"He talked about a duplicitous plan meant to engineer a school strike only weeks before the provincial exams, that would throw our schools into chaos. That kind of a statement is just unconscionable." ~ BCTF president Jinny Sims on CBC May 26, 2005
The BCTF made good on their announced intentions to sue the premier and the BC Liberals for comments made during the provincial election. BC Liberal candidates and the Premier made several accusations suggesting the Teachers were planning strike action that would disrupt final exams during the last week of the provincial election campaign.
In a media release Sims said, "The premier said many things about teachers and our Federation that are untrue and unconscionable, we immediately wrote to him to request a retraction and apology, but he did not respond. As a result, we are compelled to take this important issue to the courts."
As an example, Sims pointed to Campbell's claim that teachers had "a duplicitous plan meant to engineer a school strike only weeks before provincial exams that would throw our schools into chaos." "This is only one of many defamatory statements that Campbell made against the BCTF and its members," she said.
Coming at a crucial point in the final week of the campaign, the statements were extensively, and uncritically, reported in provincial and local media. "Even in the heat of an election campaign, standards of truth and fairness must be upheld," Sims said. "It cannot be acceptable for a premier to make false statements in a last minute attempt to sway the electorate."
This is the latest in a series of court cases involving the Campbell government. The BC legislative raids led to charges being filed against two senior Liberal political operatives working for Cabinet Ministers. The case involves BC Rail, drugs and could include other matters affecting the Campbell government. We don't know yet if this is the case as in an unusual move, the BC Courts would not release the search warrant information.
Search warrant information is supposed to be public information.
One more significant court case coming up for the Campbell Liberals involves Bill 29. This legislation was introduced by Gordon Campbell in an effort to remove negotiated contract rights of unionized government and health sector employees. Many of the contracted items removed were negotiated under the WAC Bennett and Bill Bennett governments, some clauses dated back to 1944.
The unions contend the government could not do this and took the matter to the BC Supreme court and later the BC Appeal court. The government won in both courts. The case is headed to the Supreme court meaning that court believes there is some merit in what the unions are arguing. Lower courts are reluctant in making decisions of this nature preferring to let Canada's top court rule on the case.
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