Good morning County,
Well, election day has come and gone, and it looks like we will be facing another 4 years of a Liberal majority.
If social media is any sort of measure, the election generated a great deal of disappointment from many areas. Not specifically because of the result, although certainly there was a fairly strong wish for change amongst teachers that I spoke to, but also because of the abysmally low voter turn-out. Despite a strong pre-election numbers, only slightly more than half the eligible voters bothered to mark their “x”.
It is hard not to be a bit deflated by that. Certainly, we, as teachers, tried to keep the public engaged, probably more so than we have ever done in our 122 year history. However, voter apathy is a malady that is larger than one issue. All across politics, whether municipal, provincial or even federal, getting people to believe that their vote makes a difference is one of the true challenges of our age. We certainly saw with some poignancy last Tuesday that every vote truly does count, that’s for sure. With some ridings being determined by only double digit margins, an extra thousand voters could have seen us facing a much different result last Wednesday morning.
However, for those of you who did engage politically, there are a number of positives that came out of the election. We must recognize that, as a group, teachers are fairly new to political activism. I would say we tend to be fairly civic minded, of course, but when it comes to throwing any sort of political weight around, this election was unchartered territory. And although we are facing another four years of a majority government with whom our relationship has been less than friendly, I would propose that without this new found activism, the majority in the house would be much stronger than currently exists. The government may not have been ousted, as some wished, but they certainly were given something to think about.
Whether the next four years is marred by continued confrontation with the government remains to be seen. The optimist in me hopes that the close call on election night and the increased opposition presence in the house will cause some sober second thought to be brought to play on legislation like Bill 148 and Bill 75. There is also some hope to be hung upon the Council to Improve Classroom conditions, and it will be interesting to see what that group can accomplish in the interim. As well, we will all be watching as the legal challenge brought forward by the NSTU against Bill 75 weaves its way through the court system.
However, if the next two years unfolds as dramatically as the previous two, we may very well be facing another fight at the bargaining table two years from now.
If so, it will be a fight that I would hazard to say we will be much, much better prepared to engage in.
Just a note that as our year wraps up, we have our AGM on Wednesday evening, which is our last meeting of the year. If you get a chance, say “Thanks” to your school rep today for all the extra work and time they have put in on your behalf this year.
Finally, a quick shout out to the Social and Wellness Committee for all their hard work on the retirement event on Friday evening. It was amazing to stand at the front of that room and consider the impact on our province as a whole represented by the people in that room. Thanks for inviting me to speak, and good luck to all our retirees. We wish you all the best.
That’s all for this week County! Chat next week.