March 2, 2012 - No. 28
Defend the Rights of Teachers and Public Education
Unacceptable Assault on Teachers' Rights
Rallies for BC Teachers Day of Action in Burnaby (left) and Vancouver,
February 27, 2012. (CUPE, Media
• Unacceptable Assault on Teachers' Rights
• Teachers' Rights Trampled! It Must Not Pass!
- Donna Petersen
• Teachers Shocked by Bill 22, a Radical
Assault on Our Profession - Teachers' Federation, News
• Public Opinion Poll Shows Support for
The Hughes Inquiry
• A Ploy to Justify Back-to-Work Legislation
Budget Speech 2012
• Mantra for an Anti-Social "New Paradigm"
- Edith Cohen
Defend the Rights of Teachers and Public
Unacceptable Assault on Teachers' Rights
The British Columbia Teachers' Federation (BCTF)
announced in a March 1 press conference that a three-day teachers'
strike will begin Monday, March 5. This is the initial limit of the
strike imposed by the BC Labour Relations Board. Following the
three-day strike the teachers are allowed under the BC Labour Board to
strike one day a week thereafter. However, the BC government has tabled
legislation virtually outlawing any teacher job actions in defence of
their rights and public education and to force the government to
bargain in good faith.
A BCTF Press Release dated
February 29 says that members
of the BCTF "voted overwhelmingly to resist the unjust actions of the
provincial government in yet again moving to impose a contract on the
province's 41,000 public school teachers.
"A total of 27,946 teachers voted yes in a province-wide
vote conducted February 28 and 29, 2012. In all, 32,209 teachers cast
ballots, of whom 87% voted yes."
"Teachers are determined and united in their opposition
to Bill 22 and to the bullying tactics of a provincial government that
has deliberately underfunded public education for a decade," said Susan
Lambert, president of the BCTF.
"The results of our province-wide vote are strong
evidence of the unity and determination of BCTF members in rejecting
this government's provocative and damaging legislation," Lambert added.
The press release points out that Bill 22, tabled on
February 28 in the Legislature, "seeks to impose a net-zero contract,
to restrict the ability to negotiate improved learning conditions, and
to eliminate fundamental civil and labour rights for teachers."
Teachers and supporters
rally at provincial legislature in Victoria, February 27, 2012. (CAW Local 114)
Teachers' Rights Trampled! It Must Not Pass!
Within hours of the British Columbia Labour Relations
February 28 ruling that teachers could escalate from limited job action
(no administrative work, supervision or report cards) to full
withdrawal of services, the BC Liberal party in power introduced Bill
22, the Education Improvement Act which will make ANY job
action illegal. Further, Bill 22 takes job action out of the BCLRB's
and puts it into the courts, and directs that the court may impose
punishment and "order the offender to pay compensation or make
restitution to a person specified by the court for the actual loss or
damage caused by or arising out of the
commission of the offense." The "punishment" is in addition to the
$475 per day for individuals to $1.3 million per day for BCTF for
anyone who directs, authorizes or makes a declaration for any employee
to go on strike.
Clearly, the BCLRB must
change its ruling after Bill 22
Its ruling is
an attack on the BC teachers' right to wage an effective fight for
public education and wages commensurate with a Canadian-standard, yet
it is more likely to be within the bounds of Supreme Court decisions on
what is Constitutional vis-à-vis
collective bargaining as a right than is Bill 22.
The BCLRB ruled teachers can stay off the job for three
days one week and one day for each of the next two weeks, after
providing two days notice. Teachers cannot picket or "in any
way"restrict access to schools or school districts, and BCLRB is to
review the ruling on March 12.
Bill 22 is completely self-serving. It legislates the
demands of the government's bargaining arm the BC Public School
Employers' Association (BCPSEA).
Instead of appointing a mediator through the BCLRB, as
requested by the BC Teachers' Federation (BCTF), Bill 22 directs a
mediator be appointed by the Minister of Education. The legislation
extends the current collective agreement to when a collective
agreement is concluded or when the cooling-off period, ends August 31.
Bill 22 states collective
bargaining must commence
within 72 hours of Bill 22 coming into force.
This must be considered a new era of collective
bargaining where the Employer (government) appoints the mediator and
puts in place terms of reference that are, in effect, the employers'
demands. For example:
The contract term is July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2013.
