Sunday, August 31, 2014

With the Impasse - Now What?

Many people, teachers included,  may be asking  - with the impasse at the bargaining table - Now What?

I'm a teacher and I'll tell you Now What!!

Now we find out if we have the power of our convictions.  If we have the fortitude, the commitment to public education we claim, the inner strength to face the demons of uncertainty, despair, tyranny.  If we have the will to shake off that which oppresses us.  If we have the inner strength to stand up for what's right.  If we believe in each other and solidarity.  If we can overcome our fears, our anxieties, our worries, our inner voice that says "I don't want to do this"... that screams to pass it to someone else.  These times are the worst of times, but they will make us, not break us.

I'm Richard Giroday and that's my commitment.

Release the Kraken!  
An open letter to the Citizens of British Columbia

Two things I've noticed that stand out more and more clearly in the crisis in education and need to change:

First, Christy Clark's name never appears in association with the government's dispute with teachers. She has very effectively been insulated from this crisis in public education. Her PR department in the premier's office has orchestrated her detachment from the entire situation. Rarely have I seen her name mentioned in relation to the crisis.

Yet she is the initiator of the entire situation from the get go in 2001/2002 when she was Education minister and stripped the teachers' contract.  She continued her involvement when her cabinet would not bargain in good faith and used teachers and students as pawns for political gain prior to the last election (as revealed by Justice Griffin in her judgement against the government). And continues today as her government continues to use children as pawns for political purposes.

It is imperative that the connection be made! She should never be allowed to hide through political machinations from her actions and continued actions over the last 12 years and throughout the current bargaining period. This lies at her feet.

All must use their voices and all means available to place the blame where it belongs.: At her feet.  Fassbender is the puppet, but the puppet master must be held accountable in the public's eye. Citizens of British Columbia, when you use your voices in letters and social media, let it be heard who is at the root of this.

Secondly, the general public have not been made fully aware that government is entrenched in a position to prevent successful completion of the court case. Government's insistence on trying to negotiate out of the court case is the impasse at the table. They will spin it ever which way they can in the winds of media. But the bottom line is they want to negotiate their way out of the court case. To this end they are inflexible in demanding the establishment of contract language which will nullify any result against them in the BC Supreme Court of Appeal.  Hence the demand for government proposals E81 and E80 at the bargaining table. Both which would do that for them.

They took E81 off the table but refuse to take E80 off the table.  The last sentence of E80 states: 

(Note: These provisions supersede and replace all previous Articles that addressed class size, composition and staffing levels.)

Effectively wipes out the results of the pending court case before they are determined.

This is the impasse at the bargaining table.  This is what the government now is hiding from the people of British Columbia.  This is what they place in the shadow of their political spin.

The government has placed the outcome of a pending court case before the education of the children of British Columbia.  Shame.  

Time to release the Kraken!!

Richard Giroday, Prince George, BC

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Election Web v1.0 - Who shall I vote for

Lots has been said and revealed throughout this election.  Often people miss those opportunities as they were not able to see or hear or read what was available.  Click on the graphic below and you will find links to many of the major developments over the election campaign and prior.   Hopefully this can help you make a decision regarding who to vote for.

The Tangled Web 2.0

Some time back I had created a graphic containing a myriad of links that was the result of significant reading on BC Poli.  The readings kept bringing things to light that were seemingly unconnected, hinted a connection, and were very connected. It has been enlightening to many.  I took the information I was viewing and linked it together visually.  I connect the dots better visually and hoped it would help others to do the same.  I called it "The Tangled Web of Intrigue 1.0".  At the center of it was Christy Clark.  Today we've moved forward in time but not much has changed.  In fact, problems have deepened, and scandals have worstened.

