On Wednesday I received a letter from the school board informing me that our local elementary school would be closed due to ‘a day of political protest.’ (The Elementary Teacher’s Federation of Ontario clearly decided not to call it a ‘strike’, because they know they are no longer in a legal strike position.) Yesterday, I received a phone call reiterating that the school would be closed.
After making alternative plans for my children for today, I found out mid-morning that the schools ARE in fact open. The Ontario Labour Relations Board has confirmed that ETFO’s actions were illegal, and the union was instructing its members to break the law. The school board has announced that the schools are open, and apologized for the short notice, noting that the timing was beyond the school board’s control.
I am, at this point, disgusted by the actions of ETFO. My children are fortunate enough to be taught by some incredibly motivated, engaging and talented teachers. I have seen them time and time again demonstrate a devotion to their calling, and a passion for equipping the next generation of Canadians for adulthood. And so I am deeply frustrated when they are ordered by their union to refrain from doing their jobs, and fulfilling the calling to which they have dedicated their lives.
The person directly responsible for this is Sam Hammond, the president of ETFO. He claims that the union is ‘standing up for democratic values’. And yet he is encouraging teachers to directly break a law that was decided upon by a democratically elected, representative government and confirmed by an independent judiciary.
The mechanisms of democracy in Canada are still in place and functioning correctly. Mr Hammond, though, is not presenting a role model to our children of a respectful, responsible citizen.