Here’s Hoping, Here’s Supporting

December 21, 2016


Two observations for December 21, the last day of school before the holiday:  teachers are right, and they are in the right.

Nothing could be truer than that major investments are needed in supports for the classrooms of Nova Scotia. And nothing could be more reasonable than teachers’ position that they ought not to have to go backwards in their incomes relative to inflation.

So many teacher-focussed conversations these days open with the question, “But can we afford this?”

Wrong first question.

Successful governments, companies and individuals don’t begin by asking what can be afforded; they begin by asking what is required, and then making the investments that will make that vision real.

The McNeil Liberals continue to respond, however, that no contract will be entered into with teachers which jeopardizes their “fiscal plan” of a balanced budget.

Wrong answer.

Between a deficit in the books of the Province, and a deficit in the education of our children, who has a hard time choosing? Except those willing to pay any price for a balanced budget, including the price of burning out the most highly qualified group of teachers in Nova Scotia’s history.

It’s not that we in the NDP advocate fiscal profligacy; it’s that we oppose the fiscal fundamentalism that makes all our people’s hopes and goals subservient to the be-all-and-end-all goal of the McNeil budget surplus.

With the break that begins today, the government has a wonderful opportunity to conclude an agreement with the NSTU by removing the negotiation-destroying demand that any settlement must be within Bill 148’s wage-freeze preconditions.

Here’s hoping. Here’s supporting. And here’s wishing the teachers of Nova Scotia a break that’s even more well-deserved than most.

In solidarity,