Mar 052012

Here’s an important question: if teachers are willing to lie to the taxpayers who employ them, are they also willing to lie to the students?

A recent ad by the BC Teachers’ Federation—the teachers’ radical, pro-gay Leftist union—features a purported teacher pleading: “What we’re asking for is what students need.”

Really? Let’s have a look at some of the things they’re asking for:

• “Compassionate leave” for teachers when a friend dies. How does that benefit students? Cost to taxpayers: $80 million.

• A 22% pay raise at a time when governments are fighting deficits and debts that the students will have to repay in higher taxes when they graduate—if they can find a job in the socialist-crippled economy they’ll inherit. Benefit to teachers: a top pay rate that jumps from $74,353 to $90,944 a year . Cost: $618 million.

• Up to 26 weeks of fully paid leave per year to provide direct or indirect compassionate care to any person. Cost to taxpayers: $49 million a year.

• Eight days off a year whenever a teacher wants. $122 million a year.

• Topping up parental and maternity leave to allow up to 5 years of leave per child. Cost to taxpayers: $41 million a year.

• Five more days off for professional development, at teacher’s discretion: $80 million.

• Up to five days off a year to care for their child—or any other person: $80 million.

• Unlimited leave for union business. Who knows what that will cost?

• Benefit upgrades—taxpayers will pick up the full tab for MSP, extended health and dental, applying to all teachers: $82 million.

• taxpayer pays all professional fees: about $5 million a year.

• Improvements to On Call pay, including $2,200 per month whether they work or not. Cost to taxpayers: $60 million.

• Retirement bonus of 5% a year to any teacher with 10 years or more service at age 55. Total cost to taxpayers: $445 million.

The $2.184 billion price tag is actually only part of what BCTF demands would cost. Many other provincial government bargaining agreements have a “me-too” clause: if BC breaks its net-zero wage mandate, every other union will be able to use that “whipsaw” to renegotiate their contract to try for more.

And don’t buy the argument that BC teachers are underpaid compared to other provinces. Look at the facts:
The BCTF claim of “tumbling from third place to eighth” is inaccurate and misleading, because those place rankings were arrived at using two differing methods.

An accurate description of BC teachers’ salaries from 2006 to 2011, according to the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation:

• By one set of criteria, BC teachers ranked 3rd in Canada in 2006, and now rank 4th;

• By the other set of criteria, in 2006, BC teachers’ salaries ranked 6th in Canada, and in 2011 were 7th.

“But it’s for the children,” pleads the BCTF ad.

I think it’s a crock…

  30 Responses to “The Way It Looks to Me: Questions for the BC Teachers Federation”

  1. The teachers’ radical, pro-gay Leftist union?

    Radical? Maybe.
    Leftist? Sure.
    Pro-gay? Why is that even relevant? Would it be better if they were anti-gay?

    This sounds bigoted right from the get go.

    • Oh for Pete’s Sake! Did you not watch the rest of the video. This was not about whether he is pro or anti gay. Get past that and realize that what the BCTF is asking for is ludicrous and all for the ‘sake of the children’. My question to the BCTF is this: ‘Did you vote against the HST and therefore have it abolished so that we go back to the PST and GST? There goes 1.6 billion back to the federal government and still paying 12% tax on most things we buy. That 1.6 billion could have gone to the teachers but, alas, it will not. So get past the guys own opinion on what he thinks of the opposition party and listen to the facts of what is really going on in the teacher’s dispute!

      • not true. the hst was rolled out by the liberals as “tax neutral”. so either it was, and the basis if your argument has no merit, or the liberals were lying, and the basis of your argument has no merit

  2. I agree. The BC teacher’s union has been bigoted for years. Whatever happened to the days when teachers taught the basic skills of reading, writing, math and science, and left their bigoted anti-religious rhetoric, politics, and sex activism out of it. Mr. Gray’s adjectives may be straying off-topic, bit he’s nonetheless bang on with the description.

    As for the topic itself, I work 12 months a year maintaining this city’s infrastructure and get only 3 weeks vacation and 10 holidays. I make half what these “teachers” make and it sickens me that they want even more of my tax dollars. They have absolutely no sympathy from me or anyone I know.

