Vince Ready to Faciliate Dialogue /Crown Prosecutors Step Away

The BC Teachers Federation is confirming that mediator Vince Ready is facilitating dialogue and is meeting with union leaders in a bid to resolve the teachers strike.

It’s now more important than ever to keep up the pressure and to maintaining levels of support activities for our teachers. If real gains are to be made for public education; if the rights of working people to bargain freely and fairly are to be upheld; then teachers and their supporters need to keep up the pressure.

See CBC coverage of this development.

Crown Prosecutors Declare a Conflict of Interest and Refuse to Prosecute Teachers
Metro Vancouver, October 18, 2005

If criminal charges are brought against teachers, Crown counsel will be unable to prosecute, says the head of the professional organization that represents B.C.’s 400 prosecutors. The Criminal Justice Branch of the Ministry of the Attorney General yesterday appointed Vancouver lawyer Leonard Doust as an independent special prosecutor. Part of Doust’s mandate will be to determine whether to initiate criminal contempt proceedings against illegally striking teachers. But, said Michael Van Klaveren, president of the B.C. Crown Counsel Association, “It is our position, right now, that prosecutors are in a conflict of interest position when it comes to prosecuting any teachers.”

Clipped from Comox Valley Teachers

Vancouver-Pt. Grey Parents Join With Teachers On The Picket Line

Parents and students in Premier Campbell’s riding joined teachers on the picket line Tuesday

Parents, students and neighbours from Queen Mary Elementary School, in Premier Gordon Campbell’s Point Grey riding joined teachers on the picket line on Tuesday, October.

The families made signs and walked the picket line to show community support for the teachers.


Queen Mary School is located at 2000 Trimble Street, in Vancouver. View map here.

Oct. 19/05Thank you to everyone who participated in the show of support for Queen Mary teachers yesterday. We had a great response and lots of media coverage. In addition to the CKNW. CBC TV, City TV coverage yesterday, and a nice photo in The Province this morning, these are some links to the media coverage from yesterday’s QM rally. I also think the Courier has something coming out today. It is my hope that strong shows of support for teachers will encourage the government to work with them to reach a speedy and fair resolution to the current crisis. I am also pleased to report that some parents at Kit Secondary and holding their a rally tomorrow. – Patti

The Globe and Mail

Metro Vancouver

Vancouver 24 hrs

Green Ribbon Campaign

Kamloops teachers call for Green Ribbon Campaign (click for details).

From Kamloops teachers: “A group of our teachers has taken upon themselves to start a green ribbon campaign. They are giving out pieces of green flagging tape to anyone that wants it and people are displaying these on their vehicles. This is to symbolize support for the teachers and opposition to Bill 12”

The use of the green ribbon has a long history. Before it was used by teachers during the 2005 strike, the Levellers, a progressive faction in the English revolution, used a green ribbon as their badge. The green ribbon is used here in recognition of the recent and distant past.

Public supports teachers!

Polls show teachers union winning the PR battle in its contract war with the BC Liberals.[From]: Business in Vancouver October 18-24, 2005; issue 834

Public Opinion

Steve Mossop

Polls show teachers union winning the PR battle in its contract war with the BC Liberals

Round 10 in the labour battle royal pitting the BC Teachers Federation against the provincial government and the BCTF appears to be getting the upper hand in the public relations arena.

An Ipsos Reid poll of 800 B.C. residents completed on October 10 shows the majority of B.C. residents, especially parents, side with the teachers. Currently, the majority of B.C. adults (56 per cent) supports the teachers and the BCTF in this dispute (nearly double the 33 per cent that support the B.C. Public School Employer’s Association) and 54 per cent disagree with the provincial government’s decision to legislate an end to the contract dispute. Support levels are even higher among parents with at least one child in the K-12 school system, indicating that those with most at stake in the education system are the strongest supporters of the teachers.

Another research company, the Mustel Group, released a poll (albeit with a much smaller sample size of 300) showing a slightly smaller number (53 per cent) support the teachers, but that 52 per cent opposed the B.C. teachers’ plan to strike (45 per cent supported the idea). A further 81 per cent agreed that class size has an impact on education quality.

Historically, the provincial government could always count on the support of the public to take a hard stance toward the teachers. The BCTF’s militancy, its close ties to the NDP and organized labour and parents’ belief that education is an essential service always meant that contract settlements could be imposed with little political outcry – especially in B.C.’s recessionary ’90s.

This time around, however, it’s different.


