'Billions' In Signing Bonuses? Pizza Lunches? #FordNation, Check Your Facts
Ford "Fired Up?" Good.
Where Was I For This Free Pizza Lunch, Or The Signing Bonus?
When I lived in Ontario from 1973 to 1984, I was in my formative years and attending school. I missed out on the "fun" of both the "Rae Days" and the Harris years because I was living in Alberta and attending university.
When my family moved back to Ontario in 2007, the Liberal Party was in power, and I was strangely able to secure a teaching job within a few days of moving to the province. Granted, it was temporary, but I got a teaching job and have been able to maintain continued employment over the last 13 years. Not once do I recall being offered a signing bonus, let alone an "extra" signing bonus that current Ontario premier Doug Ford ranted about in his press conference March 2, 2020. While I have also enjoyed pizza lunches, both while teaching and not, this was largely tied in with lunch hour meetings or professional development days and can not be considered "free" as there was something expected of me in return.
I can assure you that I do not have any offshore bank accounts where I've stored these mysterious "signing bonuses" Ford thinks I've gotten, and the last time I got a pizza lunch, it was tied to a meeting I was attending for a school-related group I supervise.
A friend just did some loose calculations tied in with Ford's claims on March 2, 2020, that teachers make $94 million annually. If that were the case, she determined that we'd all be making just shy of $600,000 apiece, and looking at my T4 slips, I can guarantee you, I am well short of that amount. I don't even make six figures, and while there have been those on social media who have claimed that the highest-paid teachers make close to $120,000 annually, that is well earned, as these are teachers who likely also have masters' degrees in one discipline or another, who have gone on to take various qualifications courses, and who have very much paid their dues over the years. Who would begrudge someone a decent annual income based on hard work?
Furthermore, Ford has also claimed that teachers' unions have held the province hostage for 50 years. 50. Teachers' unions did not even legally have the right to strike until the School Boards' and Teachers Unions' Collective Negotiations Act was passed in 1975. Since 1987, according to the Toronto Star, there have been nine strikes that have been undertaken either at the local level or the provincial level, and there have been none that have involved all 4 education unions since 1997.
Listen, I get it. There are bad educators out there. There are also bad cops, doctors, nurses...governments...you name it. However, there are people who work their butts off in every field to ensure that people are educated, kept safe and healthy, and can wake up in the morning feeling good. Flinging patently false, and truly laughable, information about one profession or the other only makes the person spreading the news look like one of those gorillas at the zoo who flings excrement at other gorillas.
The Ford government has now descended into the sublimely ridiculous with that presser the government hosted on March 2, 2020. Instead of truth, the public - including those that elected Ford - got spin and lies. Instead of comments being delivered in a calm, measured manner befitting a politician, the public got a man who was clearly angry and ready to blow his stack. Instead of friendly discourse about the results of that press conference, there are jokes being made once again about the government.
What's worse is that there are never any truly clear answers coming from the government as to why things aren't being done well, let alone properly. I realize that with change comes adjustment, but when the change flies in the face of what many would deem logical, it's really hard to adjust to said change. We've got a man in charge of Ontario who believes buck-a-beer and gambling are more important than education that works for everyone. We've got a man who thinks that bluster and anger work better than answering a question using clear language and a calm attitude.
In short, #FordNation, I'm waiting for you to grow up and do the job you're supposed to be doing. Stop being evasive, and do what's right for the province, not just your fellow businesspeople.
Also, if you have a few dozen pizzas for some hungry teachers, I'm sure my colleagues and I will appreciate them.