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Teacher Newsmagazine Volume 19, Number 5, March 2007

Candidate statements for Executive Committee positions


Irene Lanzinger
Over the last few years, we have been clear about our goals. We have displayed amazing solidarity and made significant progress. However, there is still a great deal to be done. We must continue to improve learning conditions for students through decreased class size, improvements in composition and increased support from specialist teachers.

We must forcefully resist the government’s obsession with increased testing and false accountability measures. We must insist on meaningful, teacher directed professional development and strong teacher input on all education policy issues.

Teachers want a better world. We work on that in our classrooms but we must also vigorously pursue that goal through our social justice work.

The BCTF plays a primary role in promoting the economic welfare of teachers through our work on salary, benefits, pensions, the salary indemnity plan and the rehabilitation program.

It has been my privilege to represent the teachers of British Columbia as a vice-president of the BCTF. What an amazing group of people! I am always impressed by their courage, professionalism, solidarity and commitment to students and public education. I would be honored to serve teachers as President.

EXPERIENCE: Provincial: BCTF 1st Vice-president (3 yrs.), BCTF 2nd Vice-president (3), Co-chief Negotiator Bargaining Team (2000—02), Advisory council of local presidents (3), AGM delegate (13), Summer conference (13), Job action planning committee, LR (1), (alternate) (5). Local: President (3), Vice-president (2), Member-at-large (2), Staff rep (2), Bargaining Committee (2), Status of Women Committee (2). Teaching: Secondary (9 yrs.), Elementary (4 yrs.). Education: B.Sc. (UBC), Teacher Training (UBC), M.Sc (SFU)


Susan Lambert
The main focus of the BCTF in the next four years must be the classroom. Teachers need smaller classes and caseloads, more resources and more support for all the children we teach. The underfunding of public education must end. We live in a wealthy province in a nation that enjoys unparalleled prosperity. Students in BC deserve a world class public education system and parents expect no less. 

The government’s "Accountability" policy is harming children. Our role in administering this bankrupt and corrosive policy has become untenable. We can no longer be complicit in foisting this harm on the system and on children. 

I believe in our strong collective voice and our right and obligation to speak up and take action when necessary. I believe that we must continue to build pathways into the union and invite the participation of all members. I believe that our union must be directed by its members and that leadership must be built on listening. I believe strongly in our definition of ourselves as a social justice union, a union of professionals. I have worked for three years as 2nd Vice-President as part of a strong leadership team. I am running for first Vice-president dedicated to building on the strengths of that team.

EXPERIENCE: Provincial: BCTF 2nd Vice-president (3 yrs.), BCTF Executive member-at-large (1 yr.); AGM delegate (22), Task Force on the Code of Ethics, Trainer/ facilitator in Namibia (8 sessions) and South Africa (1 session), Staff Rep Trainer (5), WOW facilitator, Summer Conference participant and workshop presenter, BCTF OSD/PD Administrative Staff (4), Federation Appeals Board (2). Local: (Prince Rupert): Staff Rep (4), S/W Committee (1), Program Against Racism Chair (2), Bargaining Committee (1); Communications Officer (2), Labour Liaison Officer (3). (Burnaby): Vice President (2), LR (4), Leave of Absence Committee (2), Grade 7 Girls’ Conference (1), BTA Scholarship Committee (2), Job Action Committee (1). Teaching: 23 years--intermediate, teacher-librarian, learning assistance, gifted education, special needs resource. Education: Honors English BA (SFU), PDP (SFU), Teacher-Librarian Diploma (UBC).

Kathleen Thomson
The BCTF’s purpose and strength rests in teachers. It is teachers’ needs that must define our Federation’s priorities over the next few years.

Right now teachers in their classrooms need the resources, specialist assistance and improved learning conditions that can only exist when public education is nurtured through sustained funding and genuine respect for teachers’ professionalism. When funding is withheld and teacher autonomy is redefined as accountability, opportunities for teachers and students wither. The BCTF’s first obligation is to advocate creatively for an end to purposeful underfunding, impoverished classrooms, and testing and privatization regimes gone mad.

Teachers have other needs as well. We need far more attention paid to our evolving professional development requirements and assistance in dealing with pressing social justice issues in our classrooms. We need resources directed toward our immediate health and well being, and advocacy for better bargaining structures so that working conditions can improve prior to the next round of negotiations.

We need union leadership focussed on representing teachers’ diverse needs. If elected, I promise to represent your voice and the voices of 41,000 teachers in a forceful, independent way at the BCTF Executive table.

