It was an honour to walk the picket line with teachers, to stand beside people dedicated not to their own personal gain, but a commitment to quality in the future of children. People willing to take a difficult stand, knowing the impact of their decision in the lives of students and parents and their own professionally, personally financially, short-term hardship in exchange for permanent.
I realize this is not a teacher's protest, it is a people's protest: citizens not willing to accept a government that would seriously compromise the education system and thus our community, our society.
Every child deserves equal opportunity in education. Bill 160 introduces the potential for a two-tiered system. The public schools will be crippled by cuts, creating the opportunity for private schools to emerge as the quality place to be for those who can afford it. We are all concerned about wise appropriation of education dollars, clearly common sense dictates that removing a billion will impoverish, never enhance, quality. This bill will effectively disable the one basic and vital resource available to everyone.
Bill 160 is beyond irresponsible, it erodes the fibre of democracy. The education issue is an alarming example of a blatant and destructive misuse of power with no regard for those it is elected to serve. The conservative government exhorts us to work together—concern ourselves with quality education. They would have done well to heed their own hollow rhetoric and avert this government-created crisis altogether.
As Canadian citizens in a democratic society it is our right to expect partnerships; an accountable government, respectful, responsible, thoughtful and informed; policy decisions incorporating the greater good with deficit reduction.