There can be no new costs, in other words, net zero. All the
"professional growth and mentorship," "Post & Fill, Employee
Assignment and Transfer" and "Layoff and Recall" demands of BCPSEA are
included in the "terms of reference." Section 6(2)(c) states: "the new
collective agreement is to enable high-quality teaching and learning
through i) effective feedback and evaluation of teachers to promote
improvement, ii) alignment of professional development with teaching
needs, and (iii) scheduling and selection of teachers suited to student
Bill 22 seeks to eliminate
the BCTF as a professional organization capable of defending its
members and as an effective force for defending public education. The
legislation prohibits a teachers' collective agreement from containing
any provisions regulating teachers, "the courses of study, the program
of studies or the professional methods and techniques employed by a
teacher"; it cannot limit "a board's power to employ persons other than
teachers to assist teachers in the carrying out of their
responsibilities under this Act." There can be no language around
class size and/or composition.
The legislation is
self-serving. It serves the private
interests seeking to widen the market for private for-profit education
and is against the public interest. This legislation is another example
of the state using its powers to further attack a crucial social
program and acting against the public good. The insistence
of the government to impose a "net zero" contract on teachers and
servants is the dictate of the financial oligarchy to cut their share
paid to the state in taxes, while shrinking the capacity of the
teachers and other public servants to purchase the goods and services
within the economy. It's pay-the-rich politics.
Bill 22 seeks to appease the 82 per cent of British
Columbians calling for a mediated end to the job action by inserting
the role of a government appointed mediator who is limited to the terms
of reference which deny any possibility of increasing funding for
teachers' salaries or improving the class room situation for
the students. The call is for an independent mediator, not a Minister
of Education self-interested appointment under terms that are a
straightforward dictate of government demands. Bill 22 is further
confirmation that the social contract between unions and employers has
been shredded. Clearly, denying even the power
of to put up a picket line, the government wants to create conditions
to liquidate the teachers' capacity to organize and fight for their
collective rights with some effect.
Bill 22 must not pass! It legislates teachers as
criminals if they dare to stand up for maintaining their real standard
of living or for increased funding to ensure quality public education
as a right for all children and youth in BC. Exercising a legal right
to strike must not be criminalized!
Teachers Shocked by Bill 22,
a Radical Assault on Our Profession
The legislation introduced
this afternoon by Education Minister George Abbott constitutes yet
another assault on the profession of teaching and the public education
system by this provincial government.
BCTF President Susan Lambert characterized Bill 22, the
cynically entitled Education Improvement Act, as "a
destructive act of legislative vandalism that will violate collective
bargaining rights for teachers and have a profoundly negative impact on
learning conditions for students."
Under the guise of imposing a six-month "cooling-off
period," the bill empowers the minister to appoint a mediator who is
constrained by the net-zero mandate and tasked with reaching agreement
on a number of concessions tabled by the employer. The bill imposes a
two-year wage freeze, which means every
teacher will lose about $2,800 in purchasing power.
"This bill forces us into a mock mediation that has a
predetermined outcome, and is designed to make teachers complicit in
stripping the remaining protections in our own collective agreement,"
said Lambert. "It's absolutely Orwellian."
The aspect of the
legislation that is most damaging for students prohibits teachers from
bargaining class size, average class size, staffing levels, ratios or
caseloads for another two years. Thus, there are no effective limits on
the number of children who can be assigned to any class over Grade 3 or
on the diversity
and complexity of needs represented within any class.
"Why should these bargaining rights be postponed until
after the next election? This means students will have suffered
worsening conditions for a full 12 years," Lambert said. "Teachers
sacrificed raises in the past to win protections for class size and
composition because we care about our students and want to
be able to teach to individual needs. I can only imagine how concerned
parents will be when they realize that learning conditions are only
going to get worse as a result of this bill."
Bill 22 also includes severe penalties in the event of
an illegal strike: $475 per day for individual teachers, $2,500 per day
for union officers, and a minimum of $1.3 million per day for the BCTF.
"The fines in this bullying legislation are punitive in the extreme,"
Lambert said. "They are a clear attempt to intimidate
Teachers will continue voting Wednesday on whether to
escalate their limited job action to a full-scale walkout. Lambert,
other BCTF executive committee members, and local union leaders across
the province will be consulting members about the next steps.
Public Opinion Poll Shows Support for Teachers
On February 25, the BC
Federation of Labour released a
poll taken by Environics Research Group. Four hundred people surveyed
in BC on Feb 23-24 expressed general support for the teachers in
opposition to the Liberal government's position.
