News that the B.C. Teachers' Federation has reached a tentative deal with the provincial government is good news.
But it also feels a little like both sides simply got tired of fighting with each other.
The deal struck between the union and the government expires in just one year, next June. And it's probably not a coincidence that, in between, British Columbians will go to the polls to vote in a new provincial government.
The NDP is heavily favoured to win. If it does so, the BCTF will be negotiating with a friendlier leader in Adrian Dix. That doesn't mean things won't be hard; Dix might opt to draw a hard line in the sand, knowing he would have four years to mend bridges with teacher-sympathizing voters. But the odds are that teachers will get a better deal from the NDP.
The BC Liberals, meanwhile, rid themselves of a huge distraction and a possible millstone before next May's election. And, if they do win, they would have a mandate from voters to double-down on their net zero pledge.
This is probably good news for parents. Teachers will be allowed to participate in extracurricular activities, report cards will be filled out and the uncertainty that has pervaded the last year will be gone. And the aforementioned politics should mean that the next round of negotiations, in 2013, won't end in an antagonistic stalemate.
It's not all good news, however. Both the union and the BC Liberals had a chance to show that they could work together towards a common cause.
But both sides showed a bull-headed stubbornness that is disturbing coming from the people who are our elected representatives and the educators of our children.
Neither the teachers nor the government acknowledged the valid points made by their counterparts, and both used negotiating tactics that only increased the tension. We hope next year's talks proceed in a more positive fashion.
They could hardly go worse.
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