The end of the teachers' strike is being greeted with relief both within government and at the B.C. Teachers' Federation head office in Vancouver.
The BCTF can take pleasure in the strength of the yes vote—86 percent. It came after considerable grumbling that the agreement didn't do nearly enough to address the central issue: class size and composition.
Teachers weren't receiving strike pay and there was a risk that if the dispute didn't end soon, it could undermine solidarity. For the BCTF executive, a yes vote puts an end to that concern and ensures that it won't be bounced for supporting a deal spurned by the membership.
The stakes were also high for the premier and education minister.
Prior to the tentative agreement, the government was getting hammered for spurning the union's offer for binding arbitration. It sent a message to the public that Premier Christy Clark didn't care about public education.
What was especially galling was that she was able to pack her son off to private school while parents across the province had to scramble to find childcare.
Education Minister Peter Fassbender also suffered some political damage as voters learned more about his history in the advertising and public-relations business. He won his seat by the narrowest of margins in 2013. The strike could easily hurt his reelection chances.
That's because it became increasingly clear that the B.C. Liberals were engaged in a massive spin campaign to make teachers look greedy when they're actually paid less than their colleagues in other provinces. Once this was laid bare, trust in Fassbender declined.
Many other facts about the B.C. education system became clear over the course of the strike. Anyone who was paying attention could tell that B.C. public-school students are being shortchanged by the amount of money going into education in this province in comparison with others.
Anything the government can do to shift attention away from this will help the B.C. Liberals with their damage-control efforts.
So who were the winners in this strike? Certainly not the students. But others came out of it looking a little brighter.
B.C. NDP Leader John Horgan showed a lot of common sense in an opinion piece published in the Victoria Times-Colonist.
Horgan took exception to the premier standing on the sidelines in the dispute. (I believe that Clark went AWOL because her p.r. team was following a communications strategy conceived by former U.S. president Ronald Reagan's favourite spin doctor.)
Another winner in this dispute is the B.C. Nurses' Union, which ponied up $500,000 for striking teachers while the most other unions would do was provide interest-free loans.
(The B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union also contributed cash to the hardship fund and showed extraordinary generosity by offering $3 million in interest-free loans, which was far more than any other union.)
With its gift to the teachers, the B.C. Nurses' Union may have helped heal a bit of the damage caused by its previous raids on the Hospital Employees' Union membership. That has caused a great deal of bitterness within the labour movement.
Other winners in the strike have been commentators outside of the mainstream media, including Sandy Garossino, Jane Bouey, Katie Hyslop, children's troubadour Raffi, and the Staffroom Confidential blog. They sometimes provided the deepest insights into what was going on.
In the process, striking teachers and parents discovered new sources of information. This encouraged them to keep up the fight for a better school system at a time when some mainstream media journalists seemed like they were being bamboozled by government spin.
The biggest winer of all, however, might turn out to be the public schools themselves. Nothing can compare to the strike, not even two court decisions, in educating parents and the rest of the public about the long-term impact of the B.C. Liberal government's decision to shred the teachers' contract in 2002.
This lesson will not be lost for a long time on thinking British Columbians.
Teachers made enormous sacrifices by walking picket lines and going without pay. They can take comfort in their efforts boosting the resolve of many B.C. residents to maintain a greater focus on public education in the years to come.