Thursday, August 30, 2012

Goodbye Mr. Abbott

I am happy to see George Abbott go. It is ironic that he is announcing his departure just as thousands of students arrive to classrooms that are woefully overcrowded. Mr. Abbott's legacy? Bill 22 - trampling on teachers' democratic rights, overcrowding classrooms, failing to heed the constitutional requirements to negotiate class size with teachers even after a Supreme Court of BC ruling.

Bill 22 is one of the nastiest pieces of legislation this government passed. Sadly, it fits with a collection of legislation passed by a variety of governments whose underlying purpose is to steal from the majority to provide for the minority while criminalizing dissent.

What do I mean by this? Ontario is just now legislating away bargained wage increases to Ontario teachers and removing their right to strike. Quebec's government this spring denied the right to protest when students took to the streets. Bill 78 imposes serious fines just as Bill 22 does.

Each of these pieces of legislation does two fundamental tasks:

* takes money from the 99% to free it up for tax breaks and perks for the 1%.
* makes any dissent (in the form of strike or protest) illegal and imposes draconian consequences

Each is masked by the ruling governments by economic lies - the myth that we are living in "austerity", that corporate tax rates must go down, that private sector workers are getting nothing so the same must happen in the public sector, that students must pay because society can't afford it. The truth is that private sector workers will see raises of 3%. Corporations and the wealthy are sitting on hoards of cash and refusing to invest in the economy (as reported by Mark Carney, from the Bank of Canada!). These same governments continue to dish out perks to their friends (like the CEO's of crown corporations).

Mr. Abbott's policies did one basic thing - steal from children and teachers and the 99%, to give to the wealthy 1%. I am happy to see George go.


  1. Is my comment in moderation or did you delete it because it made a valid point about your ability to effectively advocate for students? If the latter, how does that relate to your stated convictions on 'freedom of expression', 'open debate', and 'democratic process'?

    1. Your comment did not relate to the substance of my blog entry. I remove posts that have personal attacks on anyone, including myself. The blog is here as a vehicle to support advocates for public education and the comment section is open but moderated. I do in fact close it on occasion as there have been abusive comments by some anonymous posters. The purpose of the blog is not to host and publicize those comments.

  2. My comment was neither a personal attack nor abusive by any definition, nor was it anonymous. It's unfortunate that you did not take my point. I'm a parent with a child in public education in your school district (as I have now learned--I didn't know anything about you before reading your post on Lana's blog). Your posts and your response really beg the question: for whom do you advocate when you say 'public education'? Your students? Their parents? Or teachers? The answer seems obvious to me. I think it's too bad you choose not to engage, but rather to silence.

    By the way, I didn't have a position last year on the teachers' work action, so this isn't a political discussion for me. I dealt with the consequences of the lost school days and lack of extracurricular activities like every other parent and without complaint.

    Speaking into an echo chamber is not advocacy. But best of luck with it anyway. I'll withdraw and not press the point.

  3. As Vaughn Palmer intonated that the rats are leaving the sinking ship of Liberal "dys"policy as has been the case with the last two self-decimating parties, it looks as though our public schools are in for more of the same demoralizing treatment. It seems that when public office has been so corrupted by corporate and self-interest, the social net we pride ourselves upon is bound collapse under the pressure of bloated management.
    Mr Abbott may be leaving, but be assured that he will make sure his underlings keep their useless positions and obscene expense accounts through until after the next election. We need to prune the tree to get better results for the efforts of everyone keeping it alive.

  4. Hooray! I was on vacation when I found out! I will demand a cheer for the departure of Gorgeous George at Tuesday's staff meeting.

  5. Excellent work Tara. People I meet at public functions want to now why teachers are so upset with Bill 22 legislation. They want a one minute answer. Well you provided it.