Advance View: Deal could use more respect

We are pleased – as everyone should be – that an apparent agreement has been reached and preparations are getting underway to get B.C. children back into classrooms as quickly as possible.

But it was hard to suppress a few guffaws as we listened to announcements about the deal from both sides of what became an unnecessarily long and bitter dispute between the adults in whose trust we have placed the education of our children. And by that, we mean not just the teachers, but the politicians who are supposed to set this province’s education policies with the best interests of our children in mind.

Indeed, that “best interests of the children” phrase was one that had us nearly choking as we listened to Premier Christy Clark and Education Minister Peter Fassbender, and then BC Teachers’ Federation president Jim Iker, speak of the “dedicated leadership” it took on both sides to reach this “important” agreement.

Clark credited the “patience” of parents and the public in general with “giving us the space” to reach a reasonable conclusion to the dispute.

Patience? Truly, we didn’t see much of that. There was certainly plenty of anger and frustration, some outrage, and maybe a certain amount of resignation… but patience?

If that’s how Clark and all the others interpreted the general mood of the populace, perhaps it explains the rancour they appeared to feel was acceptable, while children lost weeks of schooling.

Maybe if they had all interpreted the public’s mood more accurately, the dispute would have been settled when it should have been: many months ago.

While in the end they may have mutually decided to pay lip service to respecting each other, the patronizing commentary from both sides of the settlement show that neither has a great deal of respect for the people they’re all supposed to serve.

– B.G.

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