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Wednesday, February 28 2024 @ 01:37 MST

Stelmach blames teachers for layoffs.

Alberta PoliticsLame duck Alberta premier Ed Stelmach, showing the typical Tory ability to lie their face off, decided yesterday to blame Alberta's teachers for their own impending layoffs. Stating that the Alberta Teachers' Association refused to take pay cuts, Stelmach then said that that was the reason for teacher layoffs. Stelmach is so off the mark on this one that his own education minister has contradicted him. So what does this all mean?

First some background as there is some (possibly deliberate) confusion coming from the Tories and their supporters on this. First the Tories (and the media parrots that quote them) are stating that the approximately 4.5% raise the teachers are getting come September was negotiated. They then usually go on to rant on how teachers are lazy, are over paid and how no one else gets raises like that. What they fail to mention (deliberately) is that the 4.5% rate is based on the average raise that everyone in the private sector receivedif everyone in the private sector received no raises the past year, the teachers would have not received a raise.

Of course by telling people this the whole Tory narrative that teachers are lazy and getting more of a pay raise than anyone else would fail completely. So the Tories (and their supporters at the Fraiser Institute) lie. A lie so barefaced that even the Tory education minister can't stomach it (likely because he's getting an earful at home from his wife, a school principal). The reality is that, by the education minister's own admission, the ATA came to the table to deal, and the government left without making an offer at all, let alone one with wage freezes.

So why tell such a obvious lie? I think that there are a couple of thing at play here. First, though the core of Tory (and Wildrose) supporters think that education is a waste of time, most Albertans see some value in education and that the government is likely taking heat from the voters on this one. After all, even Tory MLA's have to take notice of hundreds of angry phone calls and letters from constituents and they likely getting them. By blaming the teachers, Stelmach is trying to take the heat off his own government's mismanagement of the situation.

The second problem that Stelmach has is that he just announced $500 million in school construction. So, what it looks like is that the Tories are building schools all over the place, but with layoffs, there won't be teachers to teach in them. Given that the school boards' association is saying that $100 million would stop the layoffs, it is a little odd that the government is building schools at five times the cost, schools that won't have teachers to teach in them. Not particularly good optics.

So Stelmach and the Fraiser institute have to lie. Lie to deflect attention from their own failed narrative when it comes to education. Unfortunately despite the heat the Tories are taking on this, the voters in Alberta will still line up and send them right back into government. Makes you kind of understand why the Tories hate education so much, doesn't it?

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