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Teacher Newsmagazine Volume 16, Special Issue, September 2003

Myths and facts

Myth: The letter to rescind authorization of the college fee deduction means teacher certificates will be cancelled.

Fact: The letter is a very small step in the overall BCTF strategy. The letter removes the authority for the board to pay the fees on your behalf. It does not mean you are in arrears with the college.

Locals are gathering the signed letters before submitting them to school boards. We are confident that close to 100% of our members will sign those letters when they see how dangerous this college is. The members, through their locals, will be asked to discuss a variety of options and provide input to the Executive Committee and the Representative Assembly. The Representative Assembly will recommend one or more options. One may be a fee boycott, which goes to the membership for a province-wide member vote. November 30 is the deadline for payment of college fees, and even then there is a timeline of three to six months before any teacher can lose their college membership or teacher certificate.

Our strategy is based upon strength in unity and protection of numbers—together we will act and together we will succeed.

Myth: The BCTF was offered five positions on the interim college council.

Facts:
• In a liaison meeting with BCTF table officers, the minister made a promise to give the Federation a "heads up" on legislation. However, it was a Vancouver Sun reporter who alerted the BCTF to Bill 51 on the very day it was being tabled in the House.

• The BCTF leadership sought a meeting with the education minister immediately after first reading of the Bill and proposed amendments to Bill 51 in a letter to the minister.

• Federation representatives met with ministry staff to ask questions and lobby for the BCTF’s proposed amendments. The minister had conveyed that she would not be available until after the legislature was adjourned and the Bill was passed.

• The ministry staff asked the BCTF if it would be sending any names to the minister for consideration as political appointees to the college. BCTF reps asked the following questions and received the answers in writing from ministry staff.

Q: If the BCTF was to provide the minister a list of college members who are BCTF members, would the minister select public-school teachers as interim college representatives only from our list?

A: Not necessarily. The minister has discretion in determining the membership and composition of the interim council.

Q: How many college/BCTF members is the minister proposing to put on the interim council?

A: I have no answer to this question.

Q: Is it likely that any of the concerns we expressed about the legislation will be dealt with by amendments next week, or are we likely to be dealing with the legislation as currently drafted?

A: I cannot speculate on this question. The issues you brought to us today will be discussed with the minister’s office. Saying that, I cannot imagine that we can fully address all of your questions before we will need to name the members of the interim council so as to provide a transition with minimal disruption. (This response was sent before the Bill had even passed second reading.)

The BCTF launched a constitutional challenge to Bill 51.

– Moira Mackenzie



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