Andrew Weaver speaks to a packed house at the Oak Bay Recreation Centre Lounge earlier this year. Weaver is now leading the charge with a petition to pressure the B.C. government to enter binding arbitration with the province's teachers' union.

MLA Andrew Weaver launches petition to end ‘schoolyard bullying’ in teachers’ strike

Oak Bay-Gordon Head MLA says binding arbitration is not as risky as province claims

An online petition calling on the B.C. government to accept binding arbitration in the ongoing teachers’ strike is racking up signatures across the province.

The petition, launched Monday by Oak Bay-Gordon Head MLA Andrew Weaver, asks the province to agree to binding arbitration to settle the labour dispute, something Education Minister Peter Fassbender has firmly ruled out. By Wednesday afternoon, the petition had already reached more than 20,000 signatures.

“This tells me people are beginning to recognize the government’s position is unreasonable,” Weaver said.”The government is fear-mongering about how much it will cost to move to binding arbitration, but that’s not accurate because you put forward your best package and both parties have to justify their submissions.”

NDP leader John Horgan also called on the government this week to make the “unprecedented” move to accept arbitration. Horgan said if the government is secure in its belief its wage offer is fair, it should have no concern about the results.

“We’re in uncharted territory, where we’ve had the longest strike in B.C. history, and it’s time we put an end to it,” Horgan said.

Fassbender, however, reiterated his rejection of binding arbitration this week, calling the move “a ploy” by the union.

“Arbitration is not something this government is going to consider,” he said.

Weaver, who has twice been chief negotiator during faculty labour negotiations at the University of Victoria, said arbitration is a time-tested process that won’t throw the province’s finances into disarray, as Fassbender has claimed.

Weaver hopes to garner 50,000 petition signatures over the coming days to increase pressure on the government.

“Education has been my life,” he said. “The hostility the government is showing towards the BCTF is troubling. … It’s putting our next generation in the front lines of a dispute that goes back to 2002 when Premier Christy Clark was minister of education. The government is acting like a schoolyard bully. And you know what, boys and girls: it’s time to grow up.”

-with files from Tom Fletcher

editor@saanichnews.com

 

Just Posted

Cooking with ‘Killer’

Reporter Dawn Gibson shares some of her favourite meals to make

Vic-Alert faces tidal wave of registration after tsunami warnings

City of Victoria system is free and provides early warnings of disaster

Tsunami warning after earthquake rattles Saanich residents

Scenes straight out of a disaster movie unfolded across Saanich Tuesday morning… Continue reading

Oak Bay reception centre at the ready for tsunami warning this morning

Local officials hold off on evacuation; warning ended shortly after 4 a.m.

Sirens don’t sing in tsunami warning for Esquimalt

Officials pleased with process, say sirens would have been activated had threat escalated.

WATCH: Greater Victoria residents gather at higher ground during tsunami warning

Ocean Boulevard and the Esquimalt Lagoon reopened shortly before 5 a.m. Tuesday

Touring art from war-torn Syria on display at Cedar Hill

Behind the Lines: Contemporary Syrian Art, Jan. 24 to Feb. 5 at Cedar Hill Arts Centre

Andrew Scheer on trade, Trump and Trudeau

Canada’s Conservative leader begins three-day visit to B.C.

Victoria’s most wanted for the week of Jan. 23

Crime Stoppers will pay a reward of up to $2,000 for information that leads to arrests or the seizure of property or drug

Victims restrained, sex toys and cash stolen from B.C. adult store

Armed suspects sought in adult store robbery

Babcock, Goyette and Smyth honoured at Order of Hockey in Canada

Mike Babcock, from Saskatoon, guided the Detroit Red Wings to a Stanley Cup in 2008

Bell Canada alerts customers who may be affected by latest data breach

Federal Office of the Privacy Commissioner said it had been notified

‘The tsunami alarm failed my household’: North Coast residents concerned over sirens, alerts

People living in northern communities share how they learned about Tuesday’s tsunami warning

Most Read