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Excerpts from BCFed News Releases and
BCFed President’s Convention Speeches

March 12, 2003 On BCTF member vote to affiliate
(Excerpt from BCFed news release)

“Today is a great day for the labour movement and for public education in B.C.,” said Jim Sinclair, the Federation of Labour president. “Teachers will join workers from the private and public sector unions in 35 professional groups to promote a more effective voice for public education, for social justice, workers’ rights, and stronger communities.”

May 14, 2003On Bill 51, Teaching Profession Amendment Act (College of Teachers)
(Excerpt from BCFed news release)

“Children, who are our most valuable asset, will suffer when this legislation is implemented,” Sinclair stated. “The Minister of Education is being irresponsible in attacking and singling out teachers’ ability to control their own professional regulating body.”
“This is an attack on teachers and the BC Teachers’ Federation for speaking out on school closures, the social consequences of larger class sizes and program cuts in the BC public school system,” said Jim Sinclair, President of the B.C. Federation of Labour.

“The Liberal government has been in power for two years and students are paying the price. Last year 44 schools were closed and 53 more is slated to be closed next year. Special needs students have been particularly vulnerable in this unprecedented assault on public education,” he said.

Sinclair is concerned that Bill 51 will affect bridges that teachers and parents have built to meet students’ needs.

August 4, 2004On school closures
(Excerpt from BCFed news release)

“Thousands of kids have been forced out of their classrooms because the BC Liberals have starved education budgets,” said Sinclair. “Privatization and public sector cuts have ruined local economies that can’t rebuild when critical infrastructure like schools and hospitals are no longer there.”

September 22, 2004 On privatization of public education
(Excerpt from BCFed news release)

Jim Sinclair, president of the B.C. Federation of Labour, noted: “This plan emphasizes that funding has already eroded to the point that the quality of education is suffering. Look around the province. We’re struggling to clean up the mess the privateers are making in health care. Let’s not impose this failed experiment on our kids’ schools too!”

November 29, 2004On education funding, public education and the College of Teachers campaign
(Excerpt from BCFed president’s speech to the convention)

“There is little argument that resources within the education sector have been eroded to a level where the provision of a quality education is at best difficult, and at worse, virtually impossible.”

That’s the legacy of the Gordon Campbell government.

One hundred and fourteen schools have been closed and class sizes are exploding.

There are fewer teachers, less student support and not enough textbooks to go around.

But the fight for better public education has had some victories in the last while.

A year ago, teachers were fighting to get a basic measure of democracy reinstated in their governing body, the College of Teachers.

They were up against an Education Minister---Christy Clark---who didn’t want to bend. I’m pleased to say that Christy is gone. And teachers have won the fight to democratically elect the majority of their College.

Congratulations.

October 5, 2005On Bill 12
(Excerpt from BCFed news release)

Vancouver—Jim Sinclair, President of the B.C. Federation of Labour, called on the provincial government to sit down and negotiate a settlement with the BC Teachers’ Federation (BCTF).

“The BC Liberals still don’t understand that imposing terms is not a solution; negotiation is,” said Sinclair. “This is a matter that is clearly in the public interest and Premier Campbell needs to hear from us our commitment to a negotiated solution, and we, parents, teachers and our kids, need to hear this.”

October 10, 2005
On the government’s refusal to resolve the dispute
(Excerpt from BCFed news release)

“The only solution for students, parents and workers is for the government to sit down and negotiate an agreement,” stated Sinclair. “Court orders and Labour Relations Board decisions will not provide one solution or improve one condition for teachers and students or the public education system,” said Jim Sinclair, President of the B.C. Federation of Labour.

October 14, 2005On Bill 12
(Excerpt from BCFed news release)

“This government promised to end the confrontation they created over the past four years,” Sinclair said. “It’s unfortunate the government doesn’t understand that taking away our rights and abusing legislative power will not solve this dispute. We’re off to a very bad start.”

“The resolution to this dispute does not belong in the courts—it belongs at the negotiating table between the government and teachers,” stated Sinclair. “Let’s get our kids back to school.”

February 14, 2006
On the Speech from the Throne
(Excerpt from “Where We Stand”)

“The government was forced to learn an important lesson. We can’t build public education by waging war on teachers.”

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