Well, for starters, the B.C. government is sitting on a large surplus and the provincial economy is booming. In addition, the last estimate for this fiscal year puts the surplus as high as $1.3 billion, GDP has risen 3.6 per cent this year, the unemployment rate is at its lowest rate in decades and the housing boom has made everyone feel richer.

Another Ipsos Reid poll puts consumer confidence in the provincial economy at record heights (82 per cent describe the overall state of the provincial economy as “good” or “very good”).

Little surprise then that the poll shows 46 per cent of the adults surveyed feel that teachers are underpaid, compared with six per cent who said they’re overpaid. Even on the right to strike issue, the teachers appear to have support where little previously existed.

The government’s hard-line approach of a zero per cent wage increase, refusal to relent on the class-size issue and imposition of back-to-work legislation has therefore been made harder to swallow.

The BCTF has also done a relatively good PR job of comparing modest teacher salaries against escalating MLA salaries, and BCTF president Jinny Sims, with a softer, more friendly approach than her predecessors, has been able to cultivate increased support. The BC Liberals, on the other hand, have been relatively silent in this dispute.

Unfortunately for parents, students and teachers, it’s a no-win debate with both sides entrenched in unmovable positions.

This time, however, the BC Liberals may have gone too far in battling the BCTF, paying the price in the court of public opinion with an erosion of support for their government.

Steve Mossop is the Managing Director Of Ipsos-Reid, Market Research Canada West. He can be reached at

Join this letter of support for BC Teachers

Dear All,

BC public school teachers have voted to back up their democratic rights to fair and free collective bargaining with a full scale strike Friday, October 7, 2005. As a parent in BC with children in our public schools I am very concerned about the situation. The teachers are standing up for our public education system and need our support. Please read the following letter and send me an email (or add a comment to this site) indicating your support. My email is

In solidarity with our teachers,


For letter addressed to government officials read extended entry:

Dear Mr. Campbell, Ms. Bond, and Mr. De Jong,

We are parents, students, and community members who share a strong sense of respect and admiration for the hard work and dedication that our teachers in the public school system demonstrate on a daily basis. We are writing to you to express our disappointment in the actions of your government with respect to teachers. We appreciate that you believe you are putting children first in education. But, as parents and others concerned about the welfare of children who have seen the direct effects of your actions in our public schools we would respectfully disagree. Under your administration the situation in schools has gotten worse, not better. Class sizes have increased, support for learning disabilities has declined, and many schools have inadequate resources. Parent Advisory Councils have been compelled to pay for funding gaps while teachers spend more and more of their personal income on needed school resources.

Your government has placed the burden of these problems onto the backs of our teachers. Not surprisingly they have voted overwhelmingly to say No More. We are writing to express our support of the actions being taken by our public school teachers. We also ask that Bill 12 be withdrawn and that the government enter into direct talks to reach a fair, free, and democratic collective agreement with the teachers of BC.


