The real problem with Nelson teachers

Those people who have been following the news for the past few years would have heard about the recession

Re: Teachers and unions

Those people who have been following the news for the past few years would have heard about the recession, and about the severe financial crises in Greece and Ireland. They would also have heard about many towns in the United States declaring bankruptcy, and whole US on the verge of bankruptcy.

The primary cause is borrowing and spending too much money. In the US the unions have, over the years, gained unaffordable benefits. Many states and municipalities cannot pay for the unfunded liabilities of pensions and health care. This was also a major contributing factor in bankrupting General Motors. You cannot forever borrow and spend beyond your means, even if you are a country, a state, a province, or a municipality.

The provincial government recently introduced its 2012 budget, which is a deficit budget. The teachers, in their contract dispute, are asking for benefits worth between $1.3 and $2 billion a year. The nurses’ union is complaining that health care got an increase of “only” 2.8 per cent.

I presume they want their usual unsustainable six or seven per cent. Listening to New Democratic Party propaganda, I gather that after the next election when they gain power they will introduce a “free” daycare program that will cost about $1 billion a year, and because NDP MLA Jagrup Brar recently tried to live off $610 welfare for a month in Vancouver and found it difficult, welfare rates will be doubled. It is difficult to calculate the billions of dollars this will cost because so many people will quit their present jobs to go on welfare, and thousands of welfare recipients from across Canada will move to BC.

The NDP has frequently promised “free” prescription drugs for everybody, and when elected there is no doubt that will happen. How many billions will that cost, especially when prescription drugs are one of the leading causes of death in North America? If you do not believe this you can pick up a copy of Death by Medicine by Gary Null PhD, or a copy of the March edition of Reader’s Digest.

In the story “Bitter Pills” it states:  “More than 2,500 Canadian kids die from them each year and many more develop permanent disabilities such as heart damage and loss of hearing. Some other examples: life-threatening skin reactions to ibuprofen, anaphylactic reactions to antibiotics and destruction of bone tissue from corticosteroids.”

The NDP has it completely wrong. If we want a better, safer, and less costly health care system the first thing to do is to drastically reduce the amount of prescription drugs in use and prescribed. However, I suspect the first thing they will do is to introduce a health premium, as in Ontario, which is a tax that will cost us each about $1,000 per year.

BC’s teachers want pay and benefits similar to Alberta, where benefits are a lot higher. I believe this is an unfair comparison. The BCTF and other unions, together with the NDP, are opposed to Alberta’s policies on oil and gas extraction and on pipelines. I believe Alberta’s teachers are the highest paid in Canada because of these industries, not in spite of them. Canada and Alberta are considered to be run by corporations and capitalists, to which the BCTF is opposed. If socialism is so wonderful, why not compare BC teachers’ conditions with conditions in socialist countries, such as North Korea, Zimbabwe, Cuba or Venezuela? The government of Venezuela has nationalized (taken over) its oil industry from the corporations, and other businesses such as cement. The government is pumping large sums of oil money into social programs. I am guessing that teachers in Venezuela are rolling in money, with fancy cars, big homes, small class sizes, and big pensions.

It is unlikely that I could persuade the BCTF to carry out a quick study to compare their conditions with those in Venezuela, but I would encourage any high school students to carry out some research. We hear constantly that capitalism is bad and socialism is wonderful. Here is a golden opportunity for some enterprising students to carry out some original and relevant research. Are conditions better in Venezuela? While they are doing the research, they can also investigate how much better the crime rate is in Venezuela compared to Canada, and also compare inflation and unemployment rates.

In addition, they say that pollution is really bad in Alberta and in capitalist countries, but being a socialist country there is likely no pollution in Venezuela.  Students should check this out too, with special emphasis on Lake Maracaibo.

How about it LVR and other high school students; are you up to the challenge?

Roger Pratt



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