Opening Statement



Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Let's Rally 4 Education!

My AcrOnyM GuiDe IS @ hErE!

It's the April 6th Rally for EducationQueen's Park Toronto is packed! 170 buses line the curb outside the provincial legislature. While tens of thousands of protesters pack the front lawns! Teachers! Educators! Parents! And students!



Welcome to the first in a long series of huge protests! Think back to the Harris Years. The late 1990's. Once again, the Ontario teacher and educational worker unions are united in a Common Front.  AEFO, CUPE, ETFO, OECTA, and OSSTF are rallying together. The good fight is back on! The grand kick off is today!

Sadly, the Ford Conservative government has declared war on public education in our province. Thrown even more fuel on the fire by threatening the teachers not to stand in his way. Or else. 

It's official! A huge, Ford PC, school wrecking ball is coming Ontario's way -starting with $851 million in education cuts! A so called austerity measure. Really, a textbook case for creating a crisis in our schools. 

Watch out! We'll see class sizes soar. Support services cut. Special education programs slashed. Our school's left to crumble. As for teacher, and educational worker jobs? Gone! Gone! Gone!

Next will come private school vouchers. B-grade, US style charter schools. So Premier Doug Ford can pay off the high cost of his "For the People" election promises. Like cheap "buck a beer" swill. Penny savings at the gas pump. Tail gate parties at sporting events. New license plates. 



How about Ontario's students? In our publicly funded schools?

They get the leftovers?!? Pretty slim pickings!

Sigh! Alas! No more bread and circus shows!

Ford's rich buddies must be laughing! Ontario is "open for business" again! Sure! With lot's of big, fat tax cuts to line their greedy pockets. Paid for on the back's of our province's struggling students, teachers and once world class schools!  

Regretfully, I've been here to protest at Queen's Park many, many times before. Although I'm retired now, I can quite clearly recall the NDP social contract in 1993. The so called PC "Common Sense Revolution" in the late 90's. The province wide protest strike of fall 97. The "Great Tory Demise" of 2003. The fight against the OLP's Bill 115 and MOU's in 2012-13. With a rerun in 2015. 

Here we go again! Belly up stage front, I sadly watch and listen.  




Ontario Students Say No!

Quite fittingly, the fresh faced student organizers of #studentssayno, including Natalie Moore, Rayne Fisher-Quann, take the lead. Beginning the rally on a strong student first note! 

Various passionate Autism coalition and CSF speakers take their turn, in-between the speeches that follow. Very broad based. Committed to the good fight ahead!

ETFO's Sam Hammond speaks! A seasoned union fighter, Sam knows the battle drill! Also, in the wings; OECTA's outgoing General Secretary Marshall Jarvis. Methinks I even saw OSSTF past president Earl Manners back stage. All 3 -veterans of the struggle! 


The other, current presidents of Ontario's 3 teacher unions, of course, speak. AEFO's Remi Sabourin. OECTA's Liz Stuart. OSSTF's Harvey Bischof. However, the real barn burner of a resistance speech comes courtesy of Ontario CUPE labour President Fred Hahn, another warrior chief, especially during the Wynne years! 




CUPE Ontario's Fred Hahn Rocks The Rally!

Also from the labour front, representing our education support workers and administrative staff, is the CFL's Hassan Yussuff. Next up is OTF's Chris Buckley. The word is to get ready for an upcoming, province wide, General Strike in the days ahead! 

Queen's Park explodes with thunderous cries of "No ifs! No buts! No education cuts!". and "Hey ho! Hey ho! Doug Ford's gotta go!"

The fight against Doug Ford's education cuts is on! In no uncertain terms!

All in all, a very well organized rally! With meeting tents set up. Toilets. A kid's area. Plenty of marshals. Protest cheer leaders. And the prerequisite posters, leaflets, and signs. All ready on very, short notice. 

It augers well! Everything is up and running today. Looking good! 



We also heard from NDP Opposition leader Andrea Horwath. The NDP is the only political party onstage at Saturday's event. Hmmm. OK, but given half a chance? An NDP government has turned on teachers too!

Ontario's been down this political road before. As each Ontario party plays musical chairs. Regardless of what they say, once in office, what do they do? Cut. Cut. Cut. The rigged corporate dictate; always the order of the day. 

Of course, our education community always needs to listen, pressure and lobby the politicos like everybody else does. But otherwise? Beware .... very aware!

As for me? What more can I say? Now that my classroom days are long over?

Nowadays I'm a grandparent. Especially worried about JK/ FDK for my grand daughter and all the other little ones. We also have a nephew who is autistic. Requires the educational supports now being cut.

I taught English, History and Special Ed for many years. From my own experience, I know that large class sizes are a recipe for chaos and failure. Especially without proper staffing and other supports! They are key!



I was very involved as a teacher union activist and PAC advisor, at both the local and provincial level. Also sat on the executive of my local unit for many years. Let's be frank. Teacher union solidarity has often failed in the past, when push comes to shove. 

The FWTAO cut ranks to go it alone in 1997. OECTA in 2012. OSSTF in 2015. Who divided and conquered the province's teachers best? Rae? Harris? Or Wynne? Take your pick! Though I'd say Wynne ....

Compared to all three, Doug Ford is a complete buffoon. MOE Lisa Thompson? Totally inept. Unfit. A sad joke. His PC majority? Brainless, clapping seals!

I'm going to go out on a limb here. The current fight to save our education system is completely doable. That is, unless our teacher union's do themselves in first ....

For what it's worth, I'll be monitoring the teacher protests here on my site. Provide insights from time to time, as I see fit. Hopefully help you make some sense of whatever come's next. 


Read my Teacher Free Speech blogs if you like. Or skip them if you don't. I don't work for anyone anymore. Nor do I have any educational fights to pick, except with Doug Ford PC's!

My site advocates all sorts of activist causes. Hope you will follow on the teacher free speech education front too, regardless of your other interests. Enjoy. Maybe even learn something worthwhile that you didn't know before. And most importantly, join in! Help with the good fight!

As Ontario citizens, we need to rally for public education! We are a very diverse, forward looking province. Education is our great equalizer. Creating opportunities and social stability. Providing a knowledgeable, skilled workforce. That's what truly makes us "open for business", Mr. Ford! 

We can't stand idly by. Let Ford's Conservative wrecking ball destroy our hard fought for, publicly funded school system! Enough of his bullshit!

In solidarity!

David C



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