Charles Menzies (U. Hill PAC exec and Member at Large, UBC Faculty Association Exec)
Annie Ehman
Charlene Morton
Nancy Langdon
E. Wayne Ross (Professor Department of Curriculum Studies)
Mike Feeley and Linda Quamme
David Green
Teresa Dobson and Thomas Mayson
Sandra Mathison (Professor & Head, Educational and Counselling Psychology & Special Education)
Valerie Pollock
Mari Pighini, MA (The CHILD Project)
Daniel Vokey (Associate Professor Department of Educational Studies)
Danielle M. Law (Developmental Change and Technology Lab)
Rosanne Hood
Kate Trafford, BSc (GIS Technician Human Early Learning Partnership)
Dr. Elizabeth Fendley (Faculty of Medicine UBC, Past Chair, Kitsilano Secondary School Parent Advisory Council)
Laura Neucott
Lynda Prince
Lindsay DuBois (Associate Professor & Undergraduate Coordinator
Sociology and Social Anthropology, Dalhousie University)
Allison McDonald
Gillian Creese
Emily Marshall
Michele Jayasinha
Graham E. Johnson (Professor of Sociology, Department of Anthropology and Sociology University of British Columbia)
Julianne Doctor (Vancouver DPAC Exec rep)
Alannah Young
Jonathan Hanvelt
Elizabeth Johnson (Curator of Ethnology and Associate of the Department of Anthropology UBC Museum of Anthropology)
Amy Hanser (Assistant Professor of Sociology Department of Anthropology and Sociology University of British Columbia)
Marnie Fukushima-Flores
Jennifer Peterson (PhD Candidate UBC Faculty of Education)
Charles Yates
Wendy Nielsen (Department of Curriculum Studies UBC)
Marg Osterreicher
James Hughes
James J. Feng, (Associate Professor Dept. Chemical & Biological Engineering, UBC)
Lianne Britten
Brenda Penton
Sharon Biwer
Steve Baker
Elliott Brunell (Pres. UBC Faculty Association)
Stephen Petrina
Mary MacAulay (David Livingstone Elementary School Parent)
Kathy Whittam
Heather Burpee
Janet McPhee (cochair Jules Quesnel PAC)
Margaret F. Choinski (Clinical Instructor School of Audiology and Speech Sciences Faculty of Medicine, UBC)
Kevin J. Benoy
Rosalind M. Irving
Lisa Agius
Brian Green
Hansen Chou (M.A. Student University of British Columbia)
Susanne Osmond and Glen Hollingshead (parents of Oliver, grade 3, Nootka Elementary, Vancouver)
Cathi Shaw (PhD Student Instructor, Centre for Educational Technology, SFU)
Steve Spencer
Juanita Skinner Nelson BC SD#8
Anna Coffin (parent of Upper Lynn Elementary School)
Laurel Tien (PhD Student University Of British Columbia)
Shauna Halcrow
Jo-Anne Dillabough (Associate Professor, Department of Educational Studies, UBC)
Shelagh Penty (Department Secretary Department of Curriculum Studies)
Jo-Anne Naslund (Instructional Programs Librarian Education Library, UBC)
Rick Archambault (President, Strathcona Community Centre Association)
Heidi Verburg
Rosamel Millaman Reinao
Robin O’Day (PhD Student in Anthropology, UBC)
Sam Heppell (UBC Student)
Wendy Poole (Faculty Member, UBC)
Beatrice Scott
Shelley Hymel, Professor, Faculty of Education, UBC
Anita Schuller
Lena Lew
Jill Lewis UBC Student/Future Teacher
Sharon P. Fraser
Deborah Barton, B. Ed
Thomas Gauthier
Ben Paré
Kit Grauer (Department of Curriculum Studies, University of British Columbia)
Dawn Steele
Lisa Floe
Dr. J. Olivia Scalzo (parent of a special needs child, and former PAC chair in an inner city school).
Lisa Lindal
Linda Riches (Prince George)
Liz Hamel
Aimee Pollard
Leonard Durante
Patti Baccus
Heidi Gonzalez
Marv Westwood
Margaret Giacomello (Library Technician: Interlibrary Loans – Borrowing Kwantlen University College Library )
Dawn Currie (UBC)
Brandy Wiebe (PhD Student Sociology, UBC)
Tanya Stevenson (Parent and Special Education Teacher Mackenzie, BC)
Lorraine Gibson (GIS Technician/EDI-Coordinator Human Early Learning Partnership UBC )
Lisa Johnson (Manager, Community and Strategic Initiatives UBC Campus & Community Planning)
Amanda Marques – UBC Grad Student
Madeleine Macivor (UBC FNHL)
Barbara Wood (CoDevelopment Canada)
Patricia Fahrni
Felice S. Wyndham (Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology and Sociology, University of British Columbia)
Susan Jaeggle
Hazita Harun
Carolye Kuchta
Mar-y-paz Rivera (IT Coordinator UBC First Nations House of Learning)
Ulrike Radermacher (Co-Chair U. Hill Sec. PAC)
Daryl Sturdy
David Wu
Beverley Gartrell (SFU Sociology/Anthropology, retired)
Soowook Kim (Ph.D Candidate, Dept. of Curriculum Studies, Faculty of Education, UBC)
Louise Lamphere (Department of Anthropology, University of New Mexico)
Scott Gray, Salmon Arm, B.C.
Tracey Rabone, Salmon Arm, B.C.
Louise Craig, Lillooet, B.C.
Keith Craig, Lillooet, B.C.
Shannon Craig, Prince George, B.C.
Colleen Craig, Salmon Arm, B.C., who is a public education teacher
Ann Doyle (UBC)
William Narvey (Kistilano PAC exec and SPC member)
Mike Dowler (MA Music Education Student, UBC)
Marilee Roome
Jacqueline Solway, Associate Professor Trent University
Petra Ganzenmueller (Chair, Sessional Faculty Committee, UBC Faculty
Jill Warland, (Argyle Secondary School, North Vancouver, BC, Teacher and Parent)
Sowgol Torani
Wes Pue, South Delta
Linc Kesler (Associate Professor & Director, First Nations Studies Program UBC)
Sharon Roseman (Memorial University)

Thousands Rally in Victoria! We need to keep building!

