REALITY CHECK: Premier Clark’s cynical Bill 22 politicking hurts students

A number of points made by New Democrats - critical of BC government tactics in teachers' job action

Premier Christy Clark’s actions on Bill 22 show that instead of acting in the best interests of students, her Liberal government is using children as pawns in a cynical political game.

Here is what Premier Clark has said, and what she hasn’t done on Bill 22.

Derailed Question Period in a desperate bid to score political points

On the day that Bill 22 was introduced to the legislature the Premier demanded that the opposition break the rules of the house by asking questions about a bill that had just been introduced.

“These issues matter to families, and this debate needs to happen in this legislature.” (Premier Clark, Hansard, Feb. 28, 2012)

Premier Clark was cautioned by the Speaker twice for breaking the rules of the house by discussing a bill before the house during question period. Yet despite her insistence that the bill needed to be debated in the legislature, she has been a no-show in the Bill 22 debate.

Refused to debate Bill 22 in the House

Premier Christy Clark has refused to debate Bill 22 in the house. She has not spoken on the bill nor has most of her cabinet. Perhaps she should answer her own question from her question period derailment.

“What does it say about the priority they put on public education in this province if they refuse to even discuss it?” (Premier Clark, Hansard, Feb. 28, 2012)

While New Democrats have spoken to the bill and even suggested an amendment, Clark has refused to stand up and defend her bill, which removes class size and composition protections from classrooms.

Claims she doesn’t know where New Democrats stand

After hypocritically refusing to debate Bill 22, Premier Clark took to the airwaves and claimed that she didn’t know where New Democrat leader Adrian Dix stands on Bill 22.

“He needs to stop hiding his position with respect to Bill 22. I’ve been really clear about it and I think it’s time for him to come clean.”(Christy Clark, CKNW, March 12, 2012)

The New Democrat leader has taken an hour to speak to the bill in the house. He expressed his opposition to the bill during second reading and spoke in favour of a New Democrat amendment which would have de-escalated the conflict with teachers and brought in an independent mediator to settle the dispute.

In outlining his opposition to Bill 22 Adrian Dix said: ” This bill gives up on the future, gives up on the possibility of doing it better, gives up on our public schools. We will not support legislation that hurts class size provisions. We will not support legislation that hurts class composition provisions. We will not support legislation that puts an end to real mediation and imposes a disrespectful process on teachers.” (Adrian Dix, Hansard, March 7, 2012)

Meanwhile, although the Premier has never participated in the Bill 22 debate, she had the audacity to make this claim:


“I’ve spoken to it a lot, as you know. I’ve spoken to it, I think, every day.” (Christy Clark, CFAX, March 13, 2012)

Quote: “By grandstanding on one day and hiding from substantive debate on the next, Liberal Premier Christy Clark has made it clear that she is more interested in playing cynical political games than taking steps to get students back in classrooms with teachers who feel respected,” said New Democrat House Leader John Horgan.