workloads, ballooning class sizes, and reductions in support services. Calendar changes and questionable accountability practices restrict teachers’ professional autonomy and inhibit our ability to meet the needs of students.

Yet, in the face of such adversity, teachers have made significant progress. Externally, the BCTF’s strategic plan counters regressive government policies by working together through locals, networks and coalitions. Internally, our Federation continues to support teachers through enhancements in professional development, research and social justice. As a result, teachers in B.C. are the most credible voice on educational issues. Our informed advocacy for public education is welcomed and indeed is expected.

The Provincial election offers the opportunity to support bargaining through political action. Our primary objectives: economic improvements, regaining bargaining rights and restoration of stripped provisions are supported by our primary responsibility: advocating for students’ learning. My experiences in our community coalition and on the BCTF executive teach me that to achieve our objectives we must remain steadfast and unified. Our resolve will be tested, but our voice will not be silenced.

I offer my passion, energy and continued commitment to and a strong voice for all BCTF members.

EXPERIENCE: Provincial: BCTF Executive member-at-large (2 yrs.), THESA Curriculum Chair (2 yrs.). Local: President (3 yrs.), Vice President (2 yrs.), Bargaining Committee (6 yrs.), Staff Rep (3 yrs.), AGM (7 yrs.), Social Justice (1 yr.), Health and Safety (3 yrs.), Summer Conference (6 yrs.). Teaching: UBC Summer Session Instructor (1 yr.), Middle and Secondary Home Economics and Humanities both local and international (26 yrs.). Education: MA, UBC, Curriculum and Instruction, Home Economics; Concentration Home Economics, UBC; PDP, SFU; BA Honours, SFU.

George Popp

What is it about public school teachers that so infuriates this government and its supporters? Simply...we take pride in the work we do. We are committed to the students we teach. We are determined defenders of public education, social justice, our students welfare and our own. We refuse to apologize for wanting the best possible learning conditions for our students and the best possible working conditions for ourselves.

A strong, democratic teachers’ Federation with strong locals is our best tool to achieve our goals. United, we can command respect as a profession, provide programs to improve our professional practice, and improve our professional and personal welfare.

However these goals will be very hard won. All teachers will need to commit to the defense of our profession and public education. Our leaders must be committed to democratic principles, connected with the realities of teachers’ daily lives and determined to defend and promote the welfare and work of our members. As a classroom teacher with a record of dedicated service both locally and provincially, I believe that I can continue to contribute such leadership and look forward to serving the teachers of British Columbia.

EXPERIENCE: Provincial: BCTF Executive Member at Large (2 yrs.), AGM delegate (12 yrs.), Summer Conference participant (7 yrs.), Professional Development Associate (2 yrs.) (Secondary School Project), LR (10 yrs.), Agenda Committee (1 yr.), BCSPAC participant (5 yrs.) Local: President (2 yrs.), Vice- President (5 yrs.), Grievance Committee (15 yrs.), Bargaining Team (5 yrs.), Disputes Chair (2 yrs.), Liaison Committee Chair (4 yrs.), Staff Rep (7 yrs.), Education Change Committee (4 yrs.), Technology Committee (2 yrs.), BCSPAC co-ordinator (8 yrs.), Teaching: Teacher (Secondary Science and Math) (28 years), Department Head (Science, Math) (18 yrs.). Education: B.Sc. (Hon) UBC, Teacher Training UBC.

Fran Robinson

"Even though the B.C. government has ripped hundreds of millions of dollars out of public education, the education ministry is anxious to provide evidence that all is well. Why worry about closing schools and cutting teaching positions and learning supports. Apparently the students are doing just fine; the tests say so." – www.cbc.ca/insite/commentary/2005/1/14.html

This government’s mandate has been to commercialize and privatize education through inadequate funding, a narrow definition of accountability (testing), and quality control (supervision), with no collaboration or input from the professionals who work with students. It is a critical time for teachers to exert their right to maintain professional autonomy in the classroom and the legal right to negotiate working conditions at the bargaining table.

It is imperative that teacher’s elect a strong executive that will listen to and advocate for their needs. We need to focus on and work toward actions and policies that support the central role teachers’ play in implementing a strong system of public education. I am a classroom teacher who has experienced the erosion of public education first hand. I am an activist who has been president and bargaining chair in my local. I currently sit on the BCTF executive as a member-at-large and seek your support to continue in this position.