As I updated "the tangled web" (now "The Tangled Web 2.0") so much became clearer, and a broad perspective was revealed of the risk our province is under should the Liberals form government again (heaven forbid). The most telling of all is the way Christy Clark has conducted herself in the current BC Election.  In the words of Brian Hutchinson, columnist for the National Post, she has run an election campaign to "misinform, mislead and make up stuff".  It is beyond belief that in this day and age a politician of any stripe would attempt such a bold faced plan.  Yet it stands before us day after day as she presents these inventions from her mind to the public.  Are these the actions of a delusional individual?  Are they the actions of a pathelogical liar?  Or are they the actions of a cold, calculated individual who gives no thought whatsoever to the means they use, only caring what the end result will be, with a personal belief that the end justifies the means.  When one explores much of the recent scandals it really hits home.  We have been governed by a group of people for which the end justifies the means.  This is the saddest commentary on the state of affairs of those who are trying to control our government.

The word that comes to my mind was coined by the Phillipine community in their response to EthnicGate as they spoke of how they left their home country to escape the "Trapos" in government. [In the Philippines, a politician that engages in unsavoury conduct is known as a "trapo," a contraction of the words "traditional politician." Many Filipinos have fled the country to seek a better life as a direct result of the decisions and indiscretions these individuals have committed. They perpetuate systemic corruption in government which has led to the decay of aspects of Philippine society.]

Never in all my involvement in BC politics have I seen such a broad reaching failure of those from whom we expect good governmental leadership to "keep the faith". To place the citizens of BC first and foremost when actions are taken and decisions made.  The Government of British Columbia is not their private playpen.  From illegal legislation; to selve serving use of government staff, taxpayers money, and government resources; to blantant misinformation, and made up "stuff"; to the creation of legislation and direction of crown corporations to reward corporate entities; to the hidden mechanisms for pulling monies from hard working families and leaving massive debts; never have I seen the such.

I remember the NDP of the 1990's, there were good years for some and not so good for others.  I remember the "have you had enough" rallies, and the hard work to bring Reformers and Liberals together. The many meetings to unite the right.  Many worked hard to elect an individual they thought would represent the people of his riding.  I was one such.  Unfortunately, the first thing he tried to do after being elected was convince me why it was good to sell BCRail. Well the Liberals lied about BCRail.  They lied about the HST.  It's not hard to see how people disenfranchise themselves and say who cares if I vote.  When simple integrity is lacking on major commitments of that nature what is underneath.  What is driving the government?  Who is driving the government?  Who "owns" the government?

I've noticed a pattern in government - I call it the 12 year cycle.  The first 4 years are a honeymoon.  New MLA's are learning the ropes, establishing themselves, collectively the caucus is coming together and voices are heard.  The next 4 years, people are established, emboldened by the governments re-election, there is a certain level of disconnect from the voters, a desire to move forward philosophically, to modify the province, remake it over in a form that the "powers who be" are now promoting within the government.  Entrenchment is taking place.  It is not too long until entitlement will replace it.  Strong voices who have become well connected and entrenched are beginning to form the agenda.  And finally in the last 4 years, corruption sets in, scandals emerge, people choose their own paths, a sense of entitlement reigns, a view of "we can do whatever we want" it let loose.

That doesn't happen always I'm sure.. but the last 12 years have sure left that impression on me.

Tonight I have an opportunity to speak to a group of people to "raise awareness of the importance of voting".  One thing I do know.  It's important to vote.  In spite of its failing and flaws, our democratic system is the envy of most.  We are not tortured for our vocal opinions, we are not forced to conform to a specific way of thinking, we may choose freely our candidate and vote for them.  No one chases me away from the polling booth.  We are greatly blessed with these amazing freedoms.  It is important that we retain them and maintain them.  We do that by exercising our privilege to vote each and every time we have an opportunity. It's important to be as informed as I can.  We all have different reasons for voting the way we do.  I think that's the challenge and the magic of our electoral system.  We are free to choose and we may choose based on what we feel, believe, want, and know.  In the end, on Election Day some will have their fire snuffed out, while others will move forward.  In all, we'll say "the tribe has spoken" and move forward.

It is good to keep in mind, the day after the election: the sun will still shine; our families will still love us, the water will still flow in the tap, there will still be food at the grocery store, you may make a little more or have a little less and perhaps you'll find your children are happier at school, and you got your broken ankle set in 1 day instead of 4 days.  Hopefully if we've collectively made the wisest decision, our lives will improve and we will prosper greater.

To help you with that decision here is the Tangled Web Version 2.0:

I'm Richard Giroday and that's my ramblings.