Statement of YCL BC Provincial Committee
The BC Liberals have proposed legislation that would send BC’s teachers back to work without collective bargaining or the right to strike. This legislation, called Bill 22, threatens the democratic rights of all workers in BC. The Young Communist League of Canada BC Provincial Committee condemns Bill 22 for seeking to terminate the basic rights of working people to bargain collectively and to strike.
Teachers are seeking improvements to public education such as smaller classes and more resources for special needs students. , Under the cynical slogan of “Families First”, The BC Liberals are attacking teachers through slander and threats. In the process, they are aggravating the problems with BC’s public school system and hindering the students who depend upon it for their education. Bill 22 uses a “cooling off period” and sham “mediation” as tools in the Liberal’s ongoing union busting efforts. Violations of the imposed restrictions being placed on teachers’ right to strike will result in millions of dollars in fines, a clearly punitive action on the part of a government.
The Young Communist League supports the struggle of the BC Teachers’ Federation and the efforts of the BC Federation of Labour, local labour councils, and others to stand strong against this anti-democratic, anti-worker legislation. We also applaud the impressive and inspiring actions of BC high school students in staging walkouts and rallying to support high quality public education.
The alternative to high quality public education is private education. The spread of private schools would mean a two-tier education system. One tier of high quality education for those who can pay the high cost of tuition fees, and another insufficiently funded tier for the majority of British Columbians.
The BC Liberal government’s time in power has been disastrous for working people, youth, and students in this province. This is the government of big business carrying out the interests of the socio-economic class they represent.
The attack on unions and on public services is part of the broader offensive on working peoples’ working conditions and living standards aimed at saving the capitalist system its current crisis by making working people pay for a situation they did not create. Youth and students should fight to stop Bill 22, to defeat the Liberal government, and ultimately to replace the capitalist system with one in which working people themselves will set the priorities for our communities and teachers and students will be valued, not criminalized and demonized. We call that system socialism.