Laurel’s lies: The real way to put Ontario students and children first

By Michael Laxer | Published January 4, 2013 by

Laurel Broten is lying.

But, then, so are all of Ontario’s other politicians.

The narrative of Broten, imposing contracts on Ontario’s teachers, is quite clear. Ontario cannot afford pay increases, fair wages and reasonable sick day banking  policies because of an alleged “financial crisis” in the province. Ontario simply has no money.

She laid out the Liberal government line. And the media have largely bought it. The Ottawa Citizen states:

After months of labour strife, Broten says she chose to impose contracts on thousands of people working in the province’s public school system, based on similar terms reached with Ontario’s Catholic teachers last July, in order to save the cash-strapped province $2 billion and protect gains in education and teaching jobs.

“In the interest of students, families and all Ontarians, I have been left with no other reasonable option,” the minister told reporters in Toronto.

Ontario families deserve “certainty and clarity, and that is why we put in place collective agreements,” Broten said.

The key point is the claim that she, and the government, “have been left with no other reasonable option”. That is simply false.

There is a reasonable option that would put students first and that would also ensure that educators were properly compensated. It is an option that would allow for the reversal of the welfare cuts, in real terms,  of the last budget that were supported by the NDP. It is an option that would eliminate any deficit at all.

It is raising taxes.

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