This Saturday, the BC Teachers’ Federation met with the government for secret talks under a media blackout. The talks, attended by a mediator, continued until midnight. The next day, it became apparent that another party wanted in on the steamy late night affair. On Sunday, at a pro-teacher rally at the Vancouver Art Gallery, the newly minted BC Parents’ Federation flexed its muscles in an attempt to grab the spotlight. It was like a scene from a BC playground (circa 2013, when schools were open so kids could use them).
The BCPF arrived on the scene like diarrhea in a hot tub. It showed up violently and quickly, and made a big mess. Apparently seeking conflict, the Parents’ Federation immediately made clear that it doesn’t support the BC Teachers’ Federation. They carried signs that decried the BCTF’s ongoing involvement in the strike, and villified the BCTF for using BC children as pawns. A BCPF representative said, “We’re here to support our children and our teachers, but we are against the BCTF, which doesn’t show any faith in the negotiations.” To the casual observer, this might have seemed noble. Was it?
No. The BCPF really was as bad as diarrhea in a hot tub, and the proof was in its messages. Consider one of its signs, which read, “Respect taxpayers. End the strike.” Of course, this is all about kids being held out of school. That’s why the BCPF exists in the first place—they want to shame the BC teachers who are using their kids as pawns. Either that or they want their money back. If the latter, it appears that they’re willing to use their kids as pawns to get it. Perhaps a more appropriate sign idea would have been, “Save my kid or save me money. Your choice!” It could stand alongside, “Taxes for none! Thatcherisms for all!”
The BCPF intended to prove, as Thatcher once said, that there is no such thing as society, but rather only individuals, morons that they may be. Concerning its sector of the population, it did just that. This Sunday, the BCPF decided that the best way to break the provincial strike was to show up to a peaceful rally at the Vancouver Art Gallery, wave their signs around, then start shoving people and swearing. Yes, the protest became violent when the parents showed up on the scene. Is that the lesson they want to teach to their kids? Do they even have kids? Is the BCPF just a bunch of angry people posing as parents in an attempt to amplify the voice of the angry taxpayer? This deep into what seems like a never-ending strike, anything seems possible.
If the BCPF members are in fact parents, perhaps they should sit down and talk with their kids. They should tell their kids that violence is the answer, and that no one is ever too old to throw a tantrum in a public place. Some people say the BCTF and the provincial government are behaving like children. Others will now say that the BCPF is acting childish. This is misguided criticism, for children have behaved quite well throughout the strike. The worst behaviour is, unfortunately, quite adult-like. That’s the real cause for concern.
Correction (19/09/14): The article previously referred to the event in question as a teachers’ rally. While it was a pro-teacher rally, it was not put on by the BCTF. The article has been corrected to be less ambiguous.