Credits: Michael Aubry/Ottawa Sun/QMI Agenc
Both sides reek of hypocrisy in the war between what’s left of the Dalton McGuinty government and two teacher unions.
McGuinty, the self-styled “education premier,” boasted for years he had made teachers his partners, unlike the previous Conservative government of Mike Harris, whom he accused of demonizing them.
In reality, there was never any partnership.
As soon as McGuinty stopped throwing our money at the teachers after his reckless spending spree saddled taxpayers with a $14-billion annual deficit, he turned on them and they turned on him.
In passing, and now implementing Bill 115, as announced by Education Minister Laurel Broten Thursday, McGuinty took away their collective bargaining rights.
To do this, his minority Liberal government had to rely on support from the Conservatives, now led by Tim Hudak, who has similar views to Harris on education spending.
As for the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario and the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation, they were McGuinty’s biggest cheerleaders before they turned on him in 2012.
In the 2003, 2007 and 2011 Ontario elections, these two unions did McGuinty’s dirty work for him by funding attack ads against his Conservative opponents, through their membership in the so-called Working Families Coalition.
That’s what makes ETFO and OSSTF whining now about McGuinty taking away their collective bargaining rights, so laughable. They helped put McGuinty there, and helped keep him in power.
So, if they don’t like him now, too bad.
Even the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association, also a member of the Working Families Coalition and arguably even more militant than ETFO and OSSTF in the past, recognized economic reality this time around and negotiated collective agreements before Bill 115 was passed.
The war between McGuinty and Ontario’s public elementary and secondary school teachers is one both sides deserve to lose.
There are no “white hats” and “black hats” here — they’re all putting their own interests first and the public’s last, while innocent students continue to have their school year disrupted by union-orchestrated work-to-rule campaigns and one-day strikes.
A plague on both your houses, as William Shakespeare would say.
Assuming, of course, they even bother to teach Shakespeare in school any more.