EDITORIAL: Labour unrest on the horizon

So things might be all signed off to avoid a strike at Vancouver Island University this fall.

But whispers around the province are giving off hints we may be in line for some of the more interesting times we’ve seen on the labour front since Gordon Campbell was trying to beat a decade of NDP policy out of B.C. nearly a decade ago.

And that’s not even counting the rough waters for the postal service – which is a federal, not provincial, contract.

In fact, with the rumblings among the teachers, nurses and the BCGEU in recent weeks, we may be seeing one of the early battle lines drawn for the expected fall provincial election.

Under Adrian Dix, the NDP is sure to paint labour unrest as a sign of the neglect the Liberals have shown the public service in the past 10 years. They will offer themselves as the reasonable remedy for rebuilding that service and preventative medicine for a protracted labour battle they will say is inevitable if the Christy Clark Liberals are returned.

The Liberals, of course, will paint an entirely different picture.

They will seek to portray themselves as the guardians of the public purse from an opponent bent on handing control of the province to the unions. And somewhere in all the rhetoric, the tired clichés about the ’90s being a decade of darkness will resurface.

And any dreams of a B.C. election fought on issues other than business versus labour will again be put off for another day.

Few would argue the province’s social services shrunk in the hands of Gordon Campbell. Many think it’s time for the pendulum to swing the other way, though there may be debate on how far.

The question that might decide the next provincial election is – who best to do the swinging?

– Cowichan NewsLeader

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