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In recent years I have seen our Federation working hard to address the barriers to participation some of us face, and I am genuinely excited to be a part of this. Thank you for making space for teachers like me. I feel included, and hope to have the honour of being a Member-at-Large, representing all teachers, and also providing a perspective that comes from being racialized. FOR MEMBER-AT-LARGE RACIALIZED

Neesha Blajberg New Westminster

It is not easy to have conversations about equity and inclusion. Just as I seek equity and inclusion for members who come from diverse backgrounds, I also seek it for our students. To become a more inclusive union, the BCTF provided the supports we needed.

My cultural and political beliefs are grounded in the law of respect— kwhlix_oosa’anskw. Respect for self, community, and the environment are the foundation for the ability to work with and for others. As a mother, an aunt, a grandmother, and a teacher, I believe in the power of public education that empowers all students. FOR MEMBER-AT-LARGE RACIALIZED

Charity Peal Nisg_a’a

I believe in representation for all. All members, especially new members, should see themselves and hear their voices coming from the provincial executive table—just as our students should see themselves and hear their voices in the teaching staffs that work with and for them.

But when it comes to public education, supports for both teachers and students have been in short supply from government for many years. We need time and resources, among other things, both for curriculum change, and for the implementation of inclusive practices. This continues to be a critical time in public education and we must be prepared for all possibilities. As we head into bargaining, let’s make sure that we press the government to implement those universal strategies we know promote equity and inclusion for all.

I have been teaching in my own community for the past 18 years and have been an active Executive Committee member of our local #92-Nisg _a’a for 17 of those years. I am active in my community and take part in community building and support my families in all cultural aspects. Respect, representation, commitment to education, leadership, and community are integral to who I am and where I come from. I believe that leadership should hear the voices of all—minority and majority—local and regional. I am prepared to bring a regional voice to the provincial table. Gaks (Peace).

EXPERIENCE Provincial/BCTF: BCTF & Provincial Committees Local: SJ Chair, Student/Learning Services Advisory Chair, Bargaining, Pro-D Teaching: 26 years, Secondary, District, Elementary, Classroom & Resource Education: Dip. Special Ed (UBC), Dip. Secondary Ed (McGill), BA (UBC)

EXPERIENCE Nox_s Mox_shl way’. Ksim Lax_ Sgiik n’iiy’. Gitlax_t’aamiks wil jog_ay’. Nisg _a’a n’iiy’. Charity is Nisg _a’a; has been teaching in her home community for the past 18 years while actively participating on her local Executive Committee.


2018 BCTF Representative Assembly Election CANDIDATES’ STATEMENTS


2018 BCTF Representative Assembly Election CANDIDATES’ STATEMENTS It is a privilege and honour to put my name forward for the position of Racialized Member-at-Large for the BCTF provincial EC. I am a first-generation South Asian woman, working and learning on the territory of the Tsleil-Waututh, Musqueam, Squamish and Coast Salish People. This reality provides me the obligation and drive to recognize the Calls to Action of the TRC in our union and school communities. FOR MEMBER-AT-LARGE RACIALIZED

Shanee Prasad Burnaby


Susan Trabant Prince George


My parents immigrated to BC in the early 1970s, and instilled in me a passion for upholding workers’ rights. As a BCFED young worker, I had the opportunity to organize on campaigns that intersected into my classroom, such as the Fight for $15. This

I am a Métis woman. Not every person who is Métis actually identifies as being Indigenous, but I do. I fight to present myself to the world as a strong, northern, queer, Métis woman. I am disregarded as an Indigenous person and face racism once people find out; I am caught between two conflicting worlds. My history as a Métis person has been stripped from my identity, and I am doing everything that I can to reclaim it. I do not disregard the white privilege that I carry with me; the concept of personal privilege powers me forward as a social justice warrior and unionist. I have been committed to our union since I became

taught me that when we work to lift up our most marginalized, we lift everyone. I am committed to working in community with members. Respectful dialogue invites everyone to the table and allows us to build and strategize in a manner that is strong, equitable, and inclusive. I have held various local and provincial leadership positions, including the Representative for Workers of Colour at the BCFED. My vast and diverse expertise will serve our members well. I look forward to learning and working with you and for you!

EXPERIENCE Provincial: WLC/ Barg (6 months), CASJ (3 years), BCFED WOC (2 Years), Local: LR (2 years), Labour Council (1 Year), SJ (1 Year), Executive (4 years) Teacher: Secondary SPED & SS (5 years), IA VSBAE (4 years)

a teacher, and am ready to push forward as your Member-at-Large. Activism and social justice are the core of my leadership, my identity as a queer Métis woman, and they give me the tools to resist the marginalization of so many of us. There is a third world for me in which all of us belong... our union. I look forward to not necessarily speaking to you, but listening to your concerns, and moving our union forward.

EXPERIENCE I am a dedicated and dynamic social justice warrior/unionist: School Union Representative, PGDTA Executive Member-at-Large/ Treasurer, BCTF HSAC member, BCTF facilitator, northern SOGI representative, active attendee of summer conference, zones, and the AGM.

