VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – There are more questions about the government-appointed mediator in the teachers dispute.

Dr. Charles Jago admits he doesn’t have much mediation experience and isn’t very confident he can bring the two sides together. The BC Teachers Federation is worried his comments may predetermine the outcome.

The union also isn’t pleased about a 2006 report Jago wrote, favouring the government and revelations he had donated to the BC Liberals in the past. Education Minister George Abbott has insisted the small donations helped pay green fees at a golf tournament.

“It’s not the best way to start out in this particular matter,” admits Ken Thornicroft, a labour relations professor at the University of Victoria.

“If there’s the perception of bias maintained by one party, it can’t help but hinder the successful completion of the mediation process,” he explains.

“The fact remains if one party has some concerns about the mediator, it puts a wrinkle in the process because, of course, mediation is a system where you have to have absolute trust in the mediator.”

Thornicroft adds it didn’t matter who was brought in, as both sides are so far apart, there is virtually no negotiating zone where the teachers and the government could meet. “I would be very surprised if the mediation process produced a new collective bargaining agreement; in fact I would almost be shocked.”

Jago will begin talks with teachers next week.