Asked, "Whose side are you on?" 53 per cent said
"teachers," 39 per cent "government" and 8 per cent "neutral."
When asked if they supported the appointment of a
mediator to help resolve the dispute, 82 per cent supported and 12 per
Significantly, the BC
Teachers' Federation requested a
mediator to help resolve negotiations, which was rejected by the
A slight concession in the
government's position was a
hint that if the Labour Relations Board saw merit in appointing a
mediator the government might consider it. Trade unionists widely
believe LRB chair, Brent Mullen, appointed by the government, would
only assent to a mediator if he felt this was what
the government wanted.
Eighty-nine per cent agreed to the following question:
"If both sides agree to arbitration, an arbitrator can then settle the
dispute by independently setting the terms of the final contract. If
the BC Teachers' Federation offered to end their job action and abide
an arbitrator's ruling, should the BC government
agree to arbitration?"
Again, the BCTF suggested
arbitration would be better
than a legislated contract. However, the government refused that as
Sixty-one per cent of respondents to the poll said
teachers should hold out for a cost of living increase, while 32 per
cent said they should not be given any increase.
Fifty-five per cent think the present teachers' actions
do NOT jeopardize classroom learning while 33 per cent do. More
significantly, parents of school age children voted 63 per cent that
the partial strike does NOT jeopardize class room learning.
To the question: "The BC government has said that it may
impose a contract on teachers and end the job action through
legislation. Would you support or oppose the government doing this?"
52 per cent opposed and 43 per cent agreed.
But when the question
included, "a wage freeze, weakened
seniority provisions and other concessions," opposition increased to 62
per cent and support dropped to 34 per cent.
To the final question: "What if the BC government
refused arbitration and instead legislated a contract on its own terms?
Would teachers then be justified in escalating their job action,
including going on strike?"
Fifty-eight per cent
replied, "Yes, justified," while 36
per cent said, "No, not justified."
The poll has been widely reported with the monopoly
media spin being support for teachers and government is split 50/50.
What is the significance of this brief glimpse at 400 people's opinion?
The main significance is that despite the continuous media and
government misrepresentation and demeaning of the
teachers, the polity in British Columbia supports measures to improve
public education and respects the teachers' demand for at least a cost
of living increase in salary.
The mass media generate pressure and create an
atmosphere that everyone opposes resistance of the working class to the
neoliberal agenda. On the contrary, the more the working class
including professionals such as teachers organize their numbers and
take clear and coherent pro-social arguments to the masses,
the wider and more enthusiastic the people become in support of their
pro-social just stands. The teachers are showing once again that their
organized resistance to the government's anti-social, anti-education
policies is winning support.
The Hughes Inquiry
A Ploy to Justify Back-to-Work Legislation
October 17, 2005: Mass
rally at BC provincial legislature in support of teachers and to oppose
On Thursday, February 23, 2012 Trevor Hughes, Assistant
Deputy Minister Industrial Relations delivered his report An
Inquiry into the Status of Collective Bargaining between the BC Public
School Employers' Association (BCPSEA) and the BC Teachers' Federation
(BCTF) to his boss, Dr. Margaret
MacDiarmid, Minister of Labour, Citizens' Services and Open Government.
Education Minister George Abbot immediately declared,
"Legislation could be introduced as early as next week," adding that he
was "not prepared to let the school year wrap up without full report
cards and collaborative meetings between teachers and principals, both
of which have been affected by teachers'
job action." Abbott was faster, introducing legislation
criminalizing teachers only five days later. Mr. Abbot's statements
upon receiving the Hughes' Inquiry report are the same as his reported
concerns that initiated the report. It is clear a fix was in to use the
report as an excuse to introduce back-to-work
Trevor Hughes' inquiry was ordered by the party in power
for the party in power. It is another clear example how public
interests have been depoliticized. The entire consideration started and
ended with an assertion by Minister Abbot that the inquiry was
of, "among other things, the negative educational
impact that the teachers' job action is having on students and the lack
of reporting of student progress to both students and parents" and that
a settlement was unlikely.
The report predictably concludes that a negotiated
settlement is "unlikely," paving the way for the legislation to
criminalize the teachers and deny them their right to strike in defence
of their wages, working conditions and public education.
