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Teacher Newsmagazine Volume 16, Number 5, April 2004

President’s message

By the time this issue of Teacher reaches you, it will be almost one year since the B.C. Liberals passed Bill 51 and took control of the College of Teachers. Since then, together we have engaged in a spirited campaign to restore democratic governance of our college and uphold our professional rights. I hope that by the time you read this, we will have been successful in reaching a negotiated solution.

The 700 delegates at our 88th AGM called for talks with the government to resolve the dispute as soon as possible. Besides the undemocratic composition of the council, outstanding issues are the unreasonable duty to report, and the sweeping by-law changes. The AGM also voted to strengthen our position, insisting that two-thirds of the councillors be elected by teachers. If the college attempts to collect next year’s fees this May, we will again encourage members to boycott that fee and pay into the BCTF Democratic College Fund.

At our last meeting with Education Minister Tom Christensen, he said there would be legislation on the college before the end of this sitting of the House, but at press time we had no signal of when that would be or what it would contain.

The other very significant almost unanimous decision of the AGM was to devote up to $5 million to a public awareness campaign in advance of the May 17, 2005, provincial election. The campaign will:

  • promote a statement of commitment to public education.
  • advance clear positions and messages on public education and public services.
  • ensure a high level of membership involvement.
  • co-ordinate efforts with community groups and other unions.
  • promote the principles of the Charter for Public Education.

Together, we will do our best to ensure that when British Columbians go to the polls they will be supporting candidates who are committed to investing in quality public education to meet the needs of every child.

Neil Worboys

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