Editor’s note: The following letter was written to Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil.
Democracy was defined by Abe Lincoln in the Gettysburg address as “government of the people, by the people, for the people.” While this is indeed an American politician, it is a minimum expectation for every Canadian.
What has transpired in Nova Scotia lately with Bill 148, and more recently with Bill 75, has certainly triggered this famous quote. In an outright battle between the Liberal government on one side, and teachers, parents and students on the other, our government is not working for the people of Nova Scotia.
Among the most valuable assets in this province are good health care and a quality education. For both of those, we need to fight this government and fight hard we will. Both have been brutally attacked by this Liberal government.
As I reflect on the present state of affairs, I think of my own mother who was a very well respected and beloved teacher and my father who at a very young age went off to England in World War II to fight for freedom and democracy. They both worked very hard to make life better for their children. They instilled in their eight children the importance of a good education, the value of a strong work ethic and the responsibility to participate and make informed decisions at the ballot box. As a credit to them, I am an informed and active voter of this province.
Shame on this Liberal government for stripping the rights to collective bargaining from the teachers of our province. This does not constitute government of, by, or for the people. To ignore our most precious commodity, our youth, is unacceptable. They, at the very least, deserve a good, quality public education.
Over 32 per cent of Cape Breton children live below the poverty level, yet the Liberal government (yes, our government), shortly after coming to power, gave themselves a nine per cent raise and a pension after two years of service. Education is and always will be the most effective and viable way to break the poverty cycle. Our government should be aware of that, although they obviously are not.
Over the last week, the public has listened to the committee hearings. The passionate and heart-wrenching pleas from educators to improve working conditions in the classroom have fallen on the deaf ears of your government. However, the public listened and learned.
Throwing money at another hand-picked committee does absolutely nothing. The history of data collection and formation of committees has not resulted in any positive action while the education system continues to crumble under Education Minister Casey who was Minister of Education under a previous government and then crossed the floor three years before the Liberals won the last election.
As much as I miss my own adult children and grandchild each day, I feel twinges of guilt if I even suggest that they return to their home province. They would be returning to among the highest taxes in the country, lower wages, rising home prices, crumbling hospitals and health care, a dysfunctional education system, and a government that refuses to listen to the very people who elected them. We cannot guarantee them the quality of life they now enjoy, nor the best education for their children. I am ashamed of what we have to offer besides beautiful scenery which will not put food on the table.
I am grateful to the present government for its role in awakening a now well-informed public. It will not be long before the next election. It is my sincere hope that there are some lessons learned!
As quoted from John A. Mac Donald: “Anybody may support me when I am right. What I want is someone that will support me when I am wrong.” In 2017, however, the voters will not give support when they know your government is wrong!