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Teacher Newsmagazine Volume 17, Number 6, April 2005

Seniors' bingo raided

The B.C. Liberals are intent on upholding the laws for unlicensed seniors’ bingo but not for violations of class-size legislation. The following headlines tell the story of the shutdown of seniors’ bingo games on Galiano Island:

• "Police sting shuts down seniors bingo: Minister defends stakeout of seniors: ‘The law is the law.’" (The Vancouver Sun, February 19, 2005)

• "The great Galiano granny-bingo bust: ILLEGAL GAMING: It took four agents and a night in a luxury B&B to investigate" (The Province, February 20, 2005)

• "Hitting the jackpot with a vengeance: It’s getting easier and easier to place bets in B.C–so why go after small-town bingo?" (Victoria Times Colonist, February 22, 1005)

When Comox DTA President Richard Walker read the stories, he sent off a letter to Attorney General Geoff Plant to inform him of laws being broken in the Comox Valley school district.

"I am writing to advise you that there is a violation of the legislated maximum class-size provisions occurring in School District #71 (Comox Valley). I received information that a Grade 2 class in this district now has 25 students.

"It is clear that the legislation regarding primary class size indicates the maximum allowable number of students is 24.

"I am writing to ensure that you, as the attorney general, are aware of this violation of the law. I am also asking you to respond in order that I will know what steps you will take to rectify this situation."

The attorney general replied: "As this issue falls within the jurisdiction of the education system, I am referring your letter to my colleague, the Honourable Tom Christensen, Minister of Education."

Once again, the losers are B.C.’s seniors and children.

– Kathleen Smith

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