It is all too easy to talk about principles when you don't have to look into the eyes of a young person and explain why your ideals are more important than their access to a good job and a pension plan on which they can begin to build a life for their families.
Martin Coiteux doesn't give the impression he's very interested in negotiating with workers in the public sector. Despite the fact that the Common Front has significantly lowered its demand on pay it seems clear to me that the chair of the Conseil du trésor had already written his speech before he even met with the Common Front.
I'm going to talk to you about social inequalities. Some might think that this issue isn't important in Québec. Yet the data show a particularly disturbing growth in inequalities. In my opinion, our struggles must converge on the fight against growing social inequalities.
Parents have a right to know what's really at stake, the issues that could cause a further decline in the teaching profession's reputation and resources as political leaders attempt to pay off their debts through cuts to education. These negotiations are about the fact that teachers matter, and the way they're treated matters too.
Teachers should ideally be called into this profession -- a calling of the heart. One that serves to inspire, motivate, encourage and arouse within young people the seed for greatness. Teachers talk about choosing this profession because we want to make a difference in someone's life. We want to be known as the catalyst for someone elses' greatness. We believe that we truly are the wind beneath our students' wings. We even desire to see our students surpass our wildest expectations.
There is growing definite interest in our affiliated unions for debating the use of pressure tactics up to and including a strike. Some unions are further ahead than others in their consideration of this, while others are beginning to give it thought. All this is encouraging, because mobilization is how workers will be able to stop the Liberal bulldozer.
I would like to turn to the organization of support services in the health and social services system. Huge savings could be made in this area. Costs for support services have exploded while total payroll went down. How can these costs be brought under better control?
Citing the alarming state of Québec's public finances, Conseil du trésor chair Martin Coiteux warned that the remuneration of government employees might well be tied to their productivity in the very near future. There's no denying that in terms of public costs, Québec's health-care system has the best performance in the country. So why are workers in the field of health not better paid?
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.
As I understand it, Harper's plan is to place someone on the CBC's board to monitor and participate in labour negotiations on behalf of the government is different than having a government representative in the newsroom vetting stories. Harper's plans should definitely be thwarted but that is, ultimately, only a tiny step toward actually fixing the CBC.