Sunday, August 31, 2014

Don't miss the last Star Party of the year!

Opposition Education Critic calls for education minister to step down

New Democrat education spokesperson Rob Fleming released the following statement on the breakdown of talks in the education dispute:

“With just two days left before the start of school, it is clear Education Minister Peter Fassbender has utterly failed kids and families in B.C. Either he should admit he is not up to the task and step down, or Premier Clark should remove him.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Bill 24 consultations ignore voices of farmers

Dear Saanich South,

I'm writing today from Cranbook, where I am attending another one of the government's sham "consultations" on changes to the Agricultural Land Commission. The consultations were scheduled for the middle of summer – that’s when farmers are farming. I've heard from many in the agriculture community that they just don’t have the time to participate at this time of year so their voices will not be heard.

Let’s not forget that 90 per cent of our ALR lands are now open for development because of Bill 24.

If the B.C. Liberals really wanted an authentic process they wouldn’t have chosen the time of year when participation would be lowest. At a minimum, the Minister of Agriculture should extend the consultation process until the end of the year.

As it stands, this process is deeply flawed, and will result in a report and regulation changes to the ALC that agriculture stakeholders can’t even review before it is final.

Bill 24 removed protections for 90 per cent of ALR land, opening it up for development. The B.C. Liberals failed to consult with farmers before bringing in the bill and pushing it through in the spring legislative session.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Public schools are worth fighting for!

Dear Saanich South,

Check out this video with a message about public education, from John Horgan, MLA and Leader of the Official Opposition – it really speaks to his values and why public schools matter.
As the MLA for Saanich South, I remain actively engaged with efforts to resolve the dispute between the B.C. Liberals and public school teachers.
I’m also a parent of a grade eleven student in public school. And I’m a citizen who believes passionately in the importance of accessible high-quality K-12 education for all, regardless of one’s ability to pay.
That is why I argue strongly that the BC government must pay teachers fairly and address widespread concerns over class size and composition.

It is also why I am disgusted with the BC Liberal’s efforts to undermine public education in this province. Premier Clark is starving our schools and harming the education of a generation of public school students. Diverting funds allocated for public education to off-set the child-care costs for parents is an attack on the foundation of public education and a poisoning of negotiations that will only make it harder to find common ground with teachers.  
There is a sliver of hope in the recent news that another round of negotiations between the parties to this dispute will begin tomorrow. I wish them well. A resolution must be found immediately, the new school year is supposed to start in less than a month.
Public pressure is required to force the government to understand that they will be held to account if they cannot provide fundamental public services, including a vibrant and successful public education system.
Please continue to make your voices heard – in letters and phone calls to the Premier, on social media, by attending rallies and joining teachers on the picket line, and speaking up for public education with your friends, neighbours and colleagues. Public education is a cornerstone of democracy and with the BC Liberals in power we have no choice but to fight to protect it.
Keep in touch: or 250 479 4154.
Lana Popham, MLA Saanich South

Other recent posts on education:

Jun 20, 2014
Public Education is the foundation of Democracy. Dear Constituents of Saanich South,. As you know, public school teachers across the province are out on strike. They are demanding improved wages, smaller class sizes and ...

May 27, 2014
Premier Clark has been a constant factor in this government's decade of conflict with teachers in B.C. As education minister in 2002, she passed a law that led to larger classes and less support for students with special needs.

Feb 03, 2014

Dear Saanich South, Last week a BC Supreme Court Judge exposed the rotten underbelly of the BC government's relationship with teachers and the public education system. The BC Supreme Court reviewed secret cabinet ...