||Volume 16, Number 6, May/June 2004
Planning for the election
Teachers at the BCTF Annual General Meeting were asked their views on the importance of the next provincial election. The views expressed here are those of individual BCTF members and do not represent the views of the BCTF. If you would like to share your views on the importance of next year’s provincial election, write to Teacher at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Denis Fafard, Sunshine Coast
I think the provincial election on May 17, 2005, is very important for public education because:
• Education is a core element of the social contract that defines Canadian society, a contract that guarantees that as a society, we will assure equity of care and opportunity for all members of society. That fundamental agreement is currently under sustained and destructive attack.
• What we have lost, in terms of funding, bargaining rights, and governance, has had a devastating impact on education.
• What we have lost will take many years to restore. What has taken 20 years to build and negotiate was eliminated in a year.
• If the liberals are re-elected, I believe that even more draconian attacks will further hobble and maim education.
• I worry that those blows will so harm the system that privatization will increase and public education will be dismantled.
• This government is like a virus destroying its host. If we do not act now, and take political action, the system will be so weakened it can never recover.
I plan to participate in the provincial election by joining the NDP, having let my membership lapse. I will work to have our local president nominated by signing up other members, contributing money, and pulling the vote. I will work leading up to the election by contributing time and money to elect our candidate.
I hope my local and the Federation will:
• support my local candidate strategically and financially.
• communicate a credible, articulate, and compelling case for restoring education funding and improving learning conditions for students, particularly related to class size, composition, and support to students who are disadvantaged.
Wendy Turner, Southeast Kootenay
I think the provincial election on May 17, 2005, is very important for public education because it determines the political philosophy and value system that we will have to live with for the next five years. We need a government that will support public education at a time when only 34% of taxpayers have children in the system. We need our issues to have priority beside those of an aging population. The issues of youth are generally being ignored, largely because of age demographics.
I plan to participate in the provincial election by campaigning for the nominated candidate for the NDP in our constituency, acting in my capacity as a paid member to help nominate a creditable, supportive candidate for public education.
I hope my local and the Federation will keep members informed about timelines for paying membership fees in order to be able to help search for and vote for a credible, supportive candidate in their constituencies...encourage them to invite and host candidates in their schools, committee and executive meetings...contribute funds, copy pamphlets and help distribute them within the local for the candidate who promotes public education and develops a true understanding of our issues. Our slogan should be "Fund education until no child is left behind!"
Lynda Woodhead, North Vancouver
I think the provincial election on May 17, 2005, is very important for public education because the students in B.C. have been negatively affected by the chronic underfunding in this province. Our children are our future. The safety net that we have all relied on to be there if and when we need it has shrunk almost into non-existence.
I plan to participate in the provincial election by getting involved in my local and riding. For the past elections, provincial and municipal, our local has questioned candidates and has given the information to the teachers living in North Vancouver. I will be involved with the candidate that will understand our concerns about public education.
I hope my local and the Federation will be involved in the community, to ensure that public education is at the forefront.