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VANCOUVERWell-known Canadian educator Heather-jane Robertson will present the keynote address opening CUPE BCs education conference Defending Public Education in Vancouver at 8:00 p.m., Thursday evening. The conference continues through Saturday, November 20.

Robertsons presentation will focus on the conference theme, which is the impact of privatization on public education in B.C.

On Friday and Saturday, conference delegates will meet in sectoral groups to discuss how privatization is affecting all aspects of public education in BCfrom K-12 to post-secondary and to develop strategies for defending public education in the lead up to the provincial election.

Government funding of public education in BC purports to be increasing, says Barry ONeill, president of CUPE BC. However, on close examination it is clear that real funding of education in BC, like social services and health has declined under the Liberals. As with health care the education sector is extremely vulnerable to Liberal privatization schemes.

Guest panellists will include Robert Chisolm from Nova Scotia where there has been an intense battle to thwart privatization in K-12, Heather-jane Robertson who brings in a pan Canadian perspective and from BC, Robert Clift, representing the Coalition for Public Education.

On Saturday, November 20, CUPE BC will launch a new one hundred and thirty page book entitled BC School Watch: Examining the fine print in K-12 education.

The book examines the Liberal legacy of cuts in K-12 funding and compares the results in BC to date with jurisdictions throughout Canada and the U.S.


Barry ONeill, CUPE BC President, 604-916-8444 or Louise Leclair, CUPE Communications, 604-454-4711.