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walkerford

Dear Editor,

So … Doug Ford and his minions (that includes you, Bill Walker) have resorted to dissing teachers. “Walker says teachers’ unions not being responsible in disputes” is a headline that tells me he doesn’t understand that unions act to support their members and that teachers instructed their unions to begin bargaining and, when that didn’t work, the teachers voted for strike action.

Not happy with the numbers of parents supporting what the teachers are saying, the Conservatives tried bribing us with our own tax money. Now they’re attacking teachers outright. Where have we seen this show before? Oh yeah, Mike Harris. 1997.

This time it’s about the size of the deficit, say the Conservatives. We have a spending problem in Ontario, says Mr Ford. Teachers are being greedy, says Minister Lecce. That’s a Big Con and here’s why …

We have a revenue problem. Mr Ford’s tax cuts are picking $13.5 Billion a year from the public pocket. That’s about half of the current education budget. Those tax cuts, by the way, do not benefit those of us on the crappy end of the income scale, but they save those making over $109,000 about $1,200 and up a year.

Ontario is dead last of all the provinces in the amount it spends on public programming per capita, according to Ontario's own Financial Accountability Office.

Teachers are asking for a 2% increase in pay to keep pace with the rise in the cost of living. The government has offered 1%, and larger classes, and reduced support staffing. So, more work plus an effective pay cut. And here I thought Mr Ford was all about ‘affordability.’

By the way, about half the membership of the unions is made up of support staff, most of whom make somewhere around $35,000 a year.

If Mr Ford were truly concerned about building an affordable Ontario he would do better to legislate a minimum wage of $15 an hour. And then gradually increase that to a living wage. Oh yes, and put more money into education because the quickest path to a better job and a more affordable life is through education.

Here’s another idea … take the $48 million the Conservatives are handing out to parents for their inconvenience and plough that back into the education budget. And, while they’re at it, take the 14% pay raise Mr Ford gave top paid bureaucrats and his 13 new Parliamentary Assistants and put that into education too.

It’s ‘for the people,’ Doug.

David McLaren, Neyaashiinigmiing


 

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