EXPERIENCE: Provincial: BCTF Executive member-at-large (7 yrs.), CTF delegate (5), Staff pension plan advisory committee (2), Negotiations training, bargaining conference (2), Summer conference delegate and workshop presenter (10), Chair Metro West zone council (1), AGM delegate (13). Local: President (9 yrs.), Vice-president (1), Grievance Panel (2), Staff Rep (5), Adult education provincial/local bargaining (2), Negotiations, job action, advocacy committees, etc. Community: Co-chair, Municipal planning/environment committees, SFU senate (2). Teaching: Secondary English, German, French (11 yrs.), SFU Philosophy TA (2 yrs.). Education: BA, PDP (SFU), PhD courses and comprehensives.


Jim Iker
Together we make a difference. Our strength and passion comes from our daily work in our classrooms, locals and Federation. Continued membership involvement, engagement of new members and support for all locals is critical for a strong BCTF.

Our unity and principled resolve enabled us to achieve a negotiated collective agreement. We now have to implement and enforce our contract, defend and exercise our professional autonomy and train future bargainers.

It is critical that we:

• Advocate for full funding that enables success for every student and stops privatization;

• Push changes to Bill 33 that ensures firm and lower class size/composition limits for all grades and institutes non-enrolling teacher ratios;

• Assert our bargaining rights;

• Engage parents regarding the harmful effects of FSA testing and Grades 10/11 provincial exams;

• Drive back the government accountability agenda;

• Build our social justice networks and action groups that lead to systemic changes;

• Strengthen professional supports, programs and opportunities for members.

I believe in leadership that promotes democratic processes, seeks and heeds member input and provides pro-active and co-ordinated strategies.

I bring you my experience and energy; and value the opportunity to continue to work with the Executive on your behalf as 2nd Vice President.

EXPERIENCE: Provincial: Provincial Executive, Member at Large (5 yrs.), Provincial Bargaining Team 2006, Learning Roundtable 2005/06/07, Social Justice Review Cttee. 2006/07, TF AGM Delegate (4 yrs.), Bargaining Mobilization Cttee. Chair (1), Provincial Bargaining Team member, 1st 2 rounds of Provincial Bargaining, GR/LR (12), AGM delegate (19), Local Presidents’ Advisory Cttee. (2), Chair (1), BCTF Interim Bargaining Structures Cttee., Legislative Advisory Cttee/team, Staff Rep Training, Summer Conference Participant (24). Local: President(15), Bargaining Chair (2), Chief Negotiator, Local Bargaining (all 3 rounds), Bargaining Cttee. WLC Chair (2), Staff rep, District Health And Safety Cttee. Rep (4), EAP District Cttee. (14), Teaching: 29 yrs. (full and part time) K/2/3/4/ 6/7, Learning Assistance, Counseling, Special Ed. Education: Honours BA McMaster, B.Ed Dalhousie, Various Counselling Courses U Vic.


Rebecca Blair
As a classroom teacher I have witnessed first hand the steady deterioration of our working conditions. Services for students throughout the province are less than adequate, while teachers struggle to be caring professionals. By ensuring that democratic structures are used to identify members’ needs, we can strengthen our fight for public education.

Health and safety concerns of members are closely linked to the issues which Bill 33 fails to address adequately. Oversize classes, as well as the loss of specialist teachers, are resulting in working environments which teachers know are not good learning environments. Teachers are faced every day with youth who are living in poverty–social justice issues such as racism, sexism and violence are presenting daily classroom concerns for our members. In my work regarding health and safety, teachers describe their need to properly address the well being of students who represent the future of our society.

Professional autonomy is also under attack, and it is imperative to ensure that the voice of each teacher is given the respect professionals deserve. I offer my strong work ethic, high energy level, and a passionate concern for our profession. Permit me to bring your voice to the Executive Table.

EXPERIENCE: Provincial: Health and Safety Advisory Committee (3 yrs.), Health and Safety Trainer (3), LR (4), AGM delegate (8). Local: President (1), Vice President (1), Bargaining Chair (1), District Joint Health and Safety Committee Rep (9), Site Safety Rep/Co Chair of Committee (6), Staff Rep (10), Status of Women Rep (2). Teaching: Alternate Education, Special Education, 8–12, Math 8, English 10–11, TOC, First Nations Education, Elementary Grades 3–7, Adult Basic Education, (32 years). Education: B.Ed. (SFU), MAAS (Gonzaga)

Cathy Lambright
Our unity and collective actions last year have earned us a fairly negotiated Collective Agreement with a reasonable salary increase. However, the classrooms of British Columbia are still suffering.

