Everyone must immediately stop using poker metaphors like,
“ The Government holds all the cards in the teacher’s dispute.”
Besides its not being a poker game, such analogies are a trite minimization of what B.C. teachers are fighting for in this dispute.
But before we toss them aside, let’s exhaust the poker metaphor once and for all.
The government has pocket aces; legislative power, and the whipsawing of teachers using the “other public sector union salary settlements” argument.
With pocket aces, the government can sit and watch teachers bluff, bleed and bet high, before flipping over the aces and saying “we win, read ‘em and weep”.
But the teachers have some cards in their hand too. They have a pocket pair of moral high ground cards; the what’s right for children and public education card, and the multiple judicial censure card.
And teachers have the local appreciation card, earned from students and parents over many years of service to children and support for our Canadian way of life.
Do these cards beat the government’s two aces? No, the government can ”win” the hand at any point.
But once they have won the hand, they may not make it out of the room with their winnings.
There have been a lot of spectators at this twelve-year poker game. They have seen the government dealing from the bottom of the deck, ignoring rulings, hiding cards up their sleeve, changing rules, and being continuously disrespectful of other players.
In the movies, such a poker player would likely be shot or at least tossed off the paddle wheeler by James Garner.
Winning at poker with a stacked deck doesn’t sit too well and the government, who “holds all the cards” may realize too late that in winning the hand they may lose the moral authority to govern.
So please, enough with the poker metaphors to describe the teacher’s dispute.
But if you feel the need to taper off rather than to quit cold turkey, why not finish by saying something like “ the government should fold its hand, ante up, stop short raising, and double down on public education in B.C.