EXPERIENCE: Provincial: BCTF Executive Committee member-at-large (1 yr.), CLC Winter School (bargaining training), Teacher Pension Plan Advisory Committee (5 yrs.) chair (1 yr.), BCTF Pension Committee (5 yrs.) chair (1 yr.), AGM delegate (7 yrs.), Local rep (2 yrs.) Local: CDTA Executive (12 yrs.), CDTA president (2 yrs.), CDTA past president (1 yr.), CDTA Bargaining chair (2 yrs.), team (5 yrs.), Staff rep (3 yrs.), Committee work–liaison, bargaining, EFAP, year-round school, new facilities, and grievance committees. Counsellors PSA and LSA. Education: Hon. BA in Physical and Health Education (University of Western Ontario), Diploma in Education from UWO, MA in Education with major in counselling and educational leadership (San Diego State University). Teaching: 26 years teaching at elementary, secondary and currently middle school level.

Lynda Toews

When new BCTF members-at-large take office in July, the results of the provincial election will be known. At that point our precise task will be much clearer, but some things have been clear for a while now.

Teachers want to be able to stand up and be proud of their profession. They want to have the tools they need, and they want to have some recognition. Teachers want to have a say with respect to working and learning conditions, and they want a salary increase. They want to be able to bargain for all conditions of work.

It will be the work of the Executive Committee to ensure that the members of the Federation continue to be united and strong. Teachers need to be heard, whether they are new teachers, or teachers nearing retirement, or teachers on call, whether they are from large locals or small locals, urban or rural.

I am proud of the work that teachers do, and I am proud of the work that the Federation does, in support of teachers.

I would be proud to have your support, in taking on this task. Together, we will succeed and together, we will stand proud.

EXPERIENCE: Provincial: Joint Ministry Task Force on ABE (3 yrs.), Adult educators’ PSA (9 yrs.), AEPSA President/PSA Council (5 yrs.), Adult Ed. Task Force, Working and Learning Conditions/Bargaining Advisory Committee (2 yrs.), Adult Educator’s Inclusion Arbitration, LR (4 yrs.), AGM delegate (15 yrs.). Local: Second Vice President (3 yrs.), Executive Committee (12 yrs.), Bargaining Chair (2 yrs.), Bargaining Mobilization Co-ordinator, Member of Bargaining Committee (13 yrs. and 2 rounds), Chair of Resolutions Committee and AGM delegation (3 yrs.), S/W Committee, Political Action/Public Relations Committee, Multiculturalism/ Anti-Racism Committee, Grievance Committee, Adult Educators’ Steering Committee, Staff Rep. Teaching: Adult ESL, Adult Literacy, Adult Basic Education, Teacher-Librarian. Other: President, Serendipity Parent Participation Preschool, Secretary-Treasurer, Carleton University Graduate Students’ Association, Member, More Than Just Pay. Education: B.A.(Honours), English, M.A. English, TESL Certificate.

Val Windsor

The teaching profession and the BCTF now face the greatest challenges in our history. We continue to suffer devastating setbacks from this Liberal government. Contracts have been stripped; bargaining "Wrights" eroded; and professionalism reversed in an unrelenting onslaught. As a profession and as a union, this government has singled us out.

It is essential that we make public education a top priority by following through on the Public Education Advocacy Plan. We must rebuild the confidence of our members in the BCTF by attending to their professional needs and by effectively representing them in bargaining a new collective agreement. Our response to government must be strategic and thoughtful, with an eye toward the long term as well as the short term.

In the last year, I approached the Executive table with an independent, critical eye, with the interests of our classroom teacher members at the forefront. As an activist, I know that I serve as well as lead, and in leading, I am a voice for classroom teachers, and a voice for a strong and united Federation.

I would be proud to continue representing you as a Member at Large of the BCTF Executive Committee.

EXPERIENCE: Provincial: BCTF Executive Member-at-Large (1 yr.), Local Rep (9 yrs.), BCTF AGM delegate (13 yrs.), Judicial Council (3 yrs.), Staff Rep Trainer (2 yrs.), CTF AGM delegate (4 yrs.), Organizing Committee CTF AGM Vancouver (1 yr.), G.A. Fergusson Award Trustee (5 yrs.). Local: President (3 yrs.), 1st Vice-President (3 yrs.), 2nd Vice-President (3 yrs.), Secretary (3 yrs.), LR (8 yrs.), Bargaining Chair (3 yrs.) and member (6 yrs.), other committee membership: Health and Safety, Working and Learning. Teaching: 35 years in the profession, Grades 3–7. Education: BA, PBD, PDP SFU



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