Thank you for your vote.

M E M B E R-AT- L ARG E Who is Karen Edwards? From an academic lens: Doctor of Education: Leadership. Topic: “Creating Spaces of Belonging In Elementary Schools for Aboriginal Learners.” Master of Education: Elementary Education. Skill set relating to this: Research, correlations and connections, analyzing and interpreting data. FOR MEMBER-AT-LARGE

Karen Edwards Tumbler Ridge

From a professional lens: Philosophy: That relationship and collaboration are the cornerstones of anything and everything we do. It is this that allows us to hear one another, understand one another, value one another.

Colleagues, I am putting my name forward as a candidate for Member-at-Large for one primary reason. In a bargaining year it is essential that a BCTF member with solid institutional knowledge of provincial and local issues fill the role. Why am I the person to fill this role? FOR MEMBER-AT-LARGE

Dave Harper Campbell River

Firstly, I have served before at the provincial level as a Member-at-Large. I know firsthand what the position involves and can be brought “up to speed” in short order. Secondly, I have been a BCTF member since the early 1990s. I have voted on locally and provincially bargained contracts. I

Skill set relating to this: Asking powerful questions, thoughtful and critical examination and analysis, strong listening skills, a commitment to operating from a care perspective. From a personal lens: I love getting out in nature. Walking in the woods and sitting by the water. Peaceful places and lively spaces equally feed me; however, they do so in different ways. Skill set relating to this: Being present, being patient, being aware, being observant.

EXPERIENCE I live in Tumbler Ridge in north eastern British Columbia. I have been in education for over 25 years (non-enrolling and enrolling) and have been sub-local President since the fall of 2009.

I look forward to connecting with you, having conversations, and hearing your perspectives.

understand how and why we got from there to where we are today. Finally, I’ve bargained locally, I’ve been on strike and locked out. I understand the expectations of our members and can personify and speak for the grassroots BCTF members whom a Member-at-Large must represent. Those of you who have heard me speak at the Representative Assembly or Annual General Meetings will already have your understanding of who I am and what I stand for. If you don’t know me, please get in touch. My email is

EXPERIENCE Provincial: Member-at-Large (one two-year term), Income Security Committee Local: Local President (10 years), First VP, Bargaining Chair, TTOC Chair Education: BA(UVIC), PDP(SFU)



2018 BCTF Representative Assembly Election CANDIDATES’ STATEMENTS I live by the belief that “if you don’t like the way things are, then get involved and do something to change it.” This belief has always led me to be actively involved in our union. I started before I had even graduated, serving as a student representative on the BCTF Teacher Education Committee. My activism has continued, serving both locally and provincially over my career. FOR MEMBER-AT-LARGE

Jason Karpuk Kamloops/ Thompson

I have put my name forward for the Executive Committee because I believe we have the opportunity to affect our working and learning conditions significantly this round of bargaining. We must be creative in navigating the political and economic pressures our current coalition government is under, while seeking significant

As teachers, we are key agents for positive change in the public education system through our advocacy work, activism, and negotiations of classroom conditions. Our structures and democratic processes allow us to operationalize these core values through our solidarity.


Raegan Sawka Prince Rupert

As we enter local and provincial bargaining, we need to maintain a strong union by working with every member to ensure their voices are heard as we seek to achieve a fair deal. This will take bold action and commitment to our shared goals. As a parent of children with special needs, as a teacher, and as a Local President, I see first-hand the erosion of our public services.


improvements to our contracts. These improvements must address the teacher shortage, labour market inequalities, and working conditions. Serving as your BCFED representative (9 years), I have a good understanding of the connectedness between public sector bargaining and politics. This experience along with my sincere belief that we must have better supports for the teachers in the classroom will help guide in decisionmaking at the Executive table. I believe my knowledge, understanding, progressive approach, and local and provincial experience makes me an excellent candidate for Member-at-Large.

I am deeply concerned about how proposed policy changes to special education and funding serve to undermine learners’ rights and our restored language. This province cannot continue to short-change students. My respect and support of colleagues has been evident in my union leadership roles. I can be relied on as a listener, a problem solver, and a tireless advocate. It is an honour to run for the position of Member-at-Large. It would be a privilege to serve you as a voice on the Executive, and work with all members across the province.

EXPERIENCE Provincial: BCFED EC (9) WLC/BAC (2), HSAC (6), Teacher Ed (1) Facilitator: OH&S (7), TTOC (3) Local: President (4), VP (3), Local Rep (8), various other positions Teaching: 17 (Secondary, Adult, Corrections) Education: B.Sc., B.Ed.

EXPERIENCE 18 years teaching, currently a Local President, leadership in PD, SJ, Ab.Ed, experience with grievance, arbitration, and bargaining. Recently a BCTF rep to MOE work, BCTF presenter, and active provincially since 2001. Visit:

BCTF EC Candidates  

Candidate statements for Executive Committee by-election at the Fall RA.

BCTF EC Candidates  

Candidate statements for Executive Committee by-election at the Fall RA.