    • all of these “demands” are outdated and the costings for them come from the bargaining unit of the government and are therefore inflated. each of these were posted FREQUENTLY in newspapers and on globalTV and all are no longer accurate.

      for the record, yes i am a teacher. i work between 35 and 40 hours a week and earn 30500 for doing so. the frequently repeated notion that teachers earn a starting salary of $45k is completely false. i’m in the third year of having a contract with a school board. my contract has been reduced every year as a result of budget shortfalls…

      and just curious – how is it that frankincensed (for example), who has a job, knows EVERYTHING that happens in classrooms to know that “activism” takes place? bigotry gets people fired, not promoted.

      keep ranting, but everything in this blog post is outdated or outright false.

      • You’re a teacher and you don’t even know what your union’s all about!? I shouldn’t be surprised. Well then, pay attention:

        1) The Communist Party openly supports the Vancouver School Board, featuring its members in their newspaper and website,, while Vancouver School Board member Jane Bouey solicited funds for that Communist organization. In 25 words or less, pensivecentrist, why do you think the Communists are so interested in our children’s education – and why do public school officials support them?

        2) Sex activist organizations like Pride Education Network and Out In Schools work INSIDE the public school system with the full knowledge and support of the VSB and the BCTF. In fact, members of the VSB and BCTF sit on the Pride Advisory Committee, which “recommended” to the VSB that Out In Schools be part of the public school system. Not exactly objective, but certainly activist.

        3) Bigotry certainly does NOT get people fired. BCTF member James Chamberlain (notable for telling his 5-year old students to “check your religion at the door”) is a documented liar and perjurer who has been spewing hateful, bigoted rhetoric against Christians and heterosexuals for years, and he simply moves up the ladder in the BC public school system, because that’s where bigots and activists prosper.

        How do I know all this? I read. I question. I apply critical thinking. Try it sometime.

        And yes, the BCTF has backed down SLIGHTLY from some of the demands noted in this video, but they’re still outlandishly greedy and unrealistic.

      • Calculator time! $30,500 for “35-40 hours a week”, or more accurately 1,265 hours per year in BC, is $24.11 an hour. Plus 3 months vacation each year and a huge pension after 35 years. For an undergraduate degree! Give me a break!

  3. I wish our newspapers would print all this information. This is a real eye opener for me.

    Thank you, Ejnar.

    • Newspapers are cowards, afraid to print the truth for fear of losing advertising revenue and union member readership.

  4. I hunderd

    I agree with these man. its just total greed,

  5. I am a self employed tax paying citizen of B.C. I am friggin tired of public sector unions asking for more wages and benefits, especially when the average British Columbian has seen a reduction or net zero increase in the past 4 years. I personally,have seen a 35% reduction in my income for 3 years. I employ 5 TAXPAYERS and they have made more than me for 3 years. Who the &^%$(*& do these socialist zealots think they are, passing thier greed ridden debt on to tomorrows taxpayer. They are selfish, greedy and oblivious to the world around them. If they don’t like thier wage and benefit package, move on. I say we need to privatize 75% of our existing government departments. The average teacher has never worked in the real employment world, they went to school, went to school and then went back to school.

  6. I found your editorial “somewhat” enlightening. However it is too bad that you had to color your comments with such terms as “pro-gay”. This would lead me to believe that you and/or your organization are homophobic. Therefore your comments must be discounted in their totality as bias is never a good place to start an educated discussion.

    • I see a couple of comments here that labelling the BCTF as “pro-gay” puts you off. Well, they are pro-gay, as a matter of record and behaviour. Teachers should not be “pro” ANY singular group, as it is a sign of prejudice against all other groups. Your use of the word “homophobic” is obviously a slur against Mr. Gray’s suggestion that fairness should prevail. The bias here is in your comments to dismiss the truth based on your fear of fairness and equality.

    • Give me a break,,what an idiot, so if you point out something that is obvious, such as the pro-gay agenda of the BCTF, then you are homophobic,,,if you disagree with something that makes you automatically phobic,,,is that it? Also, BCTF is greedy beyond measure, and I’m sure there are some teachers that just cringe at the demands that are being made..and if I am wrong about the teachers who disagree, then God help our next generation

  7. The way this could be going will lead BC and any other province dow the same path that Greece, Spain,Portugal and other so called progressive countries are on. Question is who will bail out BC, and will they and all the other unions that feed of the public tax dollars be willing to accept the cuts.And are unions willing to seriously admit that it is these shorth sighted demands drive jobs away. Poeple in countries that earn 1 Dollar a day would be glad to works for 2. Industry knows that, but Unions have their heads burried in the Sand. Hello, wake up


  9. I have no problem paying someone what they are worth, have the teachers demonstrated this? I haven’t seen it.
    Like James I am self employeed and support employees which have a greater income that me without the stress. Guess who are one ones that come to my retail busseness and demand a discount on their purchases, you’r right teachers. I only have a grade 8 education, my choice, even in the sixtees when I was in school the same crap was going on so I quite and have’t looked back.
    I say they should have to work in the real world for 5 years and get a real education before they are allowed to teach in that way we wouldn’t have their teachers passing on greedy habits.

