Parents can relax over the summer and enjoy spending time with their children knowing that school will start on schedule in September. Both teachers and parents waited eagerly for news last Friday, June 30, the final day for the B.C. Teachers' Federation to reach a settlement with the B.C. Public School Employers' Association. They had to wait until almost midnight, the absolute deadline, but in the end the news that came out of the negotiations was what most people hoped for.
All along, union representatives had said they were negotiating for a fair and equitable settlement. In the end, they received just enough to make an agreement possible.
We didn't think this deal would get done.
Both sides have been posturing for months, each attacking the other in newspaper ads looking for sympathy from the public. We've received lots of letters on the subject, some in favour of teachers, some in favour of the government, while others weren't buying into what either side was saying, simply choosing to ask both sides to buckle down and hammer out a deal.
The teachers were looking for much more, but that simply wasn't realistic given what the provincial government had just negotiated with its other public sector workers.
While what they settled for didn't match the rhetoric coming from the union in the final days of talking, union leaders could come to an agreement with the other side of the table.
Credit has to be given to the provincial government and finance minister Carole Taylor. Using a signing bonus to pave the way to negotiated agreements bought labour peace for the province. That's something all British Columbians can appreciate.
Let's hope when the summer is over, teachers will vote to ratify this new deal and begin to move forward to a better education system for all.
Idol still singingOur congratulations this week to Sarah Loverock of Gibsons. She sang her way into the hearts of thousands of Canadians and has made it to the top 14 on Canadian Idol. She sings again for a shot at the top 10 on Monday night on CTV.
If you haven't yet watched the show, what the heck are you waiting for? Check it out Monday. Sarah is an amazing singer, and with our support and votes she just may be the next Canadian Idol. Wouldn't that be cool?- Ian Jacques with files from Laura Walz, Powell River Peak