When the Liberals brought in the HST after promising not to, we all reacted as conscientious, democratic citizens in a free society should have reacted, by organizing and rejecting it.
Not because the HST was a bad tax policy necessarily, but because of the way the Liberals enacted it.
Now the Liberals want to bully the teachers into their net zero policy mandate by imposing a contract that strips our seniority, dissolves job-security, ignores class size and composition rules that the Supreme Court has ordered them to address, and effectively cuts back teachers’ salaries by asking them to deal with an ever-increasing cost-of-living with no increase.
Teachers are very aware of the state of the world economy right now. We know an increasing number of people are unemployed and/or facing wage cuts, so why are the teachers griping, right?
The real issue here is actually much larger than just public education, and it concerns the very foundation of a free and democratic society: the right to organize and negotiate.
For months, teachers have been engaged in pointless negotiations with a government who has not been bargaining in good faith. The government has said, “accept our terms, or else.”
We are on strike because we refuse to be bullied into giving up our civil rights. Teachers want a fair wage and better learning conditions for all our students, and we want to defend our civil rights in a free and democratic society.
This is not just a dispute about money; this is a philosophical debate about policy and the priorities of good government. We can either invest in our future now, or pay a far greater price further down the road.
Doug Campbell, teacher