I am a mom of two awesome children who teach me more than I ever thought possible. I love writing, exercise, movies, and LGBT advocacy.
Ford Nation: Don't Ignore Your Lie About No Job Loss
Ford Nation: The Truth Hurts
It's been hard to get an appropriate read on Ontario's education minister Lisa Thompson.
Is she willfully blind? While that is generally thought of as a legal term, in some respects, it could be applied here if you remove the element of criminal liability. Willful blindness is defined, according to Wikipedia, as a situation where a person "seeks to avoid civil or criminal liability for a wrongful act by intentionally keeping himself or herself unaware of facts that would render him or her liable." Certainly, there has been nothing criminal that the public can see about Thompson's behavior, though there are several thousand individuals who disagree with what she's doing with the Ford government as far as education is concerned. Thompson still steadfastly maintains that no teacher will voluntarily lose their job, yet when pressed several times by the media to explain the thousand or so layoff notices that have gone out to teachers across the province (with more to come, I might add), she flat out refuses to acknowledge these as job losses.
Is she so enamored of Doug Ford as a leader she refuses to acknowledge the utter devastation Ford Nation is wreaking on the province? Given her apparent lack of knowledge or willingness to even really discuss teacher layoffs even in her own riding, as well as her broad smiles even as she announces yet more changes or her thinly veiled threats to teachers - consider, for instance, her statement following the first #StudentsSayNo event - it's hard to say.
It's hard to understand a leader who would so willingly decimate education while supporting her boss' decision to instead pump money into a campaign designed to pump more alcohol into its populace or into a campaign designed to take on the federal carbon tax.
It's also truly difficult to understand, or even respect, a leader who is supposed to be focused on the education in the province but is tweeting about, of all things, a meeting about the management of moose in the province.
I'm well aware that Ontario is in significant debt. There is no question of that, but if you want a truly strong populace, you ensure their collective health and their education is well protected. You don't take money from education and health, thereby putting your population at risk, and drive it into gambling and alcohol instead.
Ford Nation does not want to discuss the issues that matter most to Ontarians. They seem to prefer either avoiding the question, as Lisa Thompson has done multiple times when pressed on whether or not teachers are losing jobs (they are), or saying that any sort of protest against the cuts that are devastating the province must be the work of the "union thugs," particularly where the students' choices to protest are concerned.
The simple truth is that Ford Nation has made it painfully clear that they have zero interest in acknowledging that people are losing jobs and worrying about their future in increasing numbers. Ontario is not a business - it's about the people, and when a government is more concerned about keeping that population weak from lack of appropriate health and uneducated, there are huge problems.
If this government ignorance continues, the Conservatives should be increasingly concerned.
Lisa Thompson: Dodging The Truth
#StudentsSayNo, Again - Will Ford Nation Ignore Its Future Voters Again?
Rayne Fisher-Quann, one of the teen organizers of the provincial #StudentsSayNo walkout on April 4, 2019, posted on Twitter April 18 that students will be protesting the government cuts to education again - this time, with a sit-in at provincial Member of Provincial Parliament offices.
Let's be clear; Fisher-Quann has garnered a lot of attention for her activism in Ontario. This has been the case since she coordinated a walkout in schools in the early part of the 2018-2019 school year as a way of fighting Ford Nation's proposed changes to the sex education part of the health and physical education curriculum. This is a student who very clearly knows her own mind and has no intention of doing something simply because someone has told her to.
Natalie Moore, who also led the #StudentsSayNo walkouts April 4, said in a CBC interview that the Ford government needs to pay attention to what the youth of the province is saying about the cuts to education.
"I would ask [the government] to really pay attention to what the students are doing here and how passionate we are," Moore said. "We're in the classroom. At the end of the day, [the government] won't be impacted by these changes."
"Young people aren't feeling heard right now and we aren't feeling respected," Fisher-Quann said. "We're seeing a lot of decisions made about our future and about our education that we're not happy with."
Following Thompson's statement that the teachers' unions were ultimately the ones pushing the students to walk out on April 4, Fisher-Quann posted a letter to Twitter stating that nothing could be further from the truth. Now, with another protest planned by students for May 8, it remains to be seen if Ford Nation will decide to listen this time.
Student voices are among the most powerful voices we've got. It's time they were listened to.