Thousands Rallied in Victoria today demanding the recall of Bill 12 and a return to democratic rights. For coverage of the event visit Wayne Ross’ blog.

As grassroots support builds across BC a recent Ipsos-Reid poll finds that the majority of BC’ers back the teachers. And, BCCPAC take note, if you have a child in public schools you are way more likely to be supporting the teachers!

Documents related to public education struggle

I will post links to documents related to the current struggle for public education in this entry.Series of articles from alternative media sources commenting on the teachers’ strike.
World Socialist Web
Portland Indymedia
In Defense of Marxism
Fight Back
Monthly Review zine

Vancovuer DPAC letter to the government.Download file

LRB Ruling regarding essential services rules, Sept. 30, 2005:

LRB Essential Service Decision (PDF document)

LRB Ruling regarding strike, Oct. 6, 2005. Note clipped from BCTF web page:
The Labour Relations Board has instructed the BCTF to post this ruling on the web site. The employer, BCPSEA, has filed this ruling in court. BCTF president Jinny Sims, local association presidents and individual teachers taking a stand together for public education have been served with this order. BCTF is asking for reconsideration of this order at the LRB. Members should continue to communicate with their picket captains and local associations.

BCTF Bargaining Bulletin This document outlines the relatively modest salary proposal being made by teachers.

Working TV and Templeton Secondary Student Videos relate to the Strike and Teachers’ Struggles.

Letter from BCCPAC President (Kim Howland) to DPACs and PACs.
Kim Howland’s letter (PDF document)

Letter in Burnaby Now critical of the above BCCPAC Letter
Time to advocate for teachers

Dear Editor:

Re: Pending strike action by the B.C. Teachers’ Federation.

A recent press release from Kim Howland, president of the B.C. Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils, regarding the BCTF decision to serve strike notice leaves me enraged.

As a parent and a parent advisory council member, I get tired of the B.C. confederation’s mealy-mouthed reactions to anything that might disrupt the school schedule.

Her expressed ‘concern’ about the B.C. Teachers’ Federation’s decision would be better directed as concern about the government’s refusal to treat teachers fairly and equitably, i.e., by providing salaries, benefits and working conditions that are fair and in line with other jurisdictions such as Ontario and Alberta.

Kim, if the B.C. Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils truly represents parents and is truly concerned, do some good: speak out for teachers and the need to pay them competitive salaries and provide working conditions conducive to good education for our students.

Let’s advocate for funding levels that will support good school libraries, music programs, teachers’ aides and recess monitors instead of whining every time it appears that poor Johnny and Jane might have to miss a day of school due to a strike.

Clare O’Kelly, Burnaby

Support our Teachers Teach-In and Rally

A group of UBC faculty members are organizing a Support Our Teachers-Defend Public Education Teach-In and Rally.


WHEN (TODAY!) Wednesday. Teach-in 12-1. Rally at 11:30.
WHERE at the Scarfe Building, UBC (click for map).
SPEAKERS representing the university community will address the issues of the strike, how we can help as individuals and community members, and the implications of the government actions for all of us.

PDF poster for Teach-In. Download file.

Click here for more info.UBC attempts to silence dissent and the right to free assembly. Download the UBC memo.

Clarifications on No Fines Ruling

VANCOUVER(CKNW/AM980) – Lawyers for the BC Teachers Federation and BC Public School Employers Association were back in court this afternoon to ask for some clarifications on yesterday’s unprecedented ruling from BC Supreme Court Justice Brenda Brown.

Saying she did not intend to muzzle anyone’s freedom of speech, the judge has cleared up confusion about her unique orders.

Brown maintains the union is not allowed to use any assets –including phones, fax machines and computers– to keep the illegal strike going but —Larry Prentice, senior vice president, Ernst and Young Inc– the court-appointed monitor, will only be required to report irregularities involving finances.

Ernst and Young is a transnational company with a truly global reach.

As a global leader in professional services, Ernst & Young is committed to helping restore the public’s trust in professional services firms and the quality of financial reporting.
Source: Ernst and Young web page

See also the feature in magazine of the Canadian Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Professionals Rebuilding SuccessSummary of Rebuilding Success Story
(This abridged version follows the structure of the original as published in spring 2005)

In August of 2003 Larry and elementary school teacher second wife Linda Rizzardo (Prentiss was divorced in the late 1980s, early 1990s and remarried in 1992) bought a new home of Vancouver’s West Side and a membership in the Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club. He planned to engage in a lot of G & G (Golf and gardening)

His planned time off was interrupted by a call from the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy with an invitation to join its Management Advisory Board. He was recruited to join the board of the Insolvency Institute of Canada. In February 2004 Janis Sarra, Assistant Dean of Law UBC ‘twisted his arm’ to serve as director for the Canadian Insolvency Foundation.. And it goes on . . .

