Opening Statement



Sunday, 18 September 2011

On Oct.6th Speak Out + Vote For Education!

How will you vote in the Oct 6 Ontario Provincial Election? Will you get involved by helping a pro-education friendly Liberal or NDP incumbent hold onto their riding? Or help elect one of their candidates in an open riding, if you live in one of these this election year? Consider this: Conservative party leader Tim Hudak's so called education platform was written without any consultation with our Catholic Teachers!

Our Catholic Teacher's union is an active well respected educational advocacy lobby group at Queens Park. We have an excellent record of supporting educational friendly MPP’s. We helped defeat the Conservative Harris-Hudak “Tory” government in 2003! Newer teachers might not know how bad the situation was back then compared to today.

Before 2003, education budgets were being slashed to pay for “tax cuts” and balance the Ontario provincial budget, on the backs of our students and schools! Schools were closed and programs cut. “Boot Camps” were set up for zero tolerance student “disciplinary purposes”. Support services were cut leaving our really troubled students without help!

Our teaching profession was under attack too! Premier Harris frequently denigrated us as being lazy, incompetent and overpaid! Told us to teach 7 out of 8 periods. Take useless ministry “upgrading” courses, 15 every 5 years, at our own cost. Teacher evaluations were punitive! We lacked a majority vote on the newly founded College of Teachers regulatory board. TECT teachers were even locked out of school during contract talks. OECTA faced decertification! On and on went the hostile Tory attacks on our profession, students and schools, but we fought back. That’s all behind us, for now. Or is it?

In 2003 OECTA began strategically endorsing education friendly politicians from both the Liberal and the NDP parties, supporting incumbents, and the party candidate who could best defeat a Tory at election time. As successful teacher educational advocates, our OECTA teachers' association is always consulted on education matters by both party's. Queens Park knows that you demand support for our Catholic school system! Unlike before our teachers aren’t “outside” of a hostile legislature. We have a definite “in” way to make sure our concerns are heard.

But now we stand to lose that all in this fall's 2011 provincial election! We can’t lose our hard earned gains through apathy, and the attending default it brings. The risk is too great and too real! Conservative Party leader Tim Hudak's attack ads feature prominently on t.v. these days, while the polls bounce back and forth suggesting his Harris Redux version of the Ontario Conservative party might well get elected again on Oct 6!

Have you seen his wife in the ads? Did you know he and his wife Deb Hutton were key figures in the Harris government? That she helped with the early drafts of the so called "Common Sense Revolution" that slashed school, medical and social services across the province? The happy housewife you see cuddling baby Hudak in his "just plain folk" t.v. ads is a cruel, deceitful rue! Hubby Tim has even claimed that slashing teacher’s salaries will help balance the Ontario budget deficit in the provincial legislature! What is he whispering in Lil' Miller Hudak's ear in those corny ads? If you don't think huge education cuts can happen again like during the Harris-Hudak years, look at what a mess Rob Ford's Toronto is! As the saying goes, if Hudak is elected Oct 6th, "You haven't seen nothin' yet!"

As Catholic teachers we cannot risk coming full circle back to the devastating attacks on our teachers, students and schools, should the Conservatives get elected on Oct 6! Please visit OECTA's http://www.speakforchildren.ca/" website for more information on how you can help! Volunteer to get involved with a Liberal or NDP riding association now as they take a clear pro-education election stance. Toronto members can contact your TSU office for more information.

OECTA will be providing a list of endorsed incumbents and candidates soon for your consideration, so we don't risk splitting the Liberal-NDP vote and inadvertantly letting the Conservatives win. That's what happened when Harris was elected in 1995. Think about this, for yourself. Keeping in mind the well being of our profession, our students and our schools. We have one of the highest ranked education systems in the world. Let's keep it that way. As Catholic teachers, we have and still can make a difference!      



Who Is The Real "Tax" Man + What Does He Want? Have You Seen This Tim Hudak Ad?

For more Ontario election info, commentary, and views, please continue reading the posts below;

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