EDITORIAL: Deja vu all over again

Bigger picture regarding important issues gets lost in the digital age

The instant gratification digital age has detrimentally affected everyone’s ability to see the bigger picture, both as it relates to the past and the future.

Two current issues paint a picture of this myopic attitude.

Christy Clark is not the first premier to talk about how the process for the way government and teachers bargain is broken.

Somehow, because she has said it recently in this round of contentious bargaining, it becomes a new thing, like some kind of revelation. It is not.

The characters change in the premier’s office and at the top of the teachers’ union, but the same script is spoken every few years.

The facts are, enrolment is down in many jurisdictions, in some places dramatically, like Parksville Qualicum Beach. When the formula used to fund the system is based on per pupil numbers, the pot is smaller. It’s not rocket science.

The teachers also say, every time their contract comes up, they are fighting for the children and the level of their education. If they were only asking for smaller class sizes and a return of supports and enhancements like aides and librarians, that would be more believable.

The BCTF says the average salary of a teacher in B.C. is $71,485. While the BCTF is coy about its wage-increase demands, some reports indicate the BCTF is asking for 16 per cent over four years, 21.5 per cent if you work in the increased costs to benefits and reduced workload.

You can read the same phraseology, the same comments from both the government and the teachers, in any labour dispute between the parties for the past four decades. As Yogi Berra said, it’s deja vu all over gain.

Meanwhile, Island Health’s board of directors and president/CEO paid a visit to Parksville Qualicum Beach last week, and spoke about the lack of palliative care beds (there’s one) in the region like it was a new thing that they are tackling in a timely manner.

This is another decades-long issue that has been ignored for just as long by Island Health. Our region continues to be home to older and older people, increasing the need for palliative care beds.

These are not new issues. All of the parties involved should stop treating them as such, admit culpability and move to make real, systemic changes so we’re not talking about the same things in another 20 years.

— Editorial by John Harding

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