When a public sector union in Canada, like the Ontario Catholic Teachers’ Federation, decides to spend $3 million of their members’ dues, to save a boondoggle-prone and inefficient provincial government, like the Dalton McGuinty Liberal government, you can assume that something is fishy. Why? Because, as all taxpayers know, he who pays the piper calls the tune.
During the last week, it has become very clear that Canada is in the midst of a paradigm shift. In fact, I now believe that the federal election of 2011 will go down in history as a shift either, back to the debt and deficits and entitlements of the 1970s or forward to smaller government and both government and taxpayers living within their means.
And, symptomatic of that paradigm shift is the latest news that the Ontario Catholic Teachers Association are ramping up their battle with the Ontario Progressive Conservative (PC) Party and its leader Tim Hudak in the lead-up to the Ontario election in early October. Remember, this is a group that represents “Catholic” teachers, Christians, who say they believe that they are their brother’s keeper. That being the case, how much good could $3 million do towards breakfast and lunch programs in inner city schools?
Instead, that $60 levy against each and every member is apparently going to be used to help the McGuinty government get re-elected to a third majority government. And, according to the Toronto Star, that is in addition to whatever is being spent by the Working Families Coalition — which is also funded by the teachers’ unions, as well as other public sector unions.
Why? Because teachers’ collective agreements expire in 2012. Meaning, the teachers’ unions would have to face bargaining with the Tim Hudak PCs and they obviously don’t like that prospect one bit. On the extra levy, Christina Blizzard writes today in the Toronto Sun:
“It’s a protectionist racket — a shakedown to ensure teachers continue to get their lavish pay hikes and benefits. Since Premier Dalton McGuinty came to power in 2003, teachers have seen their pay hiked around 25% — an average of about 3% a year… [So] don’t look to the McGuinty Liberals to freeze teachers’ salaries, as they promised. They’ve failed miserably to hold the line on any public sector salary. Why start now?”
I heard Tim Hudak on the radio this week. He said he comes from a family of teachers and has nothing but respect for the profession. I feel pretty much the same way. I am a teacher. I am a retired teacher, as is my husband. I’m therefore, not going to be a hypocrite. We both have a teachers’ pension (albeit mine is reduced). Do I appreciate what we have? You bet I do! Do I realize that it was collective bargaining that made our pensions possible? Yes, of course I do. But, I do not recall such partisanship and the complete lack of social conscience and willingness to compromise that I am seeing now.
Well, Ontarians need to remember then that he who pays the piper calls the tune. In other words, if the McGuinty Liberals get re-elected, we can expect our taxes to go up to pay for public sector union demands — because they will owe them big time. So, three million to save the McGuinty government may not seem like much money in the grand scheme of things, but it is symptomatic of all that is wrong with our society today and its “we are entitled to our entitlements” attitude.
Endnote: I am puzzled every time I see the Working Coalition ad on TV, you know the one where the men in suits are sitting at a board table insinuating that good old “Tim” (meaning Hudak), should give capitalist Bay Streeters everything they want and forget everyone else. Well, hello? Ridiculing capitalists? Look at the type of investments made by the Teachers’ Pension Plan and OMERS. In fact, the plans for teachers and municipal workers are two of the largest investment groups in the province. It’s common sense. Capitalism creates a climate for investment. Investors create wealth. Wealth creates jobs. People work in jobs. People pay taxes which pay for public services. So, why bite the very hand that feeds them? Oh, silly me, it’s give the public sector unions everything they want and forget everyone else!