EDMONTON, AB: The NDP government appears incapable of properly consulting with Albertans before introducing legislation, and is repeating the same pattern as Bill 6 with legislation for teachers and school boards, the Wildrose Official Opposition said today.
Bill 8, The Public Education Collective Bargaining Act, creates a new Teachers’ Employer Bargaining Association (TEBA) to negotiate at the provincial level with the Alberta Teachers’ Association. It is presently being pushed through the house by the NDP.
In an open letter penned by the Alberta School Boards Association to the Education Minister, they said “school boards have not yet been provided the opportunity for meaningful consultation or discussion with Alberta Education about the contents of this bill.”
“Wildrose will repeat the message we have been saying on Bill 6 – the government needs to slow down, and allow for proper consultation with the stakeholders directly impacted by new legislation,” Wildrose Shadow Education Minister Mark Smith said. “We have one chance to get this right, and it is a disservice to Alberta’s teachers and school boards to rush through such important legislation.”
The Calgary Board of Education has weighed in, saying they are concerned about the speed of the legislation, and have, “many questions.”
Bill 8 would create a two-table bargaining system with teachers, where negotiations would take place simultaneously at the provincial and local levels. It will not be completely clear before the bill passes which issues are handled at which table.
“The fact of the matter is, Albertans have no trust that the NDP will get legislation right,” Smith said. “We have seen what can happen when school board negotiations go awry – it impacts all students and their families.”
Wildrose will continue to urge the government to consult with those impacted by legislation, and end their current trial by fire way of governing.