Redford Tories’ War with Teachers: It’s About Caucus Politics

The Progressive Conservatives are preparing for a multi-year battle with the teachers of Alberta. With rhetoric such as “protect the classroom” (implying that teachers are working against teaching and children) and firing off emails to thousands of teachers in likely breach of privacy laws (which is currently being investigated by the Privacy Commissioner), it’s obvious.

The Progressive Conservatives are at war with Alberta’s teachers. Because of caucus politics.

It isn’t about salary freezes or delaying pay increases. It isn’t even the budget. The Alberta Teachers Association has been more than compromising and has been trying to work with government (particularly on issues like capping work hours and how to handle supervising extra-curriculars), and Education Minister Jeff Johnson has responded with ultimatums. Now that the negotiations on teachers’ contracts has moved to the local school boards Minister Johnson has sent out an email telling school board trustees that the province wont budge from their position. And that “negotiations are over.

The Progressive Conservatives are directly attempting to over rule local decision making by local school boards and elected representatives at those levels comply to their position. This fundamentally runs against local decision making and the tradition of local bargaining that has been done in Alberta since at least the 1940s (with the minor exception of the 2007 contract negotiations when all of the contracts ended at the same time).

It’s not about the budget or salaries for the Redford government, obviously.

It’s about politics.

According to Daveberta‘s insiders the strife is coming from the Conservative caucus.  According to his sources the supporters of other leadership camps in the 2011 leadership race for the PCs were agitating against teachers, likely because of the role they were assumed to have played in getting Redford elected leader of the party. If an enterprising group of MLAs want to hurt their leader without causing harm to their party then a down and dirty fight against the teachers of Alberta would be a perfect way to cause that damage.

It would hurt Redford, allow for the old boys in the Conservatives to gain more power in caucus, and steer the province in the direction they want.

And the tool the Conservatives have chosen to use in this episode are the children of Alberta, the privacy and the profession of teachers, and the future of the province.

It’s a sad day for Alberta… but it’s politics as usual.

3 Responses to Redford Tories’ War with Teachers: It’s About Caucus Politics

  • Absurd. The implication that a Minister of the Crown would stoop to this level just to hurt the Premier is just absurd, and ignores the real reasons Minister Johnson has given for where these negotiations are going. The ATA hasn’t been “more than compromising” on this; the ASBA knows the offer was a good one, which is why they advised school boards to accept it.

    • A two percent raise over four years is not good. Yes, we are hurting economically but just because the Alberta government can’t manage their money teachers have to pay for it. Get it together.

  • It is as simple as a government without a leader (Redford) running around like they can do what they want as school yard bullies. The reality is that Jeff Johnson is being a jerk because the Premier is letting him speak his simple mind. At some point he won’t be able to handle things – look at him now – and then he will be ushered to the back benches. Better sooner than later, this guy has no integrity and really doesn’t seem to care about our young people in Alberta.

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