The Minister has used this self-serving report as a
pretext to criminalize the teachers. That was the game plan from the
beginning; however, a public opinion poll has revealed a groundswell of
support for the teachers rather than the government. With or without
broad support, the government is determined to
ram anti-teacher anti-public education legislation through the
legislature come hell or high water.
Sign during protest
of BC Liberals' 2005 back-to-work legislation against teachers. (E. Wayne)
The BCTF says that the innumerable meetings between
itself and the BC Public School Employers' Association (BCPSEA) cannot
be called "collective bargaining." The BCPSEA has refused to yield a
single inch to the BCTF's just demands to increase funding for
elementary and secondary education and raise
teachers' salaries at least to match the cost of living. The ruling
Party's dogma of "net zero" is the only phrase that falls from the
employers' mouths. Merely showing up at a "negotiating meeting" hardly
meets the constitutional test for "bargaining in good faith."
Abbot's comments were the same before the Hughes inquiry
as after. In September, the government met the teachers' partial strike
action with an appeal to the Labour Relations Board to illegalize it
because, as asserted for a decade, any action by the teachers to back
up their demands is an attack on the students'
best interests and the government's prerogative. However, people more
and more find the government's die-hard refusal to fund public
education properly, provide teachers with a modest salary increase and
deal concretely with the problems of class size and special needs are
an attack on the learning conditions of
students and a plot to privatize public education even further.
In order to fulfill the government's mission to force a
contract on the teachers and liquidate their public campaign for
increased education financing, Deputy Minister Hughes presents a
revealing if inadvertent conclusion in his report: "It is my assessment
that unfortunately it is very unlikely that BCPSEA
and BCTF will be able to reach a voluntary settlement.... I ... find
that the 'net zero' mandate and the outstanding 'split of issues'
between provincial and local bargaining are fundamental obstacles to
the parties being able to reach a voluntary settlement."
Hughes dodges the obvious conclusion: the
government's dogmatic and irrational effort to impose a "net zero" wage
settlement in light of annual cost of living inflation of around 2.5
per cent, years of zero wage increases for teachers in recent years and
refusal to deal separately with issues at the local level
is the major cause of the impasse.
After reading the Liberal deputy-minister's report,
Abbot asserts that a chasm remains between the parties despite nearly
80 bargaining sessions over the past year. "When adults can't reach a
respectful agreement on these things," he said, "it is always the
students who pay the price." Brilliant! The Liberals start
and end "nearly 80 bargaining sessions" saying they refuse to find a
penny for teacher salaries or increase funding for reduced class sizes
etc. They blame the teachers for making "students pay the price" and
then order teachers to end their job action. Based on this sophism the
Liberals again want to criminalize teachers'
right to strike as they have done before. No wonder a majority of
public opinion supports the teachers despite a misinforming and
anti-teacher mass media.
Day of Action,
February 27, 2012
Students' well-being is not Abbot's driving concern. The
government he represents has cut real dollar spending to education.
This has been shown concretely in study after study showing education
spending is now a declining percentage of the provincial Gross Domestic
Product (GDP) and in relation to population
growth, inflation and other factors. Cost downloading onto school
boards has been another contentious issue, for example, school boards
being forced to divert funds to pay for school buses. Since 2001, over
200 schools have closed, in many cases piling on misery in districts
suffering economic problems and other
issues. Other school districts such as Surrey complain continually of
overcrowding. Speech-language and occupation therapists, teacher
psychologists, behaviour assessment and teaching assistant services, to
name a few, have been pared so thin there are long waitlists for
services. This has become a significant factor
driving parents, even with modest incomes, to pay extra fees to
transfer their children from a public to a private school. Taken
together, the government could be accused of privatizing and wrecking
the public education system.
The BCTF is supposed to be in collective
with the employer. Collective bargaining, the Supreme Court of Canada
has ruled, is a constitutionally guaranteed right. The right is to the
act of bargaining, not to obtaining necessarily what is wanted. But
this must apply to both sides.
However, the BC government has dictated the BCPSEA must
receive everything it wants while the teachers must receive nothing.
"Net zero" bargaining starts the process with an inevitable conclusion:
not a penny more in salaries or anything else. How is that "bargaining
in good faith"? How can the BC government
simply proclaim it does not have a penny more for teachers, especially
given the same government has cut corporate income tax from 16.5 per
cent to 10 per cent?
