Letter: Taxpayers deserve money refunded for teachers strike

Dear Editor,

Time to Refund Taxpayers for School Dispute

It’s happened to all of us at some point. You go to a store, pre-order something, pay for the purchase, and wait for it to arrive.

But what happens when the order never comes in? What if you don’t get what you paid for?

The remedy is simple: you demand a refund.

This summer, British Columbians have been put in that exact situation, thanks to the ongoing labour dispute between the provincial government and the B.C. Teachers’ Federation (BCTF).

Taxpayers paid more than $200 million in taxes for educational services which were not delivered in June. Therefore, we should get a refund.

The teachers’ dispute started with three weeks of rotating strikes, which saved government $18.5 million per week. When they went to a full strike, the savings grew to $80 million for each of the last two weeks of June.

More has been saved with the cancellation of summer school.

Government has a responsibility to refund that money, at least $200 million, to the people who paid for the educational service but didn’t receive it.

That works out to roughly $40 for every man, woman, and child in B.C. For a family of four, that would be $160 – certainly a welcome amount for households that burned through vacation days or had to hire unexpected childcare during the strike.

When the Canadian Taxpayers Federation first suggested a refund, the BCTF’s social media horde lashed back, claiming that the money “belonged” to education.

But tax dollars actually belong to taxpayers – not to government, not to “the system,” and certainly not to labour unions.

Refunding this money would be a great way to support local communities. Taxpayers would have a few extra dollars to put into their local economies, rather than seeing it languish in Victoria.

More importantly, it would also keep up the pressure on the provincial government that comes with fiscal restraint. The last thing taxpayers should want to see after this protracted labour disruption is the government buckling to the BCTF’s demands and rewarding teachers for striking by handing them the $200 million.

The BCTF believes itself to be a “social movement,” which makes it virtually impossible to negotiate a deal with.

While each and every other government union has settled two or three reasonable contracts with the province over the past six years, the BCTF has engaged in bitter personal attacks and strayed far beyond a mandate to promote education, instead fighting every major economic development in the province.

For those who believe public education is underfunded in B.C., they could take their $40 refund cheque and donate it to a local school district foundation.

Others could use the money how they see fit.

Premier Christy Clark and Education Minister Peter Fassbender have been suspiciously tight-lipped about how the strike savings will be spent.

If you believe that money should be refunded to taxpayers, please sign the petition at www.taxpayer.com.

Jordan Bateman, Langley (B.C. Director, Canadian Taxpayers Federation)

Just Posted

A community with eight Toastmasters groups hosted the annual B.C. conference

Jim McGregor has worn many hats through the year, from father and… Continue reading

Olympic auditions return to Langley

An opportunity for unknown competitors to shine and, maybe, change sports

Langley Anti-SOGI activist slams ban on dad speaking out about transgender son’s case

A judge has told the father to stop publicly objecting to his son’s gender

Langley firefighter climbs World Trade Centre in honour of 9/11 fallen

The local man is fundraising for the Memorial Stair Climb

What’s age got to do with it? B.C. couple with 45-year gap talks happy marriage

An Armstrong couple that has 45-year age gap began turning heads after being featured on show Extreme Love.

Child, 11, accidentally shot in chest by 13-year-old in southern Alberta: RCMP

Child taken from Hutterite colony to nearby hospital Monday

Ceremonies, vigils planned in Toronto to honour victims of deadly van attack

Many of those who helped that day — first responders and Good Samaritans alike — still affected

Easter bombings a response to New Zealand attacks, says Sri Lanka minister

The Islamic State group asserted it was responsible for the nine bombings

PHOTOS: New commemorative loonie marks progress’ for LGBTQ2 people

But advocates say it mistakenly suggests equality has been achieved largely as a result of government actions

Man charged in fatal Salmon Arm church shooting to appear in court

Matrix Savage Gathergood charged with first degree murder, aggravated assault

RCMP looking to retrace steps of woman found dead on Kelowna beach

Caitlin Midori Bradley, a 29-year-old dancer at a Kelowna bar, was originally from Surrey

Two back-to-back earthquakes strike off Vancouver Island

The first earthquake happened at 1:27 p.m., the second at 2:44 p.m.

5 to start your day

Gas prices continue to remain high, torched SUV in Vancouver linked to shooting and more

Most Read