British Columbia

How much has B.C. spent fighting the teachers' union?

The NDP's education critic is calling on the provincial government to publicly release how much money it spent fighting the B.C. Teachers' Federation in court.

NDP education critic Rob Fleming wants to know how much the legal battle has cost tax payers

B.C.'s teachers' union has been fighting the government over rights to negotiate class size and composition for over a decade. (CBC News)

The NDP is calling on the provincial government to publicly release how much money it has spent fighting the B.C. Teachers' Federation in court.

The union and the province have spent nearly a decade battling over teachers' right to negotiate class size and composition, including additional staff support for students with learning disabilities.

But, the government won't reveal how much it has cost taxpayers.

Earlier this week, a B.C. Supreme Court justice ordered the province to pay $2 million in damages to the BCTF, following an April 2013 ruling that found interfering with teachers' bargaining rights to be unconstitutional.

Fleming said the government's refusal to declare its legal bills is unacceptable, especially considering Monday's massive payout order.

"They should come clean on how much it's cost us so far and how much its likely to cost us in the future," he said.

"That's the very least that [B.C. Premier Christy Clark] owes the people of British Columbia this week," he said.

Clark said the government will likely appeal the court's ruling, meaning yet another round of legal bills.

with files from the CBC's Stephen Smart


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