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Teachers plan vote on ethical pension funding

When teachers meet in Vancouver next week for the BCTF annual general meeting, pensions will be a hot topic. Despite current anxiety about pensions and benefits, several local teachers' associations will call for funding pensions only through ethical investing.

According to the Reports and Resolutions package for the AGM, nine associations have submitted resolutions calling for BCTF representatives on the Teachers' Pension Board to oppose investment in corporations producing tobacco or weapons, as well as those contributing to human-rights violations and severely damaging the environment.

Several of the resolutions call for the BCTF to push for adopt "ethical guidelines based on those of the Norwegian Government Pension Fund." Given the graph on the Fund's home page, these resolutions should inspire lively debate.

Abbotsford teachers, meanwhile, are proposing "That the BCTF encourage its members on the Pension Board to purchase quality blue chip media shares in BC media companies." Their argument:

"Since the Ontario teachers bought shares in media groups there has been a more positive perception of the teaching profession in that province. Partial control of media companies would make it very hard for the current government to not bring our salaries in line with provinces like Ontario.

"With more media muscle, we could certainly make things politically very difficult for the current provincial government without taking job action and without going on strike.

"If you control the media, you control the message."

Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee.

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