Wayne Ross has a very nice overview of the aftermath and implications of the strike at Where the Blog Has No Name.
For myself I am torn between respectful support of the decision of the BCTF exec and the majority of teachers and a sense that the labour movement leadership has yet again demonstrated their unwillingness to back real struggles for social justice.
Listening to Jim Sinclair’s comments on CBC radio early Friday morning October 21st, 2005, I knew right then that the Fed had pulled the plug. Here we were in the midst of one of the most significant labour struggles for many years and the BCTF and CUPE found themselves standing alone on the podium so-to-speak. These debates go back and forth between those who argue they are being realistic and those of us who suggest conservative is a better term to describe the response of the officialdom of labour.
I would also add my disappointment in the legislative actions of the NDP. It has been rumoured that NDP Officials called an end to the filibuster against Bill 12 so that a sense of ‘balance and decorum’ could be maintained and members return to their homes for their long thanksgiving break. Oh for the days of Dave Barrett.
This is not, of course, to say that the NDP didn’t put on a good show -they did. And, several members deserve special mention in the efforts to slow down the passage of Bill 12. People like NDP Ed critic John Horgen, Prince Rupert MLA Gary Coons, and former BCTF President David Chudnovsky. A special mention should go to Corky Evans for his musical interlude late on evening during the debate(Now, as through this world I rambled, I met lots of funny men. Some will rob you with a shotgun and some with a fountain pen). But, where was Carole James? Rumoured to have walked among the masses during the Oct. 17th rally in Victoria she was, by all accounts, not officially present among those who spoke. The party of labour and the official opposition has I would argue a significant obligation to stand up for justice and ethical treatment irrespective of a narrow determination of ‘the law.’
For those interested in a more detailed examination of these issues keep a space in your timetables for the forum being organized at UBC on November 9th at 4:30 pm.