Universities, teachers’ unions, school boards involved in partisanship

There is something wrong with our education system, from the bottom up, when we hear of the extent of partisan interference at the moment.

Yesterday, for example, we heard that there was illegal advance polling going on at the University of Guelph in anticipation of the May 2nd, 2011 federal election. What I find especially disturbing is that Election Canada is hinting that this advance voting is nothing new, so why the complaints. Well, because it smells to high heaven, that’s why. Next up, of course, is that someone will try and pin it on the very “conservatives” who are complaining. 

Now, today, we find out that Carolyn Duhamel, the Director of the Manitoba School Board Association (H/T Been There Done That at JNW), has been delivering anti-Harper propaganda to all the school divisions in the province, over and above writing a scathing anti-Conservative editorial on their spending too much money on prisons.  Duhamel is a public servant. What on earth is she doing spending public money on a partisan campaign.

Speaking of public servants, earlier this week I wrote about how the Ontario Catholic Teachers’ Association (who strangely have a motto saying “Who Speaks For Children,” was adding a special levy to teachers’ membership dues to pay for a $3 million anti-Hudak, anti-Ontario progressive conservative ad campaign in anticipation of the provincial election in early October 2011.

Well, now we find out how the $3 million are going to be spent — on an anti-Conservative billboard campaign — when as Catherine Swift of the Independent Business Federation suggests to James Ryan, OECTA’s President, (H/T Cadoodle), that the public money should be spent on kids and schools. And, yes, the $3 million is public money because the extra “compulsory” union dues are being taken out of teachers’ salaries, which come from the public purse.

Put another way, if teachers don’t need the money they are allowing their unions to allocate towards partisanship, then they can give it back to taxpayers.  Moreover, teachers should remind their union officials that by being so openly partisan, they are NOT speaking for children. Rather, they are speaking for themselves, their salaries, their benefits and their perks. Nothing wrong with that, of course, given that collective bargaining is legal in this country, but when it is to influence political outcomes, then it is VERY wrong.   

The result of all this? Canadians need to take a good look at the “public” institutions in their country — be it related to education or the CBC. They have been Liberal sympathizers so long, they assume there is nothing wrong with using public money to convince the public not to vote Conservative. Well, I have a feeling there is going to be a huge backlash on May 2nd.

As I wrote in yesterday’s post, and so many commenters agreed, the media fears losing their influence. Well, they already have because whether it is federally on May 2nd or provincially in Ontario on October 6th, it’s about choice. our choice, not theirs. And, it’s about our money, public money, not theirs, that should not be used for partisan purposes.

Last but not least, the reason so many Canadians are favouring the Conservative Party and its leader, is because of Stephen Harper’s leadership and his government’s accomplishments.

8 thoughts on “Universities, teachers’ unions, school boards involved in partisanship

  1. Surviving the media`s onslaught and still remaining near the 40% marks is in and of itself an accomplishment. And I agree, the media is losing its influence. PMSH wins either way. It`s either a majority in which case the media wears it or it`s a CP minority and PMSH gets to be the I-told-you-so guy as Canadians watch as the coalition takes over and see that they were lied to not only by the Libs but that media who aided them in their scheme. Nobody will believe any one of them after it`s over.

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  2. While I agree with the sentiment of this post, I do have a quibble with the logic of:

    “the $3 million is public money because the extra “compulsory” union dues are being taken out of teachers’ salaries, which come from the public purse.”

    Not really. Public servants can spend their personal money in whatever way they want. If they object to professional organizations that they belong to (such as a union) spending their dues in a certain way, they can organize amongst their members and change their leadership. At least theoretically.

    The way to solve this is to pass provincial laws barring anyone but individuals from donating to political campaigns, or engaging in political advertising.

    I know that I’ve belonged to unions that used my dues to print up anti-Gordon Campbell calendars, which I found an objectionable use of funds. I wrote a strongly worded letter and spoke to my coworkers, and spread the word that if this is what the union is doing, they’re 1). taking too much of our money in dues, and 2). have too much time on their hands, and maybe they should trim their staffs. You get enough people talking that way and suddenly the rhetoric from the politicos in unions dies down pretty quickly.

    As far as I can tell, the Manitoba School Boards Association is a voluntary organization that most, if not every school board in that province belongs to. If the behaviour of Carolyn Duhamel bothers you so much, then begin lobbying local school boards to withdraw from the association. And if they won’t, then start seeking to replace the members of each school board through the ballot box with people who will.

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  3. . Nobody will believe any one of them after it`s over.

    And then it will be too late. Thats the sad fact people better wake up to. Canada will be destroyed by the inexperience of the 3 amigos. Its all about special interest groups when it comes to the Liberals and it looks like the media fit into that catagory. For Canadians it will be hands in YOUR pockets for the coalition to pay them all off for their election loyalty.Ignatieff talks of Hope and Fear. My hope is a Harper majority and my fear is Ignatieff, Layton and Duceppe and what the media is doing to aid them in this destruction.

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  4. James — Provincial school board associations are not volunteer in the usual sense. School boards contribute funding through memberships — which is public money. Plus, they openly represent elected trustees, which means they are supposed to be non-partisan, just as trustees are supposed to be. End of story. I don’t live in Manitoba. I am just writing about it.

    In other words, your basic premise is wrong in my opinion. That I and other taxpayers/voters should have to lobby to get rid of a director of an organization that is supposed to represent us — the same taxpayers/voters????

    Moreover, its too bad that laws would have to be passed so that teachers’ unions do the right thing. In all the years I taught, I cannot ever recall such open political interference — until Mike Harris. By then, I was at the university level and in private practice. It has been so gradual that most new teachers see it as the norm, unfortunately.

    In Ontario, you would not have been able to do what you did. Here you would be fired or, at the very least, shunned by fellow teachers. I know, because my husband was, until recently, in that system. You do not, ever, question or criticize the union in any way.

    All those years trying to get a College of Teachers to make the teaching profession a profession. And for what? To have union stewards in each and every school, rather than a federation rep? Big difference in mentality. It’s now all about teacher entitlements! And, as a former teacher educator, I find that very disappointing.

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  5. Check out the CPAC call in show smear campaign going on against the Conservatives…astounding!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Tom Clark and Andrew Cowan

    1-877-296-2722 call in and say you Love Iggy to get them to take your call.

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  6. “Helena appears to have decided to work with the CBC to take down the conservative government.
    She has lost my sympathy.”

    Mine too. At the beginning of this fiasco, I was defending her but since then I see she’ become what you could say a liability.
    She lost the confidence of her caucus colleagues. She should leave it at that.

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  7. I’m inclined to support the concept of making efforts to get students out to vote, especially when the election happens at exam time, however the rather fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants nature of this one is annoying. There should be a consistent method of handling “special” advanced polls and the expectation that they’ll be done the same as any other. Is it really that difficult to set up a proper polling station? Getting the kids out to vote then raising issues around whether or not it was done in a legitimate manner is likely to add more to their disdain than their desire to do it again.

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