Reflections on 15 Years Covering BC’s School Wars

Vancouver Sun reporter Janet Steffenhagen was the BC education reporter for 15 years.

She witnessed some key moments and controversies, such as the passing of Bills 27 and 28 in 2002, which stripped teachers of the right to negotiate class size and composition during bargaining. The teachers’ union (BCTF) took the government to court over the decision, which eventually ruled in the union’s favour in 2011.

(Notice how the government still won’t negotiate on class size and composition in this strike? Could it be that Christy doesn’t like getting a judicial slap on the wrist and has turned the current dispute into a personal grudge match? Does Christy and Fassbender actually care about kids and education or are they more concerned about settling an old score?)

She covered the regulation reform of offshore schools, which bring the province’s curriculum to students in countries like China, South Korea, and Thailand, after receiving emails from teachers in some of those schools that complained about bully administrators and attempts by parents and students to bribe teachers. Many schools started as businesses owned by B.C. school districts, but the majority are now owned by entrepreneurs from countries overseas. It’s unclear if B.C. receives any direct financial benefit from the schools.

One of the questions asked by Kati Hyslop of The Tyee online magazine – the complete article may be read here – was:

So when government, education organizations, unions, etc. say that they’re doing this for the kids…

“There have been times when I just said in my mind, ‘No, you’re not doing this for kids, you’re doing this for other reasons.’ And those other reasons might have validity, too, but when you know this is the goal, don’t say this [other thing] is the goal. Say, ‘Yeah, we’re doing this for this reason, and I’m sorry, but sometimes the kids were secondary.’

“Here’s an example coming up: the 10-year deal. [Is the government] really doing that to have peace in school for kids? I’m not saying the government’s going to do it, because I’m not sure that legally they could — but if they were to impose a 10-year deal, then you’ve got an unhappy workforce for 10 years. You don’t have a strike, but do you want to have unhappy teachers for 10 years? That’s not going to benefit kids.”


When government officials like Peter Fassbender or Christy Clark tell the listening or viewing public the government is protecting the budget by refusing to give in to teachers demands, helping parents with their absurd offer of $40/day child care (only paid AFTER strike settled, so that promise does diddly-squat for the majority of parents who need the funds right now), or the government needs a 10 year contract (ordered by Christy Clark) with the teachers for financial stability and helping school kids, I have to wonder how dumb the Fassbender and Clark think the BC public are.

I can’t blame Fassbender for the remarks he has been making during his tenure as Education Minister, as he is simply doing as any good little boy in the BC Liberal government; doing exactly what Christy tells hm to do.

Peter wants to move up the political money train now that he has left the job of mayor of Langley (and quickly grabbed the $60,000 as a Translink director)  saying “I’m not going there because I’m going to get extra pay. I want this to work. I’m prepared to put in the effort.” Yeah. Right. Anytime someone says it isn’t about the money you know darn well it’s all about the money. Gee whiz, Peter, do you really think the voting public is so gullible you can talk to them like their idiots?

If there is a Guinness World Record for stretching credibility there would be a first-place tie between Fassbender and Clark.

If there was a Guinness World Record for best puppet operated by a politician it would be Fassbender.

BC Liberals line their own pockets with wads of money, but there is no money for teachers.

Christy Clark and her Liberal government always say there is no taxpayer money when bargaining with teachers or other unions, but always have wads of money to line their own pockets.

B.C.’s teachers and many provincial government workers might have been forced to accept “net-zero” contracts, but several staffers working for premier Christy Clark and other cabinet ministers have received substantial salary increases.

A Freedom of Information request show that nearly half of 34 ministerial employees who were named received a raise in the past year with an average 10-per-cent increase.

The lowest increase was six per cent, the documents show.

One executive assistant in Clark’s office saw her salary jump from $51,300 to $61,560, a 20-per-cent hike. Source:

Considering the Liberals spend about 18 days in the legislature each yearly session that’s pretty good pay for an executive office assistant. But then maybe the job entails traveling around the province, country, or the world as part of Christy’s team. Maybe that’s part of the reason government credit-card expenses are so high under Christy Clark.

The disturbing revelations of Auditor General John Doyles audit, this link in the Public Accounts for the financial year ended March,2012 will give you an idea of larger sums for staff, and suppliers -both Liberal and NDP.

