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Now, The LCBO Is On The Teachers' Side: What Next?

Updated on February 17, 2020
Christina St-Jean profile image

I am a mom of two awesome children who teach me more than I ever thought possible. I love writing, exercise, movies, and LGBT advocacy.

LCBO Workers Are The Latest Group Behind Teachers

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When A Government Business Backs The Teachers, That Says Something

I was not too surprised to learn that the LCBO workers are now among those groups supporting educators in their fight against the savage cuts against education the Ford government is continuing to try and pursue.

They join the Toronto Firefighters and ACTRA - the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists - among those supporting teachers' unions as they continue to protest the cuts the government is trying to push through. The LCBO workers expressing their support for the education workers seems, at least for me, to highlight just how wrong the Ford government's cuts are to education.

When a government-owned and government-controlled business comes out in support of the side that is not the government, that says a lot about how things could be going for the government. Granted, these LCBO workers are not members of the government, but of OPSEU local 5110, which basically means part of a separate union is supporting educators in their fight against the Ontario government.

What is Ford doing with this growing wave of support against him?

Apparently, not much; as late as February 16, 2020, Doug Ford was speaking to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about the current conflict regarding the Wet'suwet'en territory crisis, which is a federal matter rather than a provincial one. Granted, we are all concerned in one way or another about that current territory crisis, but it would seem, at least to me, that perhaps Mr. Ford has other things that might be more pressing on his provincial agenda - you know, the purview of the Premier's office?

I realize that Ford has said earlier in February that he was a businessperson first and premier second, so perhaps the office of premier is not one that particularly interests him and that's why he spends so much time focusing on what's happening federally, but it is the office to which he was elected, so one would think if there's a crisis occurring within his province, he'd be focused on trying to fix that.

Alas, no. The ongoing stalemate in the education negotiations with all four educator unions does not appear to be one that Ford or any of his ministers - least of all the ineffective minister of education himself, Stephen Lecce - seems interested in or even equipped to solve. What would Ford rather spend his time doing? Traveling to the United States to praise President Trump and denounce Bernie Sanders and talking to the prime minister of Canada about a matter that is federal instead of provincial. His education minister - the aforementioned Mr. Lecce - is spending his time making speeches and videos vilifying teachers instead of actually spending some time at the negotiations table himself to see what is actually happening. In fact, the heads of all four education unions in Ontario went to a recent event at which Lecce was speaking because, as they said, it was the only way they could get in the same room with the man.

The image that states LCBO workers are supporting education workers in their fight against the government serves to illustrate that - once again - the Ford government is making serious missteps, and these are becoming more obvious with each passing day.

Remember buck-a-beer - the policy that sounded like it was coming from the desk of a college student rather than the man running the province? According to the LCBO website, there is only one brewery selling beer at that price - one. Many craft breweries said that they couldn't produce quality beer that cheaply, and if you go into many liquor stores or Beer Stores, you'd be hard-pressed to find a beer that is even in the same neighborhood as a buck. The new license plates Ontario supposedly needed? According to various sources on social media, it's almost impossible to see what they say in certain lighting conditions.

Government ministers can get a 14 percent raise and a 20 percent increase in their housing allowance, but when it comes to education workers, students, or really, anyone working in the province of Ontario, the government feels they can cut blindly in the name of paying down the debt. In reality, it's so the government can afford things like corporate tax cuts, but who's counting?

LCBO workers standing up in support of the fight against education cuts is the latest in a few groups who have stepped forward in an effort to tell the Ford government what they are doing is unacceptable. It does not matter why Ford and his colleagues in the government think it's necessary to take valuable supports - the caring adults in a classroom - away from kids, but it does matter that these cuts are happening unless something is done about it.

Protest. Fight against them. Contact your local politicians.

Eventually, someone will have to hear what's being said.


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