Copyright © 1997. All Rights Reserved.
By Nick Devlin
Here's a riddle for you: when's a strike about education not about education?
When it's about greed, the naked shaking variety, that's when.
Notwithstanding the naive cadre of idealistic students who daily wave their placards at passing motorists outside the education centre downtown (hey, what a fantastic idea: skip school in the name of protecting your education - who ever said these kids are stupid?), the current labor troubles at the Calgary Board of Education have nothing to do with them or their education at all.
It has to do with money. Money. Moolah. Cash. Sammoleans. Greenbacks. Dough. It's about who's buying a new Ford Explorer next year and who isn't. And it's about our public greed, more than anything else.
Eons ago, at the dawn of the "Klein Revolution," the majority decided somebody was going to bleed to pay down the deficit - and it sure as hell wasn't going to be them. After all, if you're going to impose pain on yourself, what's the point of being a majority? So, Klein and his hand-picked goons went about extracting their appointed pound of flesh from everyone who draws a cheque from the provincial treasury; despite the fact a great many of them are single parents making less than $30,000 a year.
(Which, if you were some kind of Marxist nut, would lead you to make all kinds of kooky conclusions about the social injustice, the oppression of the working class by bourgeois scum, and other similar nonsense.)
And now the sun shines again. The deficit dragon is vanquished and petro-dollars are pouring into Alberta. Now that times are good, those who sacrificed dearly for the common good are asking for their due.
Make no mistake about it, the teachers are morally right.
But it's still about greed. The same greed which makes the majority say, "There's no damn way we're parting with our hard-stolen riches." Fortunately for the majority, we have Ralphie on our side. After all, we want that new sport utility too.
No one will go hungry or homeless if the teachers don't get their five per cent back. Nobody will if they do. Either way, it isn't about education.
Just like the recently decided Provincial Court Judges' lawsuit over their five-per-cent pay cut wasn't about judicial independence.
What, are we supposed to believe that disgruntled and impoverished judges are going to start randomly finding innocent people guilty just to piss us off? Are impoverished teachers going to start telling students, "Yes Johnny, two plus two does equal five."
Surely our professionals are made of sterner stuff than that.
Except the judges won. Astonishingly, only one Supreme Court Justice recognized this case for what it truly was: a completely constitutional attack on judges' ability to independently purchase resort properties.
(Which, if you were some kind of Marxist nut, would lead you to make all kinds of goofy statements about the social injustice, the socio-political elites protecting their own interests at the expense of the working class, and other similar silliness.)
But who would ever believe something like that?
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