Cranbrook teachers gathered outside the Heritage Inn on Tuesday evening to catch the attention of Premier Christy Clark as she arrived there for a campaign rally.
“The election is looming. We need Premier Christy Clark and the BC Liberals to pay attention to our message. We need to stop being attacked for public education. We need to stand up for teachers and students and families,” said Shelley Balfour, president of the Cranbrook District Teachers’ Association.
Local teachers stood outside the hotel with signs decrying the state of education in School District 5.
“We need the premier to listen to what we’re saying. It’s not about a bunch of union rabble rousers out here. We have a message; we need her to listen,” said Balfour.
“Christy is always touting about families — we are about families. We’re trying to give kids smaller class sizes. Their class sizes are our working conditions and we need to tie those together and make sure that somebody is listening to this message.”
The B.C. Liberal government announced in January that it hopes to work with the B.C. Teachers’ Federation to draft a 10-year collective agreement with teachers in order to provide more stability for students.
“To be honest, that’s nonsense. Who would sign that? Not in this climate we have. What are our guarantees? Ten years locked into an agreement makes no sense to any one of us,” said Balfour.