  10. Yup, and the teachers are “allowed” to present the union’s position to their students.

    Hows about changing the way students are taught by embracing technology as a teaching tool? Every other industry has embraced for increased efficiency and improved production. Oops, can’t do that as that may require fewer teachers and the union would be small which would be bad for the students.

    Hows about instituting a voucher system so parents can choose which school their little darlings go to? Oops, can’t do that as many parents would opt to send their little darlings to non-union schools that might even pay their teachers more. That would mean a smaller teachers union which would be bad for the kids.

    And so on . . .

    Oh, and about the gay comment. I don’t really want teachers to be pro-gay or anti-gay in the classroom. Teaching gay lifestyles has no place in school. I would prefer they stick to teaching basics that they have failed so miserably at. There is no reason for any high school graduate not have a good command of math and be able to read and write fluently – all necessary to function in today’s society. The rest is up to the parents.

  11. Unfortunately, your “pro-gay” start through me off… others have pointed out above, it IS bigoted and homophobic.

    I agree with one of your readers who says “…move on” to teachers who feel they’re hard done by. Interestingly, teachers at Surrey’s Traditional Schools, as well as educators at many “private schools”, are paid considerably less, and certainly don’t have the “benefits” – but they do graduate highly educated kids who have the benefit of a good education without the politics and endless rhetoric. Kids who can compete for entrance into our universities. As if in the private sector – “move on….”, there’s a line up of folks who would replace each one of you in a heart beat.

  12. Are the BCTF demands out of line? I think yes. As a taxpayer, I wouldn’t want to foot the bill for those demands. Are their claims misleading? Yes. But let’s look at the big picture of what’s going on. I believe it is part of the BCTF negotiation tactics. When negotiating, you don’t ask for exactly what you would settle for. You ask for 50% to 100% more, then “settle” for what you would be happy with or a little more if you can get it. As for their claims, I wouldn’t of taken that route, but it’s their campaign to run as they wish.

  13. teachers should be compensated on the amount of students that pass their classes, the teachers teach and a third party grades the papers of every test. If the majority of the students are only getting 50% then the teacher gets paid accordingly. My father was a teacher and when he passed we had former students call to give their condolenses for the teacher that made a difference. I will not call any family with condolences of any teacher that I have had and I went to school when if you misbehaved you got the strap. In my opinion the teachers of today should not hold their jobs, should be held accountable for their actions and quit their whineing. I will never reach a point in my career where I get 12 weeks vacation. in just the first year of teaching you get 12 weeks vacation. If I didn’t do my job to 100% of my potential I would gradually lose my job. A teacher can’t get a student to pay attention so they let them text messsage during class time, listen to I Pods, don’t hold students accountable for homework or grades and then give them a 51% at the end of the year to push the problem onto someone else at the end of the year. If the teachers want to save money get rid of all the councellors in the city high schools. I went to a rural high school, no councilor, no problems. you didn’t want to learn you got kicked out, ( fired so to say ) from high school, your parents kicked you out of the house, let the world teach you lets pretend that all the teachers in BC work in a saw mill and lay them all off, listen to them bitch then.

  14. Wow! As a teacher I really feel slammed right now. I try my utmost to make a positive relationship with each of my students. I truly feel that I have gone above and beyound.
    Some parents (and I can’t group all parents together to slam them.) have not connected to the children I have taught and I ended up being more involved in some students lives than that of the parents.
    When I have seen bullying whether it is from being gay or of different race I have seen fatal results and have attended 3 funerals of former students.
    I have to go right now and prepare for my overcrowded and underfunded classroom right now or I could go on and on on this subject….
    I hope you can find some time to really educate yourselves about just how much teachers do. Good luck in that!
    Mrs. H.

