BCTF – Be careful what you wish for

A quick note to British Columbia school teachers before tomorrow’s (Sept. 10) vote to end their current strike – if the government will agree to binding arbitration:
Be careful what you wish for.
Before marking your ballot do a quick review on why in our form of democracy we have a parliament. Shouldn’t take long. In simplest of terms we have a parliament because the people, a few centuries ago, decided they wanted to take control of the spending of their tax dollars. They no longer trusted the King, the sole arbitrator to spend wisely.
It’s why in British Columbia we have a provincial parliament which, every spring, presents its spending budget for the next fiscal year. Every item in that budget is presented to the Legislature in session for full debate, spending item by spending item.
To make sure the votes are properly spent there is an oversight committee – The Public Accounts Committee – which vets every substantial dollar spent.
While it is all done “in the name of the Crown” only parliament through a duly elected government can authorize public spending.
The government can appear politically compliant in times of dispute and agree to let an arbitrator act on its behalf, but that’s a dangerous game and surely in violation of all parliament was created for: to control the public purse, not to hand control to an arbitrator – or even the courts.
It’s why the government must reject binding arbitration. It may be a great, and sometimes only, way to settle industrial labour disputes. But decisions on the spending of public tax dollars belongs to the duly elected government – not the King, not the BCTF, not a third party arbitrator however wise and fair.
Every four years the people of BC will decide whether their government’s actions have been in the best interests of the majority. And that’s the way it should be in a democracy.

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