Our colleagues and students are in classrooms that do not have the necessary supports and resources to meet their learning needs. Teacher workload is a serious issue that faces all of us each day. The province’s accountability agenda and under funding continues to do harm to our public education system.

We need to continue our work with parent and other partner groups to address issues of quality education. We also need to continue our work as a social justice union. We need to focus our work to address issues of poverty, racism, and woman’s issues, in addition to other social concerns that face us each day in our schools.

As a Member-at-Large I seek your support to be a member of the BCTF Executive that is proud of its work in being the professional voice of teachers.

EXPERIENCE: Provincial: Local Association Representative (5 yrs.), BCTF Finance Committee (3), Chair of the BCTF College Advisory committee, BC College of Teachers’ counsellor (4), and many years as a BCTF AGM delegate and BCTF Summer Conferences. Local: Local President (3), Bargaining Chair, Chief negotiator and Bargaining team member, Treasurer (10+), Staff Rep (13), Health and Safety Rep (3), Member of the Grievance Advisory, WLC, Pro-D, Status of Women, and Social Committees.

Rick Guenther
For the first time in many years we have a negotiated contract. While we may not be completely satisfied with our new Collective Agreement—and perhaps we never should be–its settlement allows us to focus more of our attention on the various needs of teachers and the problems they face in their professional practice. The audit culture (or accountability agenda), that ideologically driven regime of surveillance and control, continues to subvert good pedagogy and continues to establish conditions conducive to privatization. If we believe in public education as a common good, based on principles of equity, inclusion, and citizenship, then we must oppose those forces that act to reduce humanity to "human capital," and citizens to consumers. This mission requires the help of trustees, the public at large, and especially the parents. Our job action of 2005 demonstrated that we enjoy broad public support for many of our concerns. However, that support is fragile and needs constant nourishment and encouragement. We must build public confidence in teacher professionalism and expertise through ongoing campaigns that are sensitive to that fragility. And, we must provide the resources necessary for teachers to engage in conversations fostering better understandings of their professional rights and ethical responsibilities.

EXPERIENCE: Provincial: Judicial Council (current), Task Force on Privatization (2004-05), AGM delegate (many). Local: Abbotsford District Teachers’ Association (Local 34), First Vice-President, LR, Bargaining Chair (all current), Strike Co-ordinator, District Health & Safety Committee, Peace River South Teachers’ Association (Local 59), Staff Rep.,Vice-President, President (1982-1984), School Budget Committee, Administrative Officer selection committees, School District Task Force on School Reorganization. Education: M. Ed.(Diversity in Curriculum) SFU, Teacher Training UBC, Apprenticeship: Heavy Duty Partsman, B. Sc. (Geophysics) UBC. Teaching: Secondary science and mathematics (27 yrs)

Patricia Gudlaugson
Look around your school, your local, the Federation. Can’t you feel that a period of renewal is coming? A wave of newer, younger teachers is about to freshen the Federation–school by school, local by local! 

This makes it the right time for someone like me, with a wide range of experiences in teaching, to seek the opportunity to fulfill a responsibility to my professional organization. That responsibility is to encourage and support in all aspects of BCTF activity, orderly and constructive renewal processes. 

To maintain the progressive nature of the BCTF, teachers like me must give back. We must share our knowledge whether it is about BCTF budgeting, education finance or organizing professional development. We must restate our commitment to professional autonomy and social justice. We must demonstrate to all members that our Federation’s decision making structures are democratic, accessible and open to scrutiny. 

At the Executive Committee table, I would frame all that we do inside one over-riding question: "How will this action help members become the strong, committed voices needed to assure a vigorous, healthy, spirited union–the BCTF?"

EXPERIENCE: Variety of professional roles: school staff rep, school-based Pro-d Chair, staff committee, VESTA Executive Committee: Professional Development Chair, (8 yrs.), President, (3), Alternate Local Rep to the BCTF, (1), BCTF: AGM delegate (9), trustee, Fergusson Committee, (3). Related work in teacher action research: shared CTF literacy research grant awarded to three BC teachers—"A Home Reading Program for Children for Whom English is a Second Language," participated in UBC/VSB/VESTA literacy research resulting in presenting at AERA, Seattle, school trustee, SD#38 (Richmond) 6 yr., Board Chair 3 yr. Education: BA (McMaster, 1969), teacher training (Hamilton Teachers’ College), MEd (UBC), Teaching: wide range of teaching positions all grade levels K–8 in inner-city, small primary annexes, and large urban.

Together we have made significant achievements; however, we still face formidable challenges. Deliberate under funding finds teachers struggling with composition issues, less support, oversized classes, and school closures. Phony accountability data, relentless testing, and restricted autonomy inhibit our teaching and our student’s learning. This government wants to destabilize, deprofessionalize and privatize education.

