Our Children Deserve Better


The Systematic Denial and Violation of Human Rights: The Government of British Columbia’s Vulgar Stance on Public Education

an open letter to the Government of British Columbia & Premier Christy Clark
by Mani Amar


September 2nd, 2014

Dear Premier,

I hope this letter finds you well.

My name is Mani Amar and I write to you today with respect and the intent that the merit of this letter is not lost or dismissed by you or the members of your cabinet. This letter is not intended to incite further discord between us, the people I write for, and you, the government, but to instead evoke a level of intellectual and emotional understanding.

I have been a proud Canadian for as long as I can remember. I was proud of what Canada stood for and how it stood for those who could not stand by themselves. Through my travels, I have asked many people from many walks of life, “If I could give you a chance to live anywhere, where would you choose?” The answer always came back the same, “Canada.”

To be Canadian, means something. Canada once was a beacon of hope for countries around the world. Canada once was a model for other countries to follow. Canada took care of its people. It protected its future, the children that we love, with the same fortitude that the foundations of Canada were built on. To be Canadian, meant something.

Today, September 2nd 2014, was supposed to be an important day. It was supposed to be the first day of school for my niece, and thousands of other children who have spent the summer being excited, working up the courage, getting their brand new school supplies in order, and practicing their goodbyes to their parents. But in British Columbia, that first-ever day of school will not come. Instead, British Columbia’s parents will wait anxiously as the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) and the BC Government come to an agreement. Which as of right now, is a bleak hope.

I will not delve into the politics of the issue, I just will not. I will not take a side, I will not claim one to be right and the other to be wrong. What I will do is speak up for the parents, and more importantly, the children.

We live in a world polarized by war and poverty. A world in which news stations will always have more stories of sadness than stories of love, hope, and acceptance. We live in a country that once was the ruler by which the rest of the world measured class and care of its people. We live in a province, so vast and beautiful, so culturally diverse, and so much more than words can ever describe.

But yet, we live in a world, where our children deserve better. Much better.

The world’s greatest resource is and will always be its children. Our children are our future. Just as a farm is cultivated for food, our children are cultivated for the future. It is our innate duty as a country, as parents, as a government, and as a society to nurture and take care of these children. Each day in which we fail to uphold this basic principle, we fail for our future. We fail our children.

Canada was a founding member of the United Nations and also was represented by John P. Humphrey as a drafter of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. A very important document to which Canada and many other countries of the world agreed to.

I believe the following article, as noted in The Universal Declaration of Human Rights1, needs to be cited;

Article 26.

(1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.

(2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.

(3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

Everyone has the right to education and that right, that human right is being denied to our children. This is a violation of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This is a violation of human rights.

Now I simply ask, why? Though the simple answer is well known; money.

If our government is so vested in the protection of corporations, the protection of crown corporations, the protection of their own ministers’ mishaps and unlawful conduct, why can you not be vested in such an important system which is our education system?

If you can protect members of the government, why can you not protect our teachers?

If your ultimate goal is the financial security of British Columbia’s future, then why will you not invest in our most precious resource? Our children.

Instead you offer $40 a day to parents with children eligible for this ‘strike pay’. Is this $40 to help with the cost of making other arrangements for our children as we frantically find a balance between work and looking after our children or is it your way to numb the blow of violating a child’s right to education? Though it will help with the former, it is the latter that provided the motivation for such an offering.

From the Preamble of the British Columbia School Act2;

WHEREAS it is the goal of a democratic society to ensure that all its members receive an education that enables them to become literate, personally fulfilled and publicly useful, thereby increasing the strength and contributions to the health and stability of that society;

AND WHEREAS the purpose of the British Columbia school system is to enable all learners to become literate, to develop their individual potential and to acquire the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to contribute to a healthy, democratic and pluralistic society and a prosperous and sustainable economy;

Uncertain of your stance, but I interpret this as a right, a reassurance of what the parent document, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, states clearly, “Everyone has the right to education.”

We appoint Police Officers to uphold the law. We equip them with resources that they require to perform their duties to the best of their abilities, to be our shield, when we need them to be.

We empower Firefighters to protect us in many situations. We provide them the resources that they require to perform their duties to the best of their abilities, to be our light, in the darkness of danger.

We have many public institutions that enable our society to function. We protect many of these public institutions time and time again. But the government has failed many times to protect the teachers that serve our children so diligently, that they are often forgotten for more evident public institutions.

The importance of education is well known throughout the world. Countries have revolutions to attain the fundamental right to education. This right, fundamental and of such high authority, has been displaced for backroom negotiations and stature measuring. Each day we fail to educate our future, we come closer to a future set to implode. And I will not stand idly by as the government elected to serve the people fails to serve them.

I once wrote something3, that I feel may be of service to this letter;

“…society has to be greater in its forgiveness and greater in morality than any single individual. As we live together, in harmony, we transcend our mere individual scopes and provide society the strength of all us one pillars, to uphold the very notions of equality, morality, and humanity, when the individual cannot.”

Honourable Christy Clark, you wield an immense power. You have the ability to use it in service, or abuse it with injustice. You, as a leader, our appointed government leader, must discern your own individual self-righteousness and enable your moral compass to guide you back to the people you govern. Most importantly, I sincerely hope that you take a loving look at children over the next few weeks. When you see them, you will undoubtedly see in their eyes an anxiousness to learn, to be with their friends, to see familiar and caring faces in the teachers they trust, and a bright and benevolent future.

Where British Columbia once was a pillar of Canada has now been demoted to a province of common dissension in government and known for indifference for the harmony of its people.

As I prepare an educational regimen for my niece, knowing that I must, that it is her right to receive education, I implore you to remember, you are to lead entrusted with the protection of basic human rights and not by the shadows of deceit.

I sincerely thank you for your time.

Yours sincerely,

Mani Amar







© Copyright Mani Amar

About Me
In self-reflection; I can honestly say all that is good in my life has been a direct result of my artistic expression. Be it through writing poetry, prose, or philosophy, through painting or photography, or through filmmaking, art saved my life and it can save yours.
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