Letters Nov. 13: Leadership needed to end school strike; Don Cherry’s comments

We need leadership to end school strike

How do we get John Horgan to not tolerate further job action in the Saanich School District?

I was listening to CBC Radio news and heard our premier state that he would not tolerate an escalation in the transit strike on the Lower Mainland.

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How can he (or anyone else) tolerate another week away from school for students in this school district? Students are suffering and families are scrambling to find care for kids who can’t stay home alone.

We need an end to this job action so students can get back to school. We need leadership on this issue, and we need it now.

Legislate, mediate or declare education an essential service (as it should be).

Anne Megan Berg, mother of a Stelly’s Secondary student
North Saanich

Double standard for transit, school strikers

Re: “No additional funding to end school strike, province declares”; “Premier warns lengthy transit strike ‘won’t happen on my watch,’ ” Nov. 9.

I find it extremely rich that Premier John Horgan warns that “a lengthy transit strike won’t happen on his watch” while representatives declare in a separate article that his government won’t be providing additional funding to end a strike by Saanich School District support workers — a job action with stalled bargaining and no end in sight.

Does this government have a higher regard for the convenience of Vancouver commuters than the 8,000 students and their families who are being greatly inconvenienced by being unable to attend classes?

Maybe Horgan should go back to school to improve his understanding of basic arithmetic. His government states that the two per cent increase for each of three years is the most generous wage increase offered in over a decade. That may well be true, but when our wages are the lowest in the province, as they are in Saanich School District, our two per cent works out to be a lot less than the two per cent our counterparts in districts with higher wages will receive. It’s simple math. And we fall further and further and further behind.

Disappointed doesn’t begin to express my feelings toward this NDP government. My colleagues and I have been caught in a provincially mandated snafu of epic proportions. Do something, Premier Horgan.

Bobbie Turner
North Saanich

Province needs to implement wage parity

Re: “B.C. needs to break impasse in school strike, says union boss,” Nov. 8.

The strains associated with the Saanich school strike obviously are starting to show, with Dean Coates, the president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 441, firing off a broadside at the provincial government over funding.

An unusual move to say the least, given the union’s close relationship with the NDP. That said, it would appear that Coates is more than justified in pointing the finger at the NDP government, given the inherent vagaries of the funding policy for the respective school districts.

As Coates so rightly points out: “This fight is more with the government than our employer... .”

To that end, perhaps the minister of education will recognize that his government is the key to the solution in this labour dispute and get on with serving the public interest by implementing a more realistic wage parity/funding policy that fits all of the province’s school districts.

Exercising leadership is the only option if this debacle is to be resolved in everyone’s interests. Time to do the right thing, minister.

Clive King
North Saanich

Education minister needs to end strike

Six members of the Victoria Raging Grannies joined the picket line at Lochside Elementary School on Thursday to show our support for the strike to bring hourly wages of education assistants and other support workers in Saanich School District up to par with those of their colleagues in Sooke and Greater Victoria districts.

Rob Fleming, our provincial minister of education, needs to address this issue right away. The strike has been going on for two weeks already, so surely now he should be coming up with some sort of compromise to settle it.

Both the children and their parents are suffering from this shutdown, as well as those on strike.

Daphne M. Taylor

It was time for Cherry to go, anyway

The reactions of many regarding Don Cherry’s comments are predictable and understandable. What is never mentioned, however, is that Cherry had become totally irrelevant in terms of hockey knowledge.

He was a true Neanderthal who continually referred to Bobby Orr (a great player who hasn’t played in many years) and his coaching record (he hasn’t coached since the ’70s).

He made a fortune with his video sales that featured fights and rough hockey that no longer exists in today’s game. It was time for him to go.

Bob LeBlanc

Immigrants’ important role in wars

That hockey impresario Don Cherry may know nothing of history cannot be considered news, but his attack on immigrants, whom he imagines are unaware of wartime sacrifices, deserves at least equal time. For this, I wish to take note of the role so-called “British India” played in the First World War.

During 1914-1918, British India (then a colony) included territories that eventually became India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. In the 1916 census, some 1.65 million Canadians (almost five per cent of Canada’s current population) gave India, Pakistan or Bangladesh as their country of origin.

In the First World War, the Indian Army contributed numerous divisions and brigades to the European, Mediterranean and the Middle East theatres of war. Over a million Indian troops served abroad, of whom at least 62,000 died and another 67,000 were wounded.

Sikh soldiers fought in Flanders Fields in the first battle of Ypres five months before the Canadian Expeditionary Force arrived, among them Khudada Khan — the first Indian soldier to be awarded a Victoria Cross.

Divisions were also sent to Egypt and nearly 700,000 served in Mesopotamia (including Gallipoli) against the Ottoman Empire. The Indian Army also fought against the German Empire in East Africa. Other divisions remained in India to guard the North West Frontier (bordering Afghanistan) and to serve on internal security and training duties. Among allied forces, the Indian Army (240,000) was second only in size to the British (247,000).

Field Marshal Claude Auchinleck, commander-in-chief of the Indian Army from 1942, asserted that the British “couldn’t have come through both wars [First World War and Second World War] if they hadn’t had the Indian Army.”

Shame upon us if we remain ignorant of sacrifices made by forebears and families of those who have chosen to immigrate to Canada from places other than Europe. Ignorant views count for nothing.

Franklin White

Cherry had bully pulpit for too long

I was wondering when the powers-that-be were going to fire Don Cherry, and I am glad they have finally done so for his racist comments. I do not know what Canada he is talking about, but I was gratified to see many Canadians of colour like me proudly sporting poppies at the Remembrance Day commemoration at the cenotaph in downtown Victoria on Monday.

And Cherry, now that you have some free time, read some history. Maybe then you will learn that, were it not for the Indian Corps from India manning the British line around Ypres in 1914-15, the Germans may well have broken though and we would be all speaking German.

Cherry is just another redneck of the Trumpish variety. Pity he had such a bully pulpit for so long. He wasn’t even such a great coach, as his too-many-men-on-the-ice gaffe showed in 1979.

Chandar S. Sundaram, PhD

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