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Teachers Burmashave near the announcement
COMMENTARY · 18th June 2014
Walter McFarlane
The Burmashaves which started on Monday, June 16th continued onto Tuesday June 17th, across from where Christy Clark was scheduled to speak. Clark had clearly picked the worst possible day to come to Kitimat as not only was a teacher strike eminent but it was also the day which Harper had chosen to announce the government’s decision on the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project.

The teacher’s Burmashave was joined by protesters from Douglas Channel Watch. There were clearly more teachers then there were members of DCW, and several members of both parties were spotted at the announcement, minus their protest signs.

Council had been informed by Staff Sergeant Phil Harrison at Monday night’s Council Meeting that: “Demonstrations are fully legal in Canada.”

During the speeches the faint sounds of the honking horns supporting one group or the other could be heard in the distance. None of the speakers drew any attention to them… Until Mayor Joanne Monaghan stepped to the podium 18 minutes into the announcement.

“I’d just like to apologize for some of the noise in the background and the disrespectfulness of what’s happening because of this great, great celebration we’re having with the Haisla Nation today,” said Monaghan.

Yesterday, when we were talking to Kim Meyer about the Burmashaves, she told us they were going to remain off the Hospital land, at Centennial Park, out of respect for the ceremonies which were going on. Douglas Channel Watch similarly asked their members to be respectful to the Haisla.

Following the ceremony, Monaghan emailed a notice to Margaret Ouwehand of Douglas Channel Watch concerning the lack of respect. The Kitimat Daily was provided with a copy.

“This was not respectful to the Haisla. This was one of the greatest moments in the government between the Haisla and the DOK and all we could hear were blaring horns. How Disrespectful and a shame on our community,” wrote Monaghan. She encouraged Douglas Channel Watch to have waited until later.

The issue here is the protestors have the right to protest. Clark visited Kitimat on the day the Teachers went out on strike, the day Harper was supposed to announce Enbridge, the Day the **** hit the fan.

Teachers prepare future generations to face the world and receive little in the way of respect for it. They want better learning conditions in the classroom first and foremost. Pay is second but is an understandable concern in a world where the cost of living outpaces people’s salaries. The Enbridge Protesters are people who are concerned about the level of risk which the proposed project will bring to the place they call home.

But neither of them were really the group which the Mayor of Kitimat slighted. The keyword is “Noise.” The protestors were distant specs from the podium, but the sound of the drivers, honking their horns, heard faintly in the distance, yet overpowered by the microphones at the ceremony.

Her choice of the word noise points at the drivers being the ones who were disrespectful in the show of support.

Regardless, the Mayor’s apology was not very respectful to the ceremony either, detracting from the importance of the transfer of the hospital lands. Do two wrongs make a right?

Heaven forbid a wedding procession drive past the ceremony.
Douglas Channel Watch were also present to encourage the Premier to stand to her 5 conditions
Douglas Channel Watch were also present to encourage the Premier to stand to her 5 conditions
Maybe they were honking at this guy???
Maybe they were honking at this guy???
speaking about ironic
Comment by Jim on 21st June 2014
How ironic teachers protesting their contract situation to get the attention of Christy Clark
beside dcw protesters protesting the Enbridge pipeline that would put billions of dollars in tax revenues in the BC economy and perhaps make
it more affordable to pay the teachers more money in wages and benifits