From Rock ‘N Roll to Receivership.
Prentice aspired to be a teacher and a rock musician. He dropped out of UBC’s B.Ed. program in third year to begin a career as a member of a rock band.

Eight months later a cousin who had his own charted accounts firm offered him a job. Prentice found that “it was kind of interesting.”

With this experience in mind Prentice returned to his studies and enrolled in the Commerce program at SFU earning his degree in 1975 and qualified as a C.A. at Clarkson Gordon (now Ernst & Young where he remains to this day) in 1978.

Initially working in the audit division he found it uninteresting as a career and eventually found his way to insolvency “which seemed to be . . .a lot of fun.” His initial files were liquidations and then restructuring.

Prentice was a court appointed monitor for Woodwards Department Stores.

More recently receiverships have given way to restructurings. “Now we look first at whether the business can be revived rather than liquidated” said Prentice.

A north coast angle: Larry Prentice was also the court appointed receiver for Prince Rupert’s ill-fated pulp mill and associated timber and milling operations.

From the Globe and Mail

Monitor overseeing teachers’ strike activities once wanted to teach>
Saturday, October 15, 2005 Page S3

Larry Prentice didn’t waste time rolling up his well-tailored sleeves and getting to work as the trailblazing independent monitor appointed to scrutinize the B.C. Teachers’ Federation’s strike activities.

Mr. Prentice, a partner and senior vice-president in Ernst & Young’s Vancouver office, showed up at the BCTF’s nifty headquarters on WestSixth Avenue at 8 p.m. Thursday.

That was just seven hours after Madam Justice Brenda Brown’s innovative ruling put him in the accounting hot seat of the fractious teachers’ dispute. But first, the man who made a name for himself as one of the province’s premier insolvency experts had to clear up a possible conflict of interest.

Guess what? Mr. Prentice is married to an elementary school teacher. B.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Donald Brenner, who appointed the 54- year-old, garage band rocker-turned chartered accountant, said that was fine.

No conflict.

There’s more. Guess what Mr. Prentice wanted to do with his life when he grew up? Yep. He wanted to be a teacher.

In fact, he was in the third year of UBC’s five-year education program, before deciding that teaching was not for him. “I wasn’t very good at it,” Mr. Prentice confessed in a magazine this year.

Somehow, after eight months in a Vancouver club band, Mr. Prentice discovered the buzz of accounting, eventually embracing the intrigue of insolvency, which, he once said, “seemed to be a lot of fun,” at least for accountants.

His first case was an insolvent hog-butchering plant in the Fraser Valley. Emotions ran high among those who had not been paid, ranging from tears to one furious pig farmer who threatened to go down to the bankrupt plant and remove his carcasses at gunpoint.

Compared with that, Mr. Prentice’s BCTF assignment should be a breeze. And a better smelling one, too!

It is often said that the government has had to impose a settlement on the BCTF in every round of teacher-trustee bargaining since provincewide bargaining was brought in by the NDP in 1994. Not so.

In 1996, teachers voted 89 per cent to accept a three-year contract providing a wage hike of 2 per cent.

Although this followed legislation giving the government power to impose a settlement, that clout was never used. The final agreement was voluntary.

In 1998, with the NDP still in government, teachers again accepted a new, three-year contract giving them a 2-per-cent pay increase. However, this contract also included a promise to hire 1,200 more teachers and set class-size limits in elementary school.

The government eventually did pass legislation to impose these terms, but only after the province’s school boards — not the teachers –voted it down.

This history lesson does not mean the current collective-bargaining system is anything less than dysfunctional. It does show that reasonable agreements have been reached with B.C. teachers in the past — under the NDP.

Not that relations were ever lovey-dovey between the BCTF and the New Democrats.

In 1993, Glen Clark declared that teacher bargaining at the local school board level was unfairly tilted in favour of the union.

And a year later, after the NDP brought in provincewide bargaining, then education minister Art Charbonneau was unceremoniously asked not to show up at the BCTF’s annual convention.

“We suddenly have a lot more on our agenda,” explained the teachers’ president at the time, Ray Worley.