A response to the release of the B.C. Skills for Jobs plan and the increased emphasis on LNG in our provincial educational system
I am seriously concerned with the direction our Provincial and Federal Governments have taken in regards to the ongoing increase of international corporations interfering in our governments, in our educational priorities, and circumventing the Canadian Charter Of Rights and Freedoms. We need only look at how federal resources are being used in the case of the Kinder Morgan Pipeline on Burnaby Mountain, with the RCMP arresting citizens for standing and protesting in a public park. It begs the question: whom does our government really serve, the People, or the interests of internationally owned Oil Corporations?Even more disturbing is the fact that Kinder Morgan is suing Canadians in the civil courts, merely for taking a stand and practising their civil-rights under the Charter. I am concerned about Christy Clark and the B.C. Liberals’ release of the B.C. Skills for Jobs Plan and what this means for education in our province and nation.
In addition to the numerous environmental aspects, I am opposed to the Pipeline due to the fact that the B.C Liberals are planning to overhaul and re-engineer education as we know it. The focus is about the “LNG opportunity”: in their plan, 25% of provincial operating grants to public post-secondary institutions will be re-designated towards training for high-demand occupations and jobs that meet labour demands. In addition the blue print discusses changing the K- 12 system to provide more relevant ‘hands-on training’ for students. This plan clearly represents the further erosion of the educational system by the B.C Liberals, and an end to the concept of universal or global education. Our futures are at stake. I am outraged by this plan to shift focus in our education system towards supporting the emerging LNG industry. Are we to abandon educational freedom and critical thought? Education is a fundamental right, government and corporations should not determine what is relevant education. Financially pressuring school funding and educators into conforming to political agendas and corporate desires results in not only a loss of individual freedoms, but a loss of information and innovative ideas that are natural products of a well balanced multi-disciplinary educational system. Students should not be forced and funnelled into programs solely to be the fodder of the LNG industry, because the government wants a “labour force”.
The plan itself is little more than a joke. What is the educational benefit of channeling youth into vocations so as to provide the required LNG labour market? Has Christy Clark considered what happens to these workers when construction is complete? It’s hardly a benefit to our economy if the workers are forced to leave B.C and to go elsewhere to find employment, or is she including spill cleanup as a viable solution to keeping workers busy in our province? It is rather humorous that she continues to maintain that taxpayers – also known as citizens – would benefit from the pipeline, especially given spill track records! Unless the B.C. Liberals consider that spill cleanup will actually provide adequate economic benefit to cover provincial losses and the enormous cost to taxpayers associated with any spill cleanup, the longterm taxpayer cost of having our drinking water permanently contaminated, or the cost of resident evacuations, the collapse of the B.C fishing industry, health costs associated from exposure to toxic, carcinogenic chemicals? Since Christy Clark happens to be the premier of B.C., one might wonder what ‘pipe-dream’ she subscribes to, since she doesn’t seem to take into account reality or even financial risk assessment. Christy Clark’s Liberal government is actively ‘dumbing-down’ the educational future of an entire generation for short-term economic and political gain. Further, it will be the citizens of B.C who will be mired in the tax-sands when it comes to paying for spill clean ups and other longterm environmental consequences.