When I went to Victoria yesterday I had 6000 signatures on the petition, “Parents Are Putting Kids First by Supporting Teachers in BC”. I thought I had printed a hard copy at home, but to my dismay my printer had run out of ink a 1/3 of the way through.
Through my sickly haze, (I was up all night feeling nauseous, headachy and generally ill) I got on the bus and went to Victoria despite my better judgement.
I thought that if I didn’t go, the petition would get lost in the shuffle. As it turns out, it almost did.
I had many people say thank you for starting it, and I was touched at their comments, but I felt I had let myself down. Add to that, when I got there I found out that there were no tickets left for Question Period, I felt defeated on a whole other level.
I hadn’t done my research.
Tickets are generally first come first served, but we had an MLA on our side that had reserved seats for the parents and students who were coming to the Legislature to support teachers.
Unfortunately, or fortunately really there was a large private gathering of people in attendance who got first priority on the tickets.
In my infinite wisdom, I solicited two of their members to find out if there was any way I could convince one of them to give up a ticket. I probably looked like some crazed white girl, sweaty, pale, and wildly disappointed that my trek to Victoria from Vancouver was a total waste.
I had no idea why they were there. All I know was they were being offered an apology by the Canadian Government for a wrong that needed righting. No surprise I thought but that was all I thought.
I felt a bit small to say the least when I found out they were there because of an incident involving South Asian Ship, Komagata Maru. This day, May 28th, marks the 100th anniversary of the tragedy and is being recognized as such from this day forward.
(insert record scratching sound effect followed by intense flush of embarrassment here)
To those two kind gentlemen that listened to my pleading to convince someone, anyone to hand over their ticket to little ol me, I am sorry. And to the community at large, my story compares nothing to the plight of the people on that boat.
With defeat upon defeat piling on top of my weary shoulders, I was standing up in the hallway outside of the Legislative Chamber trying to figure out my next move when I spied a CTV cameraman who was talking to two women who had also come to support the teachers from Vancouver.
After their interview, I asked the cameraman/reporter if I could have a few words. I told him about the petition and showed the hard copies that I did have. He obliged me and interviewed me. He said that someone might contact me from Vancouver.
He asked me if this was bringing up emotions for me. So I poured my heart out but managed to keep it together. Aside from the sweating, and general ick I was feeling, I think I did ok.
It was then that I felt your voices had been heard. It wasn’t but a minute later that one of the parents who were there came up to me breathlessly saying.” I have a ticket, I’ve been looking all over for you.”
That was an awesome moment. I was so grateful.
So we sat together in the Legislative Assembly, (this is when I found out about the Komagata Maru tragedy) humbled. It wasn’t long after that I was emotional again. I was angry, confused.
During the Question Period portion there was a lot of grumbling. Not being able to really talk or express ourselves in the gallery we were whispering “What is the point of all this?” “This is ridiculous” (under my breath, I wanted to scream. You’re not listening to each other, you’re lying, you’re skirting issues!” It was quite a show to say the least.
Quite a few parents I spoke to afterwards wondered what could come of this. At this point all I could think was, ‘it isn’t over’. ‘this is just the beginning’ “it has to be just the beginning’.
It wasn’t until I got home (after sleeping 12+ hours) that I watched the recording of Question Period that I realized that there was a section set aside for presenting petitions.
I contacted Selina Robinson and sent a digital copy, hoping it wasn’t too late.
And it might not be. I got word back that perhaps it isn’t too late after all.
She will present the petition to the Legislation today!
So please if you are reading this, spread the word about the petition. Go on Facebook, Twitter and anywhere else that you can be heard and support your teachers. And if you haven’t already please sign the petition if you are a parent or a grandparent of a child in the BC public school system.
Right now it sits at 6600!
It’s not over! This petition will live on beyond today. I believe that we will need to present it again although I’m not sure what will happen after today.
*If you are watching, it’s on channel 73 (Novus) right now. It’s very boring right now unless you like watching Amendments to Bills, Like Bill 24, I’d tune in later or record.