Friday, October 14, 2005

Good Ol' Gordo

and I say that with the utmost sarcasm...

For the last few years, Canada has been involved in a dispute with the United States over soft wood lumber. I do'nt know much about the situation, but basically, the US says that Canada unfairly subsidizes the softwood lumber industry and so have imposed tarriffs on Canadian softwood lumber imports. Canada has been arguing that this violates the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Gordo (aka Gordon Campbell, the premier of British Columbia) has been travelling all over the country the last few weeks - not here in BC during this teacher's dispute - talking about aboriginal relations and now about teh softwood lumber dispute.

Today, the big quote from Gordo on the news channel - the day after he appeared for the FIRST time on TV from the other side of the country telling teachers that what they're doing is illegal, go back to work - is the following:

"You have to support NAFTA if you want to benefit from the free flow of goods accross the border.... The NAFTA aggreement must be respected."

Cough! Choke! Sputter! WHAT????

Hmm... let me see... The US has taken a chunk of that contract- freely negotiated between two parties - and has just decided to eliminate it. Poof! Canada is upset, understandably. So, both federal and provincial governments are taking a stand against a violation of the contract, insisting that the contract must be respected. GORDON FREAKING CAMPBELL is saying that it's important to respect contracts in order to benefit from what the contracts were created to do.

And yet he can rip up a teacher's contract, make up new laws, and take control of a union's assets to try to force teachers to put up and shut up about this imposed contract.

How's that for a double standard?

On the other hand, wow, did anybody see anchorwoman Deborra Hope interviewing Gordo last night on the news? He looked nervous from his studio in Toronto, and she was on the attack. He had his little prepared speech about "We have Vince Ready doing an inquiry into the bargaining system" and "We have created these learning roundtables to talk," blah blah blah, but Deb Hope interrupted him to point out that none of these measures were binding on the governemnt. Sure, they can sugest, and they can talk, but the government can still do whatever they please. Deb Hope was pissed off, you could see it in her face. She even came close to a sneer at the end of the interview, it was awesome! Even the supposedly unbiased reporter can't hide her disgust.


Anonymous Nollind Whachell said...

Hehe, I loved that interview as well and I totally agree about her sneer at the end. She obviously has kids herself and is pissed off at what Gordo is doing to the education system. She looked pretty disgusted with him at the end of her interview. :)

I think one favorite part was when she said "can't you give them (the teachers) anything". Hehe, the old Dr. Evil saying of "Throw me a fricken bone here people!" That's just it. He doesn't want to give anything, nothing, zippo, not even for the children's sake. This only solidifies the stance that he could care less about the children of British Columbia (especially in the light of the fact that they have a budget surplus).

12:14 PM  
Blogger Josef said...

Here's a suggestion - and wait until I'm done because part of this will provoke you:

Why not go back to work... and then sign an affidavit saying that because of work conditions, unfair treatment by the Campbell Administration that you will quit.

This way, you return to the rule of law - and the onus is on the Campbell Administration to stem the teacher tide before next summer's over!!!

3:37 PM  
Anonymous Nollind Whachell said...

Provoke us? Actually I feel sorry for you because you obviously don't understand what's going on here. All you obviously see is teachers going on strike. If that is all that you see, then you obviously don't know what the real issue is here.

I mean you can probably quit your job and go find another one in another company but the only option these teachers have is to start a whole new profession or move to another province (as the government controls the jobs for the entire region). Anyways, as I said, the issue here isn't the teacher's striking, it is what the goverment is doing to the education system. That is why they are staying and that is why they are taking a stand. The cop out would be just to give up and quit. They care about the kids they are teaching, so they are sticking with it. The are on strike because they do care, not because they don't!

As for the law, well that is a joke. It was immediately created and imposed to make their lawful strike immediately unlawful. I mean give me a break. What good is the government if it doesn't listen to and represent its people? There is a strong voice by the people here who are upset by the government because of their dictator-like approach to this situation. You are seeing tons of families who have to put their kids in daycare still fully supporting the teachers and what they are doing because they know their child's long term education is at risk. The government could care less though because all they see is the dollars not the people. Until this callous attitude changes, conflicts like this will continue to occur (and probably become more widespread).

4:43 PM  
Blogger Josef said...

Nollind Whachell said

"What good is the government if it doesn't listen to and represent its people? There is a strong voice by the people here who are upset by the government because of their dictator-like approach to this situation."

An elected government that went to the polls last May got the mandate to do what they've done - which is blatantly anti-labour. Can't you just accept that, go back to work for now and quit at school year's end for another province or profession... if the gov't doesn't back down.

Or put differently - doesn't the rule of law matter at some point?

5:04 PM  
Anonymous Nollind Whachell said...

Of course the rule of law matters at some point IF it speaks for the people (like how a democracy should work). You aren't talking about a law that's been around for ages though, you're talking about a law that was created in knee jerk reaction to a legal strike (thus making it suddenly illegal). I mean what if the government passed a law that said you couldn't vote tomorrow and thus not have a say in matters. Wouldn't you be upset and say that was an unjust law and fight against it? There's no difference here. The government has basically stripped them of their voice.

As for them quitting, as I said before, I'm sure some of them do feel like quitting and saying "Screw it! If no one cares about us, then I'm not going to care about them." Of course, that's a crappy approach to life because they do care and aren't going to give up. Not to mention if you give up, the government has basically won. Screw that. These teachers pay their taxes like everyone else, why should they have to quit and move to another province? Do you pack up and quit everytime you feel something is unjust or do you fight for it?

"Can't you just accept that.." No, I don't have to. Why? Because that's the great thing about a democracy. :)

6:08 PM  
Blogger Josef said...

"I mean what if the government passed a law that said you couldn't vote tomorrow and thus not have a say in matters. Wouldn't you be upset and say that was an unjust law and fight against it?"

Yes, I would. But the judiciary that would howl in outrage has told the BCTF the law they are protesting against was legal. All that happened was the contract was extended.

Now the Premier and his bunch of, let's say, hard-drivers could and probably will go farther.

11:37 PM  

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