Till debt do us part

The British Columbia Teachers Federation and the Canadian Teachers Federation are headed for splitsville. And, as is the case with many divorces, money problems are at least partially to blame. Writing in the April editon of Teacher Newsmagazine, provincial federation president Irene Lanzinger says she "found little sympathy at the CTF table for our continued attempts at advocating cost-reduction measures for the CTF." This, despite the "escalating costs of membership" associated with belonging to the national educators organization - costs that, according to Ms. Lanzinger, were in excess of $800,000.

And that essentially amounted to taxation without representation. Because, "the CTF's Executive Committee currently has to a single representative from the four western provinces of BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba." As a result, in accordance with a resolution passed at the British Columbia federation's annual general meeting last March, Ms. Lanzinger's union is leaving the Canadian federation effective August 31.

Asked what the national organization's reaction has been to that resolution, the provincial president told Public Eye, "They are concerned about it, certainly. And I've had discussions with a number of federation presidents. But I think their major concern is that they want to maintain their status as a national teachers organization. And the West Coast is an important part of that."

Ms. Lanzinger said rejoining the national organization is a possibility. But, she added, "I think it's unlikely to turn around in the next year or so. Because the fees for the CTF are about $800,000. So we've already figured out where to spend that money" - which includes a proposal to increase grants to some of the union's larger locals.

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