One principle only!
Comment by DR on 21st June 2014
Ok so in my mind it doesn't matter why people were demonstrating or honking their horns. Whether this was in support or opposition to the teachers, Douglas Channel Watch, Embridge, the Haisla developments or Christy Clarke. Lord knows they all have questions to answer! The only thing that matters however is that residents of Canada are allowed to express their opinion in a peaceful manner. This is a very important part of our precious democracy. To label any of this activity as 'disrespectful' is a rather ironic! Surely the need by some to stage manage events this week, begs the question whether they feel their opinion is more important than others? I'm all ears!
Disrespectful to Christy Clark?
Comment by Pam Vollrath on 20th June 2014
Vern, I have no problem showing disrespect to Christy Clark as she shows NO respect at all for the 41,000 teachers and however many students there are in this province attending public schools! But this post was not about the teachers, it was about our Mayor not understanding why it was necessary to have a rally on this particular day, at this particular time, when Chrusty Clark was in town.
Life is not perfect
Comment by Garry on 20th June 2014
If we lived in a perfect world the Teachers would have all demands met and we would have no pipelines of any sort. But money does not grow on trees and a way to pay teacher demands needs to be found. I am hoping the LNG plants come as that will rise some funding but now people are protesting against those also and if they do not come this town of ours could have a lot of empty houses and stores again. As for the Teachers, they enter the job knowing what to expect and things change on them but on balance they are not bad off compared to others, they can enjoy Christmas, Easter and other things with family, many in the workforce can not do this as they are working, they can have summer off with family, many others can not. I know teachers who have picked put work over summer months. I know things are hard for them now but there are others facing the same problems think of nurses for example. I would like to see some of their demands met but we first need to find a way to pay for it and at the same time put money into the Health system. Having some industrial development while not perfect will put money into the system which can help, without industrial development our area and our province will see more cutbacks.
Re: talk about disrespect
Comment by Dave on 19th June 2014
I'm positive the Haisla peoples are on the side of the teachers and against a risky pipeline thru their ancestral land with little or no profit.
Imagine that you Vern, are a teacher in BC. You would have the benefit of being one of the lowest paid of any teachers in any other province in Canada. BC has the benefits of the largest class size ratio, less funds for student supplies, curricular activities etc.
How would you like it Vern, if you received no vacation pay, big deal that you get two months off..what do you live on... fresh air and sunshine?
Your workmates and you win a supreme court ruling but the govt apparently is above the law and complying and actually being caught in a lie in trying to gain concessions because of the Supreme Court ruling.
I agree with Trin7 and everyone I know feels the same way..Exactly when is the next election??
I wonder if who is against the teachers is a member of a union and enjoying the fruits that where earned.
Not respectful..end of story !
Comment by CEM on 19th June 2014
It may be the right of the people to have a "peaceful protest" but peaceful it wasn't if people were honking their horns. It was obvious they knew Christy Clark was there and the protestors were making their point.
The real story that this whole strike is not benefitting the children in the end. This is why we need all the economic benefits that comes our way. More money for education, more money for more hospital care, in every way the people of Canada want to live, less poverty, getting people off welfare, keeping taxes down, good pensions, on and on.
Talk about disrespect
Comment by Trin7 on 19th June 2014
So Vern thinks protestors should have waited for Christy Clark to leave town before there is a protest?? The point of a protest is to show a point of view. The teachers are losing pay because of the strike/lock out and Enbridge protestors are showing Clark that we don't want Enbridge near our waters. If protestors waited until she left town I doubt she would have received any messages. The protest was very quiet, even the horns were barely heard from the distant event. Monaghan was the only disrespectful person that I saw. Monaghan has heard how most of Kitimat feels but she doesn't seem to care. So much for a democracy. Exactly when is the next election??
Not respectful
Comment by Vern on 18th June 2014
People may have a right to protest but this was the wrong place and time to do so. It was very disrespectful to the Haisla people on this important day for them. Also disrespectful to the Mayor and Christy Clark. The pipeline is far from a done deal as all conditions must be met, if they are I can accept it provided we can refine it before it is shipped. The teachers want improvements but should be reminded that everyone in the workforce has seen increased workloads over the years not just them and we the tax payers will see more money removed from our pockets to give them what they want. At least large projects should they come will go a long way in putting money into the system which can then go to schooling and healthcare.
No disrespect intended
Comment by Pam Vollrath on 18th June 2014
Considering what was happening that day, anyone not expecting a rally regarding the Enbridge or teacher concerns, were being naive. The protesters were a respectful distance away and many of the honkers in support were, in fact, First Nations people themselves! There were also many who were present at the ceremony who, afterwards, commented how appropriate our presence was at that time, considering Christy Clark's attendance. No-one else seemed to be bothered by the honking vehicles that I'm aware of.