Quotes from a recent item on BC's lost government
revenue, "The Era of Tax Cut Stupidity that Starved BC" by Will
McMartin published February 27 in The
Tyee "details how the BC Liberals squandered a historic chance
strengthen this province." McMartin has been a political consultant
affiliated with the Conservative, Social
Credit and BC Reform parties.
- "Falcon's budget shows that corporate profits will
surpass $24.7 billion in 2012, yet Victoria's corporate-income tax
receipts will come in at less than $2.3 billion -- or a mere 9.1 per
cent of profits."
- "Next year, in 2013, profits are expected to rise to
$25.8 billion, but the province's take will drop to 7.9 per cent."
- "Today, the receipts generated by Victoria's
Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) -- BC's main financial account -- have
sunk to a level not seen since the late 1960s/early 1970s."
- "And under the broader Generally Accepted Accounting
Practice (GAAP) measurement, provincial revenues over the last decade
have been in a near-constant decline, year after year."
- "Today, CRF receipts -- as outlined in Falcon's
budget -- are down to slightly more than 15 per cent of nominal GDP, a
level not seen since W.A.C. Bennett left politics 40 years ago."
- "In fiscal 2000/01, the year prior to the BC Liberals'
taking power, GAAP receipts stood at 22.6 per cent of BC's nominal GDP."
- "Now, in the coming fiscal year -- as shown in the Budget
2014/15, released by Falcon on Tuesday
-- the comparable figure is expected to fall to just 19.6 per cent of
- "The revenue lost to the provincial treasury -- three
per cent of nominal gross domestic product (22.6 per cent minus 19.6
per cent) -- in 2012/13 alone is $6.6 billion."
- "By 2014/15, when Falcon expects GAAP receipts to drop
to 19.2 per cent of GDP, the annual loss will be $8.1 billion."
The government can hardly claim a "lack of funds" when
it threw those funds away while nickel and diming the people to death
with user fees, sales taxes such as the HST and other regressive taxes.
It is the dictate of the government for "net zero" that has put
bargaining at an impasse, not the BCTF demands
for modest salary increases to match the cost of living and catch up
past "net zero" lowering of their real income.
Another matter that Hughes claims makes it "unlikely"
for a negotiated settlement is "the outstanding 'split of issues'
between provincial and local bargaining." The Public Education Labour
Relations Act (PELRA) established provincial bargaining in 1997.
enactment, PELRA required the parties
to negotiate the designation of provincial and local matters, which
were defined as not having "costs." All cost items are at the
provincial table. This designation is recorded in a Letter of
Understanding (LOU), which has not changed since the mid-'90s.
At the outset of the current round of bargaining, BCTF
stated its intention to negotiate only compensation items (salary,
benefits, paid leaves, and hours of work -- the "PELRA 4") at the
provincial table and to negotiate all other items locally. BCPSEA
simply refuses to
do this, thereby violating the spirit of both the legislation
and the LOU.
BCTF argues that matters of class size and composition
are currently being discussed elsewhere because the Supreme Court
declared Bill 28 (2002) unconstitutional. For the government to be in
conformity with the Court decision, it must introduce new legislation
before April 2013. The government refuses to
deal with this seriously and separately with speed. Nor will it deal
with any local
issues except at one province-wide table where it presents a position
and simply refuses to budge from its entrenched views. In short, the
Liberal government has defined "collective bargaining" as "buckle under
to what we dictate or be legislated
back to work" with a contract we dictate under our net-zero and other
mantras to destroy public education.
Although this round of the struggle unfolding between
the government and BC teachers is far from over, what remains clear is
this: when the forces upholding quality public education and the rights
of workers stand as one, real headway can be made. Teachers, parents,
students and the broad mass of the working
class must ensure quality public education is provided as a right
and the rights of teachers are guaranteed. The government assault on
teachers' rights and public education is an attack on public right and
society itself. Workers across the province must stand as one to hold
the government to account to
stop attacking the rights of teachers, stop paying the rich and
increase funding for social programs such as public education. The
Clark government's dictate of "net zero" and the criminalizing of
teachers must be
Budget Speech 2012
Mantra for an Anti-Social "New Paradigm"
Finance Minister Kevin Falcon delivered British
Columbia's Budget Speech 2012, in advance of presenting BC's "three
year budget and fiscal plan."
Falcon's Budget Speech highlighted whose concerns the
budget and fiscal plan will address saying, "Investors are nervous.
Consumers are cautious. The days of markets tolerating government
overspending are finished. That's the new paradigm."
