WATCH: With less than two weeks to the beginning of the school year, and no progress in the talks between BCTF and province…can one woman’s stunt help bridge the gap in the dispute? Brian Coxford explains.
A White Rock parent wants both the President of the BC Teachers’ Federation and the Education Minister to cool things down, literally.
The province and teachers have been embroiled in a bitter labour dispute for months, and with less than two weeks to go before the start of the school year, it does not appear the two parties are any closer to reaching a deal.
So Emma Knowles and her two sons decided to get both Peter Fassbender and Jim Iker to take up the “ice bucket challenge,” the viral fundraising campaign that is currently raising money for ALS research.
“We decided we were going to challenge them to melt the ice in the room and get our kids back to school in September,” says Knowles. “We teach our kids to try to negotiate and agree on things. It seems to us that it is really childish that these guys cannot get it together and sort it out.”
WATCH: Emma Knowles and her two sons issue an ice bucket challenge to Peter Fassbender and Jim Iker
This afternoon, the education minister took up the challenge.
Fassbender challenged every education minister in Canada to do the same.
WATCH: Peter Fassbender does the ice challenge
Meanwhile, Jim Iker also accepted the challenge, but on Wednesday told Global News he is in meetings in Kamloops and said it would have to happen up there.
Global News has not heard back from Iker’s office today.
Iker has released another statement, however, saying Fassbender’s media tour is a “contravention” of a media blackout.
“It is unhelpful that the Minister is again playing politics in the media instead of allowing bargaining to resume behind closed doors. It shows a lack of integrity and highlights the government’s ongoing attempts to derail meaningful negotiations,” said Iker.
Fassbender appeared on the Morning News Wednesday saying he wants to see the school year start on September 2, but would not reveal much on how negotiations have been going, citing a media blackout on specifics.
Fassbender says there are no meetings scheduled at this point between the BCTF and the government, but the government is eager to get back to the bargaining table and is ready to negotiate 24/7.
Knowles says many parents in B.C. are frustrated and want the two parties to find a solution before September.
“This seems to be going on for a long time. We need to get those guys in the room together and get the negotiations on the way,” she says. “I cannot, for a moment, imagine that my kids will be off school in September.”