Canadian teachers opposed to Harper government’s undermining of democratic values and human rights

December 01, 2008

Ottawa… In expressing deep concerns over the federal government’s 2008 Economic Statement, the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) believes the Harper government was out of step with Canadian values in playing a game of chance with human rights, equity in the workplace and fundamental democratic imperatives.

“A responsible government should place the interest of the public good front and centre, with concrete strategies to help Canadian society weather the storm of economic and social fallout of the current world financial crisis,” says CTF President Emily Noble. “Instead of addressing pressing concerns related to the economy, the federal government used this opportunity to press an ideological mindset that should concern Canadians deeply, she adds. No government should determine which democratic right to honour or to break in support of political objectives.

“Rights are rights! It is what we teach our students. It is what we promote and support in developing countries around the world, emphasizes Noble.

“The principles of democracy inherent in Canada’s labour relations system are important to uphold in difficult times as in the good times, adds Noble. Removing the right to strike and legislating contract settlements renders dysfunctional the process of collective bargaining. The action is a violation of the Supreme Court of Canada ruling that labour rights are fundamental human rights with protection under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”

The federal government’s 2008 Economic Statement came a week after CTF co-sponsored an International Symposium on Labour Rights are Human Rights in partnership with other national organizations representing over 800,000 Canadian workers. CTF, the National Union of Public and General Employees, Union of Food and Commercial Workers – Canada and the Canadian Police Association called on the federal government, on the eve of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to respect international law and ratify ILO conventions respecting workers rights. Read the joint news release: http://www.ctf-fce.ca/e/news/news.asp?id=1227279073

“We urge all governments to consult with Canadians, listen to their views and take an approach to fiscal responsibility that reflects our democratic principles and rises above party ideologies,” concludes the CTF President.

CTF speaks for nearly 200,000 teachers in Canada as their national voice on education and related social issues. CTF membership includes teacher organizations across Canada. CTF (http://www.ctf-fce.ca) is also a member of the international body of teachers, Education International (http://www.ei-ie.org).

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Comments: Emily Noble, CTF President, 613-688-4300 or
613-899-4209 (cell)
Background information: John Staple, Deputy Secretary General, 613-688-4302 or
613-899-4207 (cell)
Media contact: Francine Filion, Director of Communications, 613-688-4314 or
613-899-4247 (cell)