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Rallies planned in Surrey over teacher dispute

Unions organize protest at Education Minister Peter Fassbender's office Tuesday, parents marching in Holland Park Wednesday.
A rally drawing attention to the ongoing teacher dispute is planned Tuesday (Sept. 2) at B.C. Education Minister Peter Fassbender's office and parents in Surrey are organizing a walk for Wednesday (Sept. 3) evening in Holland Park. This photo was taken during a teacher rally in Cloverdale in June.

A pair of rallies are planned in Surrey this week to protest the ongoing teachers' dispute and the delay of the new school year for thousands of public school children.

While there was a glimmer of hope late last week that mediator Vince Ready might be able to bridge the gap between B.C. Teachers' Federation and government negotiator Peter Cameron, Ready left the bargaining table Saturday, saying the two sides remained too far apart.

As of Tuesday morning, teachers across the province were back walking picket lines at all public schools, leaving parents to make alternate plans for their children.

The B.C. Federation of Labour (BCFL) has organized a series of "solidarity rallies" this week – the first being one planned for 5 p.m. today (Tuesday) outside Education Minister Peter Fassbender's office. He is also the MLA for Surrey-Fleetwood.

“The BC Liberal government just doesn’t get it,” said Jim Sinclair, President of the B.C. Federation of Labour in a release. “We know that the majority of people in this province support teachers and overwhelmingly agree with the issues they are fighting for.”

Subsequent BCFL rallies are planned Wednesday at Premier Christy Clark's office in Kelowna, Thursday at Labour Minister Shirley Bon'd office in Prince George, and Friday at the B.C. Liberal Cabinet office in Vancouver.

Meanwhile, a concerned group of parents in Surrey is planning to hold a walk in Holland Park Wednesday evening "for the right to education for our children."

The initiative, organized in part by parent Meera Gill, is intended to remind both the BCTF and government that there is an "important corner of this triangle, our children."

Holland Park is located at King George Boulevard and Old Yale Road. The walk is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. There is a Facebook page about the event here.