British Columbia

B.C. Liberal candidates release platform details

Reports indicate B.C. Liberal leadership candidate Kevin Falcon plans to push for merit-based pay for teachers if he becomes premier next month.

Carbon tax, education key issues

B.C. Liberal race

11 years ago
Several party leadership candidates held duelling news conferences Tuesday, competing for attention, the CBC's Stephen Smart reports 1:49

Several candidates running for leadership of the B.C. Liberal party released key details of their platforms on Tuesday.

Shuswap MLA George Abbott said he supports a provincewide referendum on the future of the controversial carbon tax.

Abbott said if he is elected party leader next month he will add a question to the June referendum on the harmonized sales tax asking British Columbians whether they support putting the carbon tax on hold for three years.

Abbott also promised an independent, third-party review of the B.C. Rail compensation decision that cost taxpayers $6 million.

Abbott is one of six candidates in the running to replace B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell, including former cabinet ministers Kevin Falcon, Mike de Jong and Moira Stilwell, former deputy premier Christy Clark and mayor Ed Mayne.

Falcon pushes merit-based pay for teachers

Meanwhile, Health Minister Kevin Falcon is floating the idea that public school teachers should be paid according to their teaching skills, not their length of service or level of professional training.

George Abbott says he support a referendum on the future of B.C.'s groundbreaking carbon tax. ((CBC))

According to an article published in the Globe and Mail, Falcon — who is also the MLA for Surrey-Cloverdale  said he would push for a merit-based pay system if he becomes premier after the party's Feb. 26 leadership vote.

However, B.C. Teachers' Federation president Susan Lambert is appalled at the idea.

"I think it's a terrible policy suggestion by someone who doesn't know teaching and doesn't know education and doesn't know a school, a good school, should work and should operate."

Lambert said she strongly believes merit-based pay would be a detriment to the school system.

"We're all striving for excellence in teaching and in public education," she said.

"We do have a very, very good public education system and it's built on a vision of cooperation and collaboration among the professional staff. You don't want a competitive culture that rewards some and not others and turns teachers and schools into winners and losers."

Leadership rival Mike de Jong also added some planks to his platform, saying he'd cut government spending by reducing the number of cabinet ministers from 24 to less than 20 and have ministers publicly report on their expenses.

A sixth person entered the Liberal leadership contest Tuesday — Parksville Mayor Ed Mayne.

Mayne said he'll bring some fresh ideas and more credibility to the race.

The Feb. 26 Liberal vote comes after Gordon Campbell stepped down in November amid attacks on his leadership over the HST.