BC budget denounced
during teachers' Day of Action, February 27, 2012.
The BC government's "new paradigm" is to govern on
behalf of "nervous investors, cautious consumers and intolerant
markets." What happened to the concept of government governing on
behalf of the people? What happened to representing the polity, the
members of society within the established borders of
a territory -- the youth, seniors, workers from all sectors of the
economy, First Nations and others who are the public? Since when did
narrow economic categories such as investors and markets, which mostly
manipulate public interests for private gain, become the primary
consideration of governments? The Falcon/Clark
regime declares that neoliberal investors and markets rule and their
demands, needs and rights trump those of the people. But the voice of
the people says No! to the "new paradigm." This No! is evident in the
struggle of the teachers in defence of their rights and public
education, and the widespread support they
The public has a right to a government that upholds its
well-being and the general interests of society and guarantees a
Canadian standard of living from birth through retirement until passing
away. Falcon's "new paradigm" eliminates the public and society from
its basic consideration so that it can serve the
narrow economic categories of "investors, consumers and markets." With
the public eliminated from the "new paradigm," public assets such as
school board property and the Liquor Distribution Branch, and social
programs and services are under assault to be eliminated along with the
dignity and rights of the public sectors
workers who deliver those programs and services. The "new paradigm" of
narrow economic categories and its language of "net zero," "eliminating
the deficit" and "fiscal discipline" negate the language of the people
upholding public services, social programs, public education, workers'
rights, hereditary rights of
First Nations etc.
Under the spell of his anti-social "new paradigm" Falcon
says, "[Fiscal discipline] instills confidence and reinforces the
growing awareness of British Columbia and Canada as a safe harbour for
investment and investors. And so, fiscal discipline is at the very core
of Budget 2012."
Falcon's BC "safe harbour for investment and investors"
is one of unrelenting attacks on social programs, public services,
teachers and other public sector workers, the well-being of the people
and society itself. Falcon's Budget 2012 speaks not about the people
and their rights and needs nor even of the economic
crisis that needs a new direction but of "Balancing the budget,"
"Holding the line on spending," "Eliminating the deficit," "Building a
more competitive economy," "Ensuring a positive climate for job
creation, growth and investment" and "Eliminating unnecessary
Not once is the modern reality of BC considered where
people are born to society and are dependent upon that society to
provide livelihoods, meet the people's needs and recognize their
rights. BC human beings have claims on the society and any modern
government worthy of the name has the primary obligation
to ensure those claims are met to the level society has developed.
Those claims cannot be
met unless recognized and a plan elaborated to meet them, which
the Falcon and Clark government outright refuse to do with their
neoliberal "new paradigm" of "investors, consumers
Falcon's Budget Speech asserts a priority to "Eliminate
the deficit." Where did this priority originate? It certainly did not
come from the polity who Falcon is supposed to represent. Starting from
this assertion to "Eliminate the deficit" as a grand priority, Falcon
starts tossing out numbers to overwhelm the listeners
and make them bow down in confusion and obedience. He says the
government will eliminate the deficit by 2013-14, which will solve all
BC's problems and give rise to a $250 million surplus in 2014-2015.
Within this formidable victory, where the socialized economy and social
problems are simply ignored, Falcon
says the provincial debt of $57.60 billion will increase $5.10 billion
in 2013-14 and a further $3.7 billion in 2014-15 to $66.4 billion. By
"Eliminating the deficit" as the grand priority, magic will be
performed because an $8.8 billion debt increase will result not only
from a balanced budget but one with a surplus!
Falcon's "new paradigm" of nonsensical numbers is a ruse
to fool the gullible and serve his constituency, the financial
oligarchy. The Falcon/Clark regime serves up the public to private
interests. The people and their concerns about the economy, the
environment, health care, education, the needed social services
and programs, their well-being and the rights of First Nations are not
at the centre of Budget 2012. The people's concerns are not even
considered. Instead, the "very core of Budget 2012" is the "new
paradigm" of "fiscal discipline," "investors and markets."
An anti-social wrecking provincial budget deserves
nothing but contempt. It should serve to awaken the people to turn the
situation around in their favour, to empower them as the centre of any
government's "paradigm." Only with the well-being of the people and the
general interests of society as primary considerations
of a budget and plan for the future can problems be solved, a new
human-centred direction for the economy elaborated and developed, and a
society built fit for human beings.
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