An Open Letter to QPAT President Richard Goldfinch

Although retired, I maintain a keen interest in education and more particularly teachers’ unions; after reading your LIAISON ‘message’ it is difficult to know whether to laugh or cry at your ignorance/naiveté. Maybe, it may be of value to you and your members if you could consider responses to the following questions.

1. QPAT is not 150 yrs old and it is not the same as Provincial Association of Protestant Teachers (PAPT). It came into being only after the abolition of CONFESSIONAL boards, about 14 yrs ago. The Quebec Provincial Association of Teachers (QPAT) is a LINGUISTIC association formed by a subsequent MERGER of two associations, PAPT and PACT (representing Catholic teachers), which were based on religion not language, hence the name change. You are presuming no difference between QPAT and a defunct Protestant organization [PAPT], which was for most of its history run by administrators. It is no more  logical in considering QPAT as though it was a continuation of  PACT  either.


Will you admit your error and cease promoting the fiction of QPAT’s history?

2. I recall with utter disgust when QPAT Executive Director Alan Lombard informed the executive when, he claimed, he had been offered another job (Did Lombard tell you who wanted to hire him –or is that a secret that can never be revealed?), and threatened to leave unless he was allowed to ‘retire’, start collecting his pension and continue in his QPAT job. Despite certain protests, the board granted him his wish. Your predecessor, Serge Laurendeau, on principle, resigned from the executive. Following a demand by MTA President and QPAT executive member Ruth Rosenfield, QPAT gave him a RRSP in addition to his salary and his pension. The entire episode speaks oceans suggesting Lombard’s lack of commitment to serve teachers and the union movement. He always avoided paying any union dues whenever he could. Despite income which includes a six figure salary, his pension, a RRSP, free dental and health plans plus potential overtime pay, last year he still received a $7,000 pay increase. His income is about triple that of an average teacher.


[a] Why did you support his salary increase last year?  Is this your idea of serving teachers, or are you more concerned with the QPAT staff?

[b] Were you aware of Lombard’s past actions?  Do you think those actions smacked of a disloyal and selfish employee, who should have been asked to leave?

[c] Would you have supported Ms. Rosenfield’s demand to give him a RRSP?

[d] Given his significant salary increase, will you ask that his  RRSP benefit be reconsidered?

3. Provincial negotiations are essentially CSQ business, which is why QPAT gives them $450,000 annually.  In essence, the key items, salary, workload, job security, what CSQ negotiates is the blueprint for QPAT, and English contracts end up virtually identical.


[a] Why are you are going through the charade of “mobilization” for the next round, is it to give the impression of doing something, when we all know CSQ calls the shots?

 [b] Isn’t QPAT little more than a local of CSQ, if it is, why does QPAT need such a large staff?

4. Considering the salaries and [lack of] fringe benefits for teachers isn’t your claim that QPAT is ‘an amazing organization’ close to being delusional?  “Amazing” hardly applies to the value the members receive, but maybe it applies for the staff of QPAT itself. Over-staffed, arguably overpaid and living the life that makes teaching seem like purgatory. Were teachers to be offered free health and dental plans, let alone the salary; they would assume they had won the lottery.


[a] Why are QPAT staff so deserving of those benefits, when the members who pay for them are not?

[b]Are there any plans to demand the same benefits for teachers as is given to QPAT staff?

5. QPAT’s membership numbers continues to drop, with no reverse in sight. Therefore, maintaining, let alone increasing expenditures, will require members to pay higher dues in order to offset the decline in membership.


[a] What concrete plans do you have to reduce QPAT’s expenditures?

[b] At the time PAPT had a similar sized membership to today’s QPAT, it functioned satisfactorily without an Executive Director, and with fewer professional staff. Have you  considered it feasible to reduce staff?

[c] With regards to the previous question, we know the ‘Lombard rule’ applies to no other place of employment, but will other members of the staff be allowed to do a ‘Lombard’ – i.e. retire, keep their jobs and receive a RRSP?  Or does QPAT not believe in equal treatment for its staff?

6. Recently, you publicly endorsed the school boards demand for higher taxes.


Why do you think it is acceptable for the president of a teachers union to parrot the line of the employer in demanding higher taxes rather than being more concerned with Canada’s lowest paid teachers?

I would be intrigued to receive your response to the questions , but maybe it could be the basis of your message in the next Liaison.

Jim Wilson

Jim Wilson is the former President of the Pearson’s Teachers Union

MT4C Editor’s Note: Montreal Teachers 4 Change will be happy to publish a response from Mr Goldfinch (or any other member of the QPAT executive) should he wish to submit one.

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