We must work together to secure fair and adequate funding for public education. We must oppose testing, ranking and data collection that reduces children to numbers, denying rich educational experiences. We must continue to build and support quality teaching through professional autonomy, enhanced professional development, bargaining, research, and mentorship initiatives. We must extend our Social Justice work beyond classrooms to the families and communities that support and nurture our students.

My experience on the BCTF executive, as local president and community activist have taught me that we can achieve these objectives if we remain steadfast and unified. Teachers as the credible voice of education cannot and will not be silenced. The public welcomes and indeed expects our informed advocacy.

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

EXPERIENCE: National: CTF Delegate (1 yr.), CTF Women’s Issues Delegate (3). Provincial: BCTF Executive Member-at-Large (4), BC Federation of Labour Resolutions Committee (1), THESA Curriculum Chair (2). Local: President (4), Vice President (3), Bargaining Committee (7), Staff Rep (3), AGM (9), Social Justice (1), Health and Safety (3), Summer Conference (8). Teaching: UBC Summer Session Instructor (1), Middle and Secondary Home Economics and Humanities both local and international (28). Education: MA, UBC, Curriculum and Instruction, Home Economics; Concentration Home Economics, UBC; PDP, SFU; BA Honours, SFU.

Elizabeth McKenzie
In the past two years the teachers of BC have experienced a variety of emotions and stresses and have risen to the challenge. This is not the time to relax. We need to continue to work for public education and the teachers of BC.

Cutbacks and underfunding have seriously impacted our classrooms. Class sizes and class composition issues are still the leading issues for teachers. We must continue to advocate for a fully funded public education system and to build and strengthen our profession through professional development and mentoring opportunities for new teachers.

BCTF members have had success in demonstrating their resolve, and must now use a strategic approach to make our issues concerning public education and the accountability agenda known.

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, the BCTF must continue to build 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: BCTF Staff, Teacher Rehabilitation Co-ordinator (4 yrs.), LR (10), Agenda Committee (4), AGM Delegate (12), chair of the CTF AGM Task Force, BCTF Income Security Committee (3), BCTF Pension Committee (3), Summer Conference delegate (12); Women in Negotiations delegate. Local: President, Chilliwack Teachers’ Association (2), Vice President (5), Bargaining Committee (11), Grievance Committee (10), Native Education Advisory Committee (2), Wellness Committee (3), Student Services Committee (4). Teaching: 19 years Elementary: Alert Bay 4 years., TOC Victoria/ Sooke 1 yr. Surrey 1 year, Chilliwack 13 years Learning Assistance, Counseling and Primary.

Robert Tarswell
My fundamental belief is that the BCTF is a democratic membership-driven union.

We need to stand together as we have in the past to defend and enhance the high standards and values of our profession, our union, and public education.

Together we must oppose and offer alternatives to this government’s privatization agenda in order to maintain an education system second to none.

Top priorities for us all:

• Bill 33—not being funded resulting in kids being delisted, avoiding testing of needy students, cuts to other programs, classes and services.

• BCeSIS—US style data mining, costing boards for a problem-plagued system that crashes regularly and takes time away from teaching and learning.

• Accountability—a growing bureaucracy turning teachers into test prep technicians.

• Grade 10/11 Provincial Exams—which will raise drop out rates and shut doors to many.

• School District Business Companies—$1,000,000 less to students in New Westminster,

4-day school for Gulf Island children while district’s international students had 5-day school.

Now is not the time to relax. Now is the time to press our issues.

As a Member-At-Large candidate, I pledge my support, commitment, and passion to the teaching profession, our union and public education.

EXPERIENCE: Provincial: AGM Delegate (4 yrs), AGM Local Representative (2), BC Fed Delegate (4), Summer Conference (6), Public Education Conference (4), Bargaining Training, Negotiation Training. Local: PDTU President (4), Bargaining Chair (4), Negotiation Team (5), Grievance Chair (4), Health and Safety Committee (7), Staff Representative (10), Bargaining Committee (5), Communications Officer (5), Pro-D Committee (5), Social Justice Chair (2), Social Justice Committee (4),Treasurer (1), Zone Meeting Rep (6). Teaching: 26 years including Special Education, 5 years; K–5, 22 years. Education: B.Ed (SFU), MA (SDSU)

Francis Zeni
Look no further:
I am the BCTF!
You are the BCTF;
We are ALL the BCTF!

EXPERIENCE: BCTF Member since 1994. BCTF Union Activist since 2002.

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