The looming LCBO strike threat has suddenly gotten all sorts of Ontarians anxious about a potentially dry next few days (or weeks). LCBO workers, who are represented by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), voted 95 per cent in favour of striking, and the deadline is approaching. Yet a strike is in no one's best interests. Now, this entire scenario would change if the availability of alcohol were to be completely diminished. This inconvenience may cause citizens to want an alternative to the LCBO in the event it is rendered incapable by a strike.
Contrary to what a variety of columnists and MPPs would have you believe, the public sector is not the enemy. You are the public, and your servants want to serve you in exchange for appropriate compensation and benefits. So to the Government and Opposition I say this: language matters. We are not terrorists. And you're either with us or against us.
Many of us feel that the only way we have left to show our displeasure is to withhold the work that we normally do for free. Are you willing to do the same amount of work for 10 per cent less pay? How about 20 per cent less, 25 per cent less, 35, 50? When would your dignity and self-respect kick in and make you say "just hang on a minute. I'm a trained professional, and I don't work for free."
Whatever we may think of the Liberals' new leader Kathleen Wynne and her glamorous status as Ontario's first lesbian premier, the fact remains that Canadians have once again witnessed the extraordinarily undemocratic spectacle of a tiny group of partisans installing a ruler over them.
Our children are not being put first; they are being cheated. If we care about the public good, teachers must be respected and compensated fairly to attract the best and brightest. With the decimation of school board budgets, parents who can afford to do so may pull their kids out of the public system.
It is both more feasible and cheaper to help existing teachers improve their skills than it is to replace them with new people who might be better at the work. While pay for results is a seemingly attractive concept, virtually nobody in modern economies is currently paid based on measured outcomes as is being proposed for teachers.
The teachers' union is in business to advocate on behalf of their members. As a result, the teachers' union positions on all sorts of issues are predetermined. The teachers' union is still trying to get more money for its members. Business is as usual.
As long as the Ontario Liberals kept the goodies flowing, they could count on the loyalty of the teachers' unions. But then something happened. The Ontario government ran out of money.
As the Ontario Liberal Party prepares to host delegate election meetings across the province this weekend, all signs point to a victory for Kathleen Wynne. She continues to demonstrate the organizational strength and critical levels of support needed to become the Leader of the Ontario Liberal Party. Glen Murray chose to drop out of the race and endorse Wynne prior to delegate election meetings where delegates, who will ultimately elect the next leader, will be elected themselves. Assuming his supporters follow him, Wynne's advantage going into this weekend's delegate election meetings is significant.
Some unions have engaged in strike action that has closed schools, restricted learning for students and created an unstable learning environment. It has been stressful and chaotic for many students and parents. Then those same union leaders asked the government not to move ahead with collective agreements, yet they had no other solutions to offer -- except more disruption. That's why, on my advice, the Lieutenant Governor in Council has put in place collective agreements for all school boards and unions that were unable to deliver ratified and approved collective agreements by the deadline.