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E a s t e r n   U p d a t e - Friday, October 3, 2003

A new Day for Ontario A new day for Education

In June of 1995, Mike Harris was elected to a majority government, and with his re-election in 1999, teachers have faced eight years of massive cuts to education and public denigration from a government constantly undermining this proud profession.

On October 3, 2003, we have a new government that has been elected on the platform of renewing and supporting public services, not dismantling them. On a platform of uniting and serving citizens, not dividing them between the haves and the have-nots. Of supporting education, reducing class sizes and supporting the teaching profession, not cutting hundreds of millions of dollars from education, removing teachers’ right to strike and hiring further inspectors to come into our classrooms unannounced to ensure we are doing our job. This indeed is a new day in Ontario, and an important one for us as a teaching profession.

We wish to acknowledge and applaud all of our members who put in so much time and effort over the past weeks to bring education issues to the forefront and to assist at the local level in this provincial election. To our active and retired teachers from our four ridings who visited schools, talked to teachers, assisted with phone polls, or went door to door canvassing - your efforts were important. The investment of time and energy – particularly at this time of year, is much appreciated!

To staff reps who encouraged all of your colleagues to vote – each of you have raised the level of awareness of issues critical to the well-being of teachers and education and as such played an important role.

To all teachers who exercised their democratic right to participate in this election by voting – this involvement is critical, particularly as members of the teaching profession. As we said many times over the course of the election, every vote counts and as teachers we must speak for the children.

Over the coming months and years, we can not expect to agree with all this newly elected government will do, however, it is a welcome change that teachers will no longer be the proverbial punching bag of a Harris/Eves government. We will hold the new McGuinty government accountable to the platform upon which they were elected, to promote and support public education – to respect teachers who are charged with the most important responsibility of educating the children and youth of this province.

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