The most important action in 2022

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Focus on electing an education-friendly government

Those who have heard me speak at rallies have probably heard my take on getting involved and staying involved— that we need people to take action, be it any sized—something small, something medium, something large. This framework makes action doable for everyone and it lets us cast a wide net of activism to battle the conservative attack on public education. And make no mistake, the Conservative government in Ontario is actively attacking publicly funded education at every turn. The Ford government has shown itself to care more about profit and privatization than about student success and community safety. On Thursday, June 2 we can all take the most important action—perhaps the largest. We must vote for an education friendly government.

OSSTF/FEESO’s Education Platform: Strengthen Public Education—Rebuild Ontario sets the stage for a true regrowth in our public education system and in our communities. It recognizes that publicly funded education is the backbone of our communities and their growth. We need to be unified in our approach to rebuilding after the pandemic, demanding solid funding and supports for our public services. The platform provides parties with simple guidelines that they can implement to secure the future of Ontario. The pandemic has shown us how inequities impact our most vulnerable and just how vital public services are to our communities. By taking the small-but-huge step of voting for an education-friendly government on June 2, you can stand up to inequities, stand up to the slashing of services that protect the most vulnerable, and stand up for workers, students, and communities. This recognizes that publicly-funded education is at the heart of a just society and at the heart of the rebuilding of our communities.

Beyond voting, I urge our members to take that extra step and to get involved with their local riding association and lend even one or two hours to a local campaign to defeat Doug Ford and the Conservatives. Consider sending a monetary donation, however small, to help defeat the Conservatives. Every single minute (and every penny) we can give to progressive campaigns is another chance to ensure the future of our province and to protect publicly-funded education.

Again and again we hear stories of education workers and teachers who are stretched to their limits, who are battling impossible conditions, and who are still working to provide the best possible experience for students possible. It is this resolve that drives all we do at OSSTF/ FEESO and it is why we will continue to challenge this government on its COVID-19 responses. When our schools are safe, our communities are safe. This is a driving force in so much of the work we have done the past two years. And while this has been a challenging time, it has also once again demonstrated the fortitude of the Membership and your dedication to our students. You are involved and you care and for that we are deeply thankful.

As we look to June and to the possibility of electing a new government, we must also look to a time when we are free of the pandemic. This time will allow us to reassess what’s most important to us and to remind ourselves to stand united to protect one another. Much of our time over the last two years has felt isolated and soon it will be time to embrace one another, both literally and figuratively. Let June 2 be a day of unity and solidarity as we stand together, hopefully physically, and say enough is enough to Doug Ford and the Conservative government.

Karen Littlewood,

About Karen Littlewood
Karen Littlewood is OSSTF/FEESO's 67th provincial President. She was first elected to the Provincial Executive as Vice-President in 2017.

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