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Re Public High Schools Close For One-day OSSTF Strike (Dec. 5): The public-school teachers in Ontario and other provinces seem to have bound the well-being of the students they teach with their own.
They never refer to their own benefits when negotiating a new contract. It is always about the students and how they will suffer if teachers do not have their demands met. I believe teachers have been rapidly losing the support of parents and the public as they continue to make demands that may be beyond the taxpayers’ ability.
Perhaps that could change if they relinquished their seniority provisions; if underperforming teachers could be more readily fired, the public might have more sympathy for their demands.
Barry Imhoff St. John’s
During the previous school year, the Ontario-mandated average secondary-school class size was 22.5. In the latest round of collective bargaining with the secondary teachers’ union, the provincial government proposed to increase it to 28, eventually softening to an offer of 25.
However, the Minister of Education has claimed in legislature that the government had offered to reduce the average class size from 28 to 25. At best, such a claim seems disingenuous. To say that lower proposed increases are actually reductions sounds like spin.
Ontario students deserve better.
John Thorpe Ontario supervisory officer (retired), Stouffville, Ont.
On organ donations
Re How A Hospital In Sudbury Succeeds In Getting Organ Donations (Dec. 5): Kudos to hospital teams, such as the one in Sudbury, who are trained to approach families of potential organ donors. Would that more people were already aware and informing doctors of their desire to donate. Sadly, the majority of Canadians who profess to be in favour of organ donation are so complacent about this issue that they don’t seem to get around to registering.
What’s holding people back? Squeamishness about facing mortality? Would it help to have more public education dealing with myths and fears about the treatment of potential donors? Might people be more moved to register if they were openly asked the question: "Would you gratefully accept an organ donation for yourself or a loved one in need?”
Paula Childs Toronto
Re A War Kenney Is Actually Destined To Win (Dec. 4): Columnist Gary Mason argues that many people in Alberta “would kill to have a government job with all the perks that come with it.” I don’t think murder is necessary. Presumably those same people, at some point in their lives, had the option of entering the public sector if they so wished. They chose not to.
And about those “perks.” Public-sector compensation is decided, over the years, through the give and take of free and fair collective bargaining. Any arbitrary, post hoc decision by Mr. Kenney to alter that outcome would be to undermine faith in that process in the future.
David Bright St. Catharines, Ont.
As a born and bred Albertan, I am not proud to say that we in this province seem to be living like spoiled toddlers. We have spent the past 70 years sucking the bottle of non-renewable oil and gas and ignoring the need to diversify our economy. I believe it’s time to grow up.
Peter Lougheed recognized the risk of depending on a non-renewable resource when he established the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund. But successive governments since then have bled the fund to pay for current programs, instead of relying on reasonable tax rates like the rest of the provinces do.
I get so frustrated with our phobia about raising taxes. To quote the author James A. Michener, taxes are “the best expenditure of money I have made in my life."
Ross Gould Calgary
Jason Kenney might win the war, but to whose benefit?
When working in Alberta in the early 1990s, I was a victim, along with thousands of others, of pay cuts under Ralph Klein. Mine was 5 per cent – it lowered my family’s standard of living and reduces my purchasing power to this day, nearly 30 years later.
How does my reduced spending capabilities, and those of thousands of others, benefit our contribution to the Canadian economy? Everyone’s standard of living stands to drop as Alberta wages a war against its citizens.
Gerard Gumpinger Kelowna, B.C.
As Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi pointed out, there is only one housing market in Alberta, not one for oil-patch employees and one for everyone else. The same goes for groceries.
During a prolonged boom, oil-patch workers make great money, and a high-school dropout can start at upward of $100,000. Of course, this causes price increases and follow-on increases in public-sector salaries.
This is the third bust in Alberta since I entered the workforce. The real fight should not be, yet again, against the public sector. The fight should be to figure out how to live within our means in a cyclic boom-bust economy, without having a civil war when the price of oil plummets.
Leslie Lavers Lethbridge, Alta.
On the video
Re Trudeau’s Mockery Of The President Could Be Canada’s Burden To Bear (Dec. 5): If there is any criticism to be made about the Justin Trudeau video, it should be the decision to allow the press to attend the event. At a cocktail party, do people expect participants to read out to each other staff-prepared scripts from a teleprompter?
I liked the Justin Trudeau I saw in the video a lot more than the robot I have seen at official announcements.
John Goyder Oakville, Ont.
It seems the media are going over the top in covering Justin Trudeau’s comments at the NATO summit meeting. This follows the SNC-Lavalin controversy, the blackface events and the island holiday.
As one might notice from the recent election results, many Canadians seem to care very little about such events – they have much more important concerns in mind.
David Hannaford Barrie, Ont.
In reporting Donald Trump’s attack on Justin Trudeau, the media seem to have missed an opportunity to present what could have been the most unique headline of the past four years: “Trump tells the truth.”
George Halasi Toronto
The Prime Minister should take a lesson from former Ontario premier Leslie Frost.
When then East York mayor True Davidson remarked to him that another person was a horrible man (that would be former Toronto mayor and East York councillor Leslie Saunders), Mr. Frost said nothing, but turned his back and walked away.
Alan Redway PC, QC, former MP, former mayor of East York; Toronto
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