    • As a teacher, you vote for your union leader and your union’s demands. The current union demands are over-the-top unreasonable and greedy. If you’re really interested in fixing overcrowded, underfunded classrooms, then redirect your union to address those issues. Unbridled demands for the personal gratification of teachers is the wrong way to go about helping our children. There’s no doubt that many teachers perform their jobs excellently, but to let your union put such an abhorrent face of greed on every teacher is simply unacceptable.

  15. I too, watched this video and was outraged. In fact I I was so outraged that I got hold of a copy of the BCTF document/demands and had a look at it. It turns out that it is nothing like the video. So people if you want to know the truth take the time to read the facts. Do what I did, seek out a BCTF office and go and ask questions, ask to look at the ‘paperwork’ and make up your own minds. Don’t believe the rubbish the news media puts out!

    • So…. believe what the BCTF says and not what objective journalists say? I don’t think so. I just looked up the BCTF’s latest demands. Yes, they have reduced many of them since this video was made – how could they not? Now their demands add up to “only” 1.3 BILLION dollars, conservatively speaking. Media “rubbish” – as you depict it – is quite open about the cost of the exorbitant BCTF demands. See . The BCTF’s own website is anything but open about the financially crippling effect their own demands will have on BC.

      • Thank you for your response, but once again you are not using useful facts. Your link serves no useful purpose at all as it takes us to another piece of propaganda. I could write propaganda too, if that was my bent. Yes, the media is quite open about what it thinks the cost would be, but what would the ‘real’ cost be. Show us how you did the arithmetic. Let me make it simple for you, show me and your listeners what the cost to the taxpayer would be if a teacher does win the right to take a five year leave of absence to raise a newborn child. Or, show us the cost to tax payers if a teacher takes extended bereavement leave, which may be the case if brother or sister was to die say, in Germany or France, etc. It may be of interest to your your readers and listeners to know that there is no pay demand attached to these requests, it is unpaid leave! That is not the impression you gave your listeners/ viewers. It’s quite easy to learn this information, all one has to do is be able to read.
        I do like your sense of humor, “Objective Journalists”, that’s really funny! Cooperative non disclosure is a common practice.
        Have a really nice day!

        • Now children, let’s not fight. Stan, Mike’s right that there is no such thing as an objective journalist. As for the 1.3 billion dollar price tag, how much higher is that than the current price tag? Even Mike doesn’t seem to know. Whatever it is, won’t it be amortized out over the coming decades? In effect, our children will be paying for their own education with their future tax payments. Let THEM do the math and complain if they will.

          Mike, isn’t it true that a teacher on leave is still a teacher on the books, and as such prevents another teacher from being hired to fill their absentee shoes? Unfettered leaves of absence would cause a tremendous teacher shortage in the system… leading to larger classes, for which the union is asking additional pay. The alternative would be fill-in teachers with absolutely no job security. And what other profession has such a liberal – and wasteful – leave policy?

          Stan, I’d drop any argument right now. You’re dealing with teachers who, after all, know it all. Mike, perhaps you should offer some links to support your claims. Or isn’t the requirement to “show your work” a basic education tool anymore?

  16. Its amazing that you are attacking the teachers for wanting these things. They asked for them and have been told no. Since then they have repeatedly stated that they were open to negotiations but even the negotiation process was denied to them. Teachers deserve a cost of living raise at the very least!!! Most of them would be happy to get this much. Yes, they have tried reaching for the moon but they know that what they are really fighting for is a bit more money and better supplies and conditions in the classroom. Most teachers are buying stuff out of their own pockets just to make sure that the kids get what they need! They care! They do extra work all the time and even will provide food for kids who don’t have enough to eat – I have seen it happen over and over again. The worst part of this whole thing is that they have been ignored and bullied but through all of this they have said over and over again that the things they want are NEGOTIABLE!!

  17. Is this the attitude of the adults we have entrusted with our childrens education? Display the utmost greed. Pretend its about the children. Lie about your unions willingness to negotiate reasonably. Did anyobdy once try to ask for just a cost of living raise and better supplies for the kids? I never ever saw that request in the papers. forget negotiating. There would be no reason for negotiating if you were reasonable in the first place. If most teachers would settle for this then get rid of the criminals and pollyanas who are representing you and then get back to work. My god what do you think your teaching our kids with this attitiude?

  18. The NDP are rising in the polls. Why is no one asking them how they would deal with this and other public sector union demands?
    Look where Manitoba is now. Is this where BC needs to go.

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