Teachers tell me they have never seen things worse: Grade 10 students share textbooks, cuts to library, secretarial and counselling services, and the list goes on. Tory cuts to education have cut deep into the heart of our cherished public elementary and secondary school system.
Banning teacher strikes will do nothing to change this situation. Those who favour this measure need to consider two things:
- Eves historically opposed banning teacher strikes, saying we do not live
in a "dictatorship." The right to strike is a fundamental democratic right.
- Arbitrated collective agreements are usually more costly than ones
negotiated in good faith between employers (in this case the Boards of
Education) and union representatives.
I would like to point out that, of the three prominent political parties, only one is being transparent to the public, promoting their platform to the fullest rather than occupying the media with criticisms of their opponents. That party would be the NDP.
The NDP say they will increase minimum wage to $8.00/hr immediately and then match
it to the cost of living so that anyone working full-time at a minimum wage job will be able to afford their rent and bills. The Liberals are saying that over a five-year period they will raise the minimum wage to $8.00/hr. In five years, $8.00/hr will be worth less than $6.85/hr is now.
I have been watching the Legislature on TV for the past year and there are a number of interesting things that the media happens to leave out when reporting to the public. For instance, the Liberals are making promises very similar to the NDP, yet while the legislature was in session the Liberals voted alongside the PCs 97% of the time. Number of times the NDP supported the PCs? Zero!
If you don't believe me, go to the legislature web site and see for yourself.
I say, tell the public the truth and let them decide who should win this election. After all, the results lie in the power of the public. Wait a second, that sounds like the NDP slogan. Sounds good to me!
I have to give credit where credit is due. If there is one thing that people do not like, it is the unknown. You've fixed that now by calling an election. Thank You!
I cannot agree with your agenda of tax cuts. It is a very thinly veiled attempt to become more and more like the United States with very few public services. Tax cuts are very attractive at first blush. Put more money in the pockets of people. It generally makes them happy. But the social cost of those cuts is far too high. There are far too many homeless. Health care and education are being pounded into the ground because of poor funding formulas. Aug. 14 proved that our power infrastructure needs substantial investment. When these things are adequately funded, they make Ontario a great place to live. Having money in our wallet is definitely a good thing. But I would choose a strong society over money. We do not pay too much in taxes. Do the hard work. Rather than offering tax cuts, focus on the Auditor Generals Report and make it two to three pages long. At that point I would say you have done your job well, not when you provide tax cuts that primarily benefit the rich. Do the hard work. Or are you "Just not up to the job"?
You maintain that tax cuts have helped the economy. To be fair, perhaps they have played a role. But I also think they are overstated. I think a more important factor is that we have ridden on the back the U.S. economy. It has not happened often that we have had a robust economy while the U.S. was doing poorly. When I look out on the street, I see the effects of the tax cuts. The homeless in downtown Toronto are everywhere. It is impossible not to see. I do not want to bring my son downtown for this reason. How do I begin to explain how this is allowed to continue? Mike Harris put a lot of them on the street when he loped 20 per cent off the welfare payments. He did it again when he removed rent controls. The arguments then were that it would spur the development of rental properties. It hasn't. Rather, what I see are condos going up all over the place. The province has to get back into affordable housing, and in a big way.
My son will be starting school in about three years, and I wonder what kind of school he will be entering. Will it be well equipped to provide a supportive learning environment? Will the teachers be sufficiently motivated to do their best? I fear that the answer to both questions will be no. You have a long way to go to improve the situation. Former premier Bill Davis stopped short of naming names, but for all intents and purposes he blamed the mess in education on the current government. I do not think that passing legislation barring teacher strikes will be conducive to a good learning environment. But I don't think that the status quo is telling you to open up Ontario's collective wallet to satiate the teachers. We need to introduce a non-combative mechanism to resolve issues with teachers. Binding arbitration perhaps?
When it comes to transportation, you are again off the mark. We need to invest and invest heavily in a public transportation infrastructure. For 50 years now we have been building more and more roads. The result is that gridlock is worse than ever. We need to provide stable year over year funding to the TTC and extend it into the GTA. But the funding needs to be substantial. You approved $78 million earlier this year for transit, which is welcome. But we need significantly more.
I sincerely hope that you make the above changes to your party policy. Without these changes, I cannot vote for the PC party.
-Tony De Furia,
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