“I don’t believe the average Ontario worker would expect to get a 5.5 per cent pay increase after taking the summer off and refusing to negotiate,” Broten said in a shot at unions representing elementary and high school teachers that walked away from bargaining with the province.
The Education Minister's primary responsibility is to ensure the quality of education for the province's students. Part of this responsibility is to attract the best-educated and most committed people to the teaching profession.
The statement above is, quite simply, a lie. Teachers do not "take off" the summer months; they are seasonal workers. They are paid, according to contract, to work the school year. By intentionally misrepresenting the teachers' work ethic and commitment, Minister Broten has created a toxic working environment for all Ontario teachers.
Such a willfully ignorant and provocative statement shows that Ms. Broten is unworthy of the job of Education Minister. It is the kind of vilification more common among members of the United States' "Tea Party" or its right-wing radio pundits, and is entirely inappropriate in Ontario politics. Especially from someone who knows much, much better.
Whether you are behind the teachers or not, in their demand that Ontario respect the collective bargaining process, signing this petition is a demand for honesty and honour in Canadian politics. We all deserve better.
New Democrat House leader Gilles Bisson said, “It’s most unfortunate the minister is trying to pick a fight.”
We, the undersigned, believe it is beyond unfortunate. It is shameful.