Beck calls for Cockrill’s resignation over lie about insult to grieving mother

Pattern of lies contribute to bad blood between teachers, Sask. Party gov’t

REGINA - Today, Official Opposition Leader Carla Beck called on Premier Scott Moe to fire his Education Minister, Jeremy Cockrill. Moe’s minister has repeatedly misled the public, most recently lying about an apology he did not deliver to a grieving mother whose daughter passed away.

“For me, this minister’s treatment of Taya was the final straw. It just shows that this minister lacks basic empathy and honesty,” said Beck. “He’s misled the public on numerous occasions — including in his very first interview — and most recently with his behaviour towards Taya. We need to get a deal that addresses funding cuts in our schools and it’s clear now that this minister hurts more than he helps.”    

Last week, Cockrill was questioned by reporters after asking if Saskatchewan teachers expected him to “give up his first-born child” in an earlier meeting with Taya Thomas, a woman whose first-born daughter died. The minister claimed he already apologized to the grieving mother in their meeting. Taya, who had a friend present in the meeting for emotional support, says this is categorically false

This was not the first time Moe’s minister was caught in a lie. In his very first interview as Education Minister last August, Cockrill said that every MLA in every riding had heard concerns from parents about teachers withholding information on what pronoun their child was using in school. The next MLA to step up to the mic, Everett Hindley, contradicted Cockrill, saying that he had never encountered such concerns.

During the emergency session, Cockrill told the media that his government’s pronoun policy was informed by widespread consultation with “tens of thousands” of concerned citizens. The government never substantiated this claim. Freedom of information requests returned just 18 letters and a “rush jurisdictional scan” initiated less than two weeks before the policy was unveiled.

Cockrill’s misleading claims about collective bargaining soured relations between educators and the provincial government. At one point, Cockrill claimed that the teacher bargaining team walked away from the table. STF President Samantha Becotte later gave a different version of events. Cockrill also accused teachers of spending only 30 minutes at the bargaining table in the past five months. Becotte disputed this claim in a scrum at the Legislature.

“I’ve heard from teachers and parents over the weekend who believe that this minister has lost the trust of the education sector. Small wonder why this job action has dragged on for months when this minister isn’t trusted by teachers and parents,” said Opposition Education Critic Matt Love.  

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