Okanagan teachers' association likes education minister
The Central Okanagan Teachers' Association remains impressed with the selection of George Abbott as education minister, according to the COTA president.
Tuesday afternoon Alice Rees said that while Abbott had not been in his cabinet post for long before the Liberal leadership race froze government, she nevertheless liked his openness and was glad to have him back in the position under Premier Christy Clark.
"He was very open to the issues in education and it was a breath of fresh air," said Rees.
When Abbott first assumed the position last October, he reportedly contacted the president of the B.C. Teachers' Federation himself, spoke with her about the issues and offered her his cell phone number so they could be in close contact.
Entering into the first round of contract talks this month, Rees said she is feeling more confident about the government's stance on negotiating the teachers' new contract as well.
"In the past, all of our agreements have ended up being settle by the legislature and they've said not this time," Rees said.
From the union's perspective, even seeing the government say it will not step in and legislate the contract is hopeful as it gives teachers the opportunity to fully negotiate through to conclusion, offering promises of a much better outcome from the process.
"It takes a willingness to find solutions, not just to find the word 'no'," Rees said.