Mr. Dalton McGuinty,
A this time of year, I would typically be spending most of my spare time preparing for the upcoming school year, but this year on top of planning for the upcoming school year (which is not in danger in case you hadn’t heard Mr. McGuinty), I am working to have my voice heard at Queen’s Park where my rights as a taxpaying citizens are being trampled on ‘for the sake of the children’ and the benefit of your political party. The teachers of this province will not sit by idly as you turn our democratic country into a dictatorship.
You and your MPPs have created a crisis that does not exist to benefit your party in two current by-elections. You have turned the public on us, referring to us as Teachers, turning us into the ‘other’, dismissing the fact that we are also taxpayers, we have families and obligations just like every other taxpaying citizen in the province. A fellow teacher, Roy Reed, from Renfrew County put it very eloquently:
“What hurts me most is that these people we trusted have chosen to act exactly as every government has ever done, in order to achieve its goals. They have actively segregated, and targeted a people, and made them a single, faceless, other.
Suddenly, they refer to us as Teachers, and refer to the rest of Ontario as Families, as Taxpayers. They 'ask' Teachers to, please, think about Ontario's Families. They 'ask' Teachers to, please, think about Ontario's Taxpayers.
And now, after all the progress we have made since Harris, in the minds of the average Ontarian, WE are accused of, and publicly shamed for, standing in the way of Families' and Taxpayers' happiness. Now, WE are selfish, and it will be OUR fault if the government doesn't pay off its debt. Now, it is perfectly fine to publicly call US names, to condemn US, to belittle US, because the government has fostered, and even encouraged the act of tearing US down.”
By turning us into a faceless group of people for the public to be angry with you are trying to convince them that removing our rights in an acceptable practice in a democratic society. You are using us as scapegoats. In your ‘Putting Students First Act’, which does nothing but put them last, you have the following:
- (1) The Ontario Labour Relations Board shall not inquire into or make a decision on whether a provision of this Act, a regulation or an order made under subsection 9 (2) is constitutionally valid or is in conflict with the Human Rights Code."
You are stripping us of rights that every other taxpaying citizen is entitled to!!! You are putting your party above the law, and refusing to be held accountable for the actions you are taking. Mr. McGuinty we will fight back, you will be held accountable. MPP Sarah Campbell reminds us that:
The simple fact is, we have numerous examples of how legislating collective agreements doesn’t work. It costs taxpayers more- way more- when taken to the Supreme Court. It cost B.C. $85 million when the Supreme Court overturned their legislated agreement. It could Ontario upwards of $780 million if our 90,000 teachers were to do the same. How is this move protecting the public purse?
Let me assure you Mr. McGuinty, that we will be doing the same. You will be held accountable. It will cost you far more, than fair bargaining ever would.
On the first day of classes Mr. McGuinty, I will be putting students first by providing them with excellent teaching, while you put them last by trying to demonize teachers.
Crystal Jones, OCT