But those figures pale beside the data on government credit-card spending in 2012. Take a look at the credit card spending for the fiscal year ending 2012….  and indeed you will find much more information on how the Christy Clark and her BC Liberals spend tax dollars on themselves – much more alcohol, gifts, jewellery, trips and events,favours, treats, dinners,tickets….. you name it, government is paying for it… and all on the taxpayers dime.

In total,the Office of the Premier’s credit card expenditures in the fiscal year ending March 31st 2012 were…  are you ready for this?
$475,015.79  !!!

Under Christy Clark, the office of the premier has had more than a 100% increase  from the dearly departed Campbell, who in 2010/2011… spent a mere $205,139.95 in his last ( not even) year in the premiers office.

If you still think Christy Clark and her BC Liberals are refusing to negotiate fairly with BC teachers because Clark and Fassbender are protecting taxpayers, then take a look at the purchases in this link,  and the one to Legislative expenses and ask yourself if this government is working with the best interest of the public they serve… or if they are working to serve themselves.

Christy Clark spent $15million taxpayers dollars on partisan government ads on the very unsuccessful BC Jobs Plan…. …. all while claiming she controlled government spending.

While claiming to have reigned in government spending, under Christy Clarks leadership the BC Liberals added $11 Billion dollars to the provincial debt and obligations.

Sorry Christy, but I have a hard time believing anything you say. One thing I do know; the BC Liberals have tons of money to spend on themselves. And don’t get me started on those wonderful pensions you voted for yourselves.

Is sharecouponcodes a scam, fraud, or something else?

Authors of ebooks are always an open target for scams and other nasty business. Today I was notified of yet another site I never heard of offering one of my free ebooks, this time with a coupon code and a “Buy from Amazon” button.

A “Buy from Amazon” button for a free ebook, plus offering a coupon code for a special discount seems a bit much even it the outfit offering this ebook is an Amazon affiliate.

I mean, c’mon, offering to sell a free ebook? With a coupon code? That is so wrong.

I don’t have a coupon code for this or any other ebook on Amazon. Heck, I don’t have hardly any of my ebooks on Amazon because of the problems I’ve had with them over the years.

Is this coupon code site some kind of scam or fraud perpetrated on Amazon? Or just another Amazon affiliate?
From the page for my ebook on sharecouponcode14:

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Link to web page where you can see the buy from Amazon buttons:

(Page link active on August 30, 2014, but I don’t know how long the site will be around.)
Other ebook authors might want to check their listings on this site.

This could be some sort of Amazon affiliate site, but having a buy from Amazon button for a free ebook seems to be a little much.

UPDATE: Reply from Amazon Support states “…can confirm we are not affiliated with this website.” The reply doesn’t go on to say whether or not the site is operated by an affiliate or what, if anything, Amazon may do about the site. I’ve replied to Amazon asking for clarification.

841 Sudoku Puzzle Spectacular in PDF


A spectacular collection of 7 sudoku puzzle PDF ebooks containing 841 puzzles, all in one downloadable zip file. The regular value of these ebooks is $12.93, but this super collection can be yours for just $4.99.

This special edition contains alphabet sudoku, symbol sudoku, and star sudoku puzzles, each of the 7 ebooks in their own individual ebook PDF format. All these puzzles are large format puzzles which you can easily print out and solve then check your answers against the solutions in the PDF file.

Get your collection for yourself, or for a friend or relative, at the link here.




July ebook sale

Two ebooks on sale during the month of July, 2014.


Final Decree. A Dead Dog Divorce.

A thieving wife, Elspith Winters, loots their joint bank accounts then convinces her friends her husband is having an affair in order to cover her tracks. Despite the years of planning she did in preparing for her Final Decree, she never once considered being outwitted by a smart female lawyer.

A story of one hellish divorce, based in part on real events, and a cautionary tale for both men and women.

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"Dopey Stories cover"

Dopey Stores by Ted Summerfield

“Dopey Stories” is a collection of 7 short stories: Bob the Road Painter; Minnie Tushi meets her love in Bald Knob; Bob and the Dickheads; An Ordinary Man; The Dumb Clucks Who Caused All The Trouble; Sal Acious meets Tim Orous; and The Beautiful Ms. Ann Thrope. The stories may make you say “huh?”, as they are a little weird.

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