In the News May 28
Ontario Election 2022
The Right to Education — An Important Election Issue
In the opinion of Education Is a Right, a national education workers’ podcast, teachers and education workers have to work out what an education-friendly government looks like to them, and not take it for granted, as if this is already known. This starts from affirming their own right to have a say over the direction of the economy alongside all other working people, and speaking out for their own demands and concerns. Illusions that the right to education can be affirmed by simply making the right “choice” at the ballot box are harmful. There is no alternative to the neo-liberal direction at this time amongst the parties vying for power.
This is not to say that there are not ways to make a difference in the elections. Far from it! Working out what favours the working people is a matter of how, not if. The campaign of Laura Chesnik, a teacher and independent candidate in the Windsor-Tecumseh riding, represents the demands of teachers and education workers for a say over their wages and working conditions. It shows that advances are being made by the working people in breaking new ground and finding ways to use the elections to advance their own vision for a new direction for the economy and the political process.
In previous elections, teachers and education workers have been at the forefront of campaigns to vote in a manner that establishes a minority government. This stand was based on the understanding that blocking a majority government will block the ability of any government to dictate a program of restraint against the working people — through concessions-based public sector contract negotiations, privatization and cuts to social programs and in other ways. Such a stand is not based on illusions about putting “saviours” into office, but instead is based on empowering the working people, under difficult circumstances, to find ways to limit the effects of the absolute power majority governments wield. This is all to say that alternatives do exist that favour society and the people, but they must be worked out by those who are favoured by them and be implemented by these same forces. This requires a process for discussion and deliberation that would also establish a solid framework for holding whoever is elected to account after the election. Either way, simply voting for this or that party based on a promise it will be “education-friendly” has been shown to lead, time and time again, to history repeating itself.
Discussion of what to do in the election is an urgent matter for everyone. Join in!
With files from Education Is a Right podcast. Ontario Political Forum, posted May 28, 2022.