The Editor: Open letter to George Abbott, Minister of Education,
Since the dispute you waged against teachers in our province, I find it hard to put into words my feelings of astonishment towards your latest choices in this dispute.
Although I certainly did not vote for, nor have I ever been a supporter of your brand of Neo-Liberalism, I was under the assumption that you would at the very least know the definition of the word "mediator."
Your latest action of appointing Dr. Charles Jago as the mediator to settle the dispute between the B.C. Liberals and the teachers proves otherwise. Let me provide a definition for you, as defined by HG.org Legal Directories:
"Mediators use appropriate techniques and/or skills to open and/or improve dialogue between disputants, aiming to help the parties reach an agreement (with concrete effects) on the disputed matter. Normally, all parties must view the mediator as impartial."
The last word, "impartial," is the key here.
Let's break it down even more. Impartial means to show a lack of favouritism or bias towards a particular side. Dr. Jago reviewed and was able to "wordsmith" a draft of Bill 22 before it was tabled. To be impartial, one must be free from preconceived opinions.
Dr. Jago is now being asked to interpret this very legislation as an impartial mediator. Impartial is synonymous with words like neutral, detached, disinterested and non-partisan.
In 2006, under the Campbell Liberals, Dr. Jago was hand-selected by the government to prepare a progress report of B.C.'s education system.
Surely, there must be someone in our vast province that has mediation experience and knowledge of the education system, while having a less intimate relationship with one of the parties in this dispute.
Gillian Ewart Richmond