Taken from the Kelowna Daily Courier. I particularly like the part about the Premier’s Drink Driving Conviction. As usual, the politicians are above the law.

Take a stand, urge teachers – by CHUCK POULSEN The Daily Courier

The principals and vice-principals who have manned largely empty schools were challenged Tuesday to take a stand against the Liberal government

Former Central Okanagan Teachers’ Association president Alice Rees, speaking to a union rally in front of KelownaMission MLA Sindi Hawkins’ office, termed Premier Gordon Campbell’s Liberals “bullies” and called on principals and vice-principals to support the teachers’ strike

“We are teaching the public about what public bullying looks like,” Rees told 300 union supporters. “We took the stand for our students because they are worth taking a stand for. We called on the public not to be a bystander, and the public said `what is above the law?’ Justice. They’ve got it

“Trustees around the province are telling the bullies to stop, and I raise the same challenge to the principals and vice-principals and their association. They have to stand up and tell the bullies to stop.” Almost all of the 1,260 teachers and 1,025 support staff in the Central Okanagan will be off the job for the third day today, keeping 22,000 students out of their classes

Participants in the rally were handed a leaflet picturing Gordon Campbell’s mug shots from his drunken driving arrest in Hawaii

Said Rees: “We are not criminals. If your face was on this picture, you would be drummed out of our profession.”

“They (the Liberals) are counting on you to break, but that is their biggest mistake,” Rees said.

COTA vice president Tom Potts also picked up the theme of bullying.

“How can we face our students and your children in the classroom with any kind of dignity and credibility and teach them that bullying is not OK; that they should not take a stand and be a bystander?

“This is the worst kind of bullying. In the face of their (Liberals) callous disregard, we have finally walked away. It is long past the time to practise what we teach.”

Ron Bobowski of the North Okanagan Labour Council told the teachers they have the support of the labour movement.

“Teachers are looking to take a stand for the kids and I want to let you know that we will be behind you until this is resolved,” said Bobowski.

George Popp of the BCTF in the Kootenays said the teachers’ stand is important to all workers.

“Working people for the last century have struggled, fought and died for their rights,” said Popp.

“The road ahead will be a rough, rocky one for working people in B.C. if we allow them to renege on a freely negotiated contract.”

Popp quoted Plato, saying: “Some laws are unjust, and just people must oppose them.”

Hawkins was not at her office, saying she had a dental appointment and then would be attending a meeting of the Canadian Home Builders Association.

“I think it’s absolutely fine for people to have the freedom of expression on what they believe in and express that in the way of demonstrating,” said Hawkins. “But no one is above the law and I think it’s unfortunate that the teachers’ union and other unions are encouraging people to break the law.”

She said issues such as class size and learning conditions should be discussed at the government-proposed “learning table” rather than through negotiations.

“Those discussions must include not only teachers but principals, parents and trustees,” said Hawkins.

That’s my political rant over.

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