Government provoked teacher strike: negotiator

The B.C. government's negotiator admitted in court his strategy in 2012 negotiations with teachers was to provoke a strike

Teachers and other government union workers rally at the B.C. legislature during brief teacher strike in March 2012.

Teachers and other government union workers rally at the B.C. legislature during brief teacher strike in March 2012.

VICTORIA – The B.C. government’s negotiator admitted in court his strategy in 2012 negotiations with the B.C. Teachers’ Federation was to provoke a full-scale strike.

NDP critics launched their return to the B.C. legislature Wednesday with questions about a transcript from the recent BCTF court challenge. It shows government negotiator Paul Straszak said provoking a full-scale strike was designed to move the union from its months-long ban on extra-curricular activities that started in the fall of 2011.

Asked by the BCTF lawyer if the strategy was to close schools with a full-scale walkout, which had been authorized by the Labour Relations Board to last up to a week, Straszak replied “I’ll say yes.”

Straszak described his briefing for John Dyble, Premier Christy Clark’s deputy minister, before a cabinet meeting.

“So what we’re talking about here is cabinet is going to be in an awkward situation in the context of a low scale strike, meaning it’s going to want to put an end to it but the public won’t necessarily see the need for the legislation because the kids are still in school,” Straszak told the court.

Straszak said the teachers’ work-to-rule action “was having a really significant impact on education” and the increase in pressure was part of the “political dynamic” of the long-running dispute.

In the legislature Wednesday, NDP leader Adrian Dix called on Clark to explain the strategy.

Attorney General Suzanne Anton said the Jan. 27 decision of B.C. Supreme Court is being appealed, and refused to comment further.

NDP education critic Rob Fleming said the premier and Education Minister Peter Fassbender have commented publicly on the decision in media interviews, and in letters sent to all teachers.

In her ruling, Justice Susan Griffin concluded that the B.C. government did not bargain in good faith with the BCTF. She struck down legislation restricting teacher bargaining of classroom conditions and imposed a $2 million penalty on the government.

 

Just Posted

Protestors blocking Columbia Avenue Saturday evening. Photo: Betsy Kline
Old growth protesters begin 24-hour blockade of Castlegar’s main street

Members of Extinction Rebellion plan to stay overnight

Forty sled dogs were seized by the BC SPCA from a Salmo kennel in February. A recent ruling has decided the dogs won’t be returned. Photo: Gounsil/Flickr
BC Farm Industry Review Board rules against Salmo kennel after 40 sled dogs seized

Spirit of the North Kennels was also ordered to pay BC SPCA $64,000

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

SD20 now has an electric bus. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay-Columbia School District 20 adds electric bus to fleet

Bus will be incorporated into Castlegar route for next school year

Painting by Dave Davies from Shaver’s Bench facing Teck Trail.
Happy 120th Birthday to the City of Trail!

The town of Trail Creek- or Trail Creek Landing - was incorporated as a city on June 14, 1901.

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read