Teachers, parents, and students across the province will be dismayed that the BC Liberals have chosen to waste valuable resources in an appeal of Gordon Campbell’s undemocratic and unconstitutional Gag Law at a time when schools are reeling from another round of mean-spirited cuts, BCTF First Vice-President Susan Lambert said today.
“Parent Advisory Councils just lost millions of dollars in funding, BC School Sports was stripped of their entire operating grant, and school districts across the province have had their budgets frozen,” said Lambert. “Instead of reversing those cuts and protecting public education, this government has made the choice to spend valuable financial resources to appeal their own undemocratic Gag Law. The government was arrogant to impose the Gag Law in the first place and know they’re telling BC’s kids that their own political games are more important than public education.”
Gordon Campbell’s Gag Law, imposed restrictions on advertising three months before an election. It prevented any group from speaking out about issues that matter to people right across BC. Justice Cole ruled that expanding advertising restrictions beyond the immediate 28-day election period was unconstitutional.
“It is fundamental to our democracy that people like teachers get to voice their concerns and their opinions,” said Lambert. “That’s what makes democracy work. Gordon Campbell should learn from the latest public outcry about his cuts and understand that all British Columbians have a stake in our province and should have the right to speak out. Barriers, like the Gag Law, to public debate and discussion only further erode BC’s declining voter turnout rates.”