1000 teachers protested at the Legislature - How can the Premier improve education when he is at war with the teachers?
Tuesday May 29, in Question Period, I asked the Premier how he is going to improve the education system when he attacks the very teachers who are so important to delivering the education. My questions and the Premier's response is below:
Education System Improvements - Government-Teacher Relations
Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Madam Speaker, last Friday, more than 1,000 teachers came to the Manitoba Legislature to protest against the awful behaviour of the Pallister government.
The Pallister government has promised to improve teaching and learning and education in Manitoba.
I ask the Premier: How will he improve learning when he has started a war with teachers, teachers who are the central to improving education and learning for our children?
Hon. Brian Pallister (Premier): Well, I know it's a tendency of some guys, Madam Speaker, to militarize their analogies, but I would say that the member needs to understand–[interjection]
Madam Speaker: Order.
Mr. Pallister: –and the member for Minto (Mr. Swan), in particular, needs to understand–[interjection]
Madam Speaker: Order.
Mr. Pallister: –the member from Minto, in particular–[interjection]
Madam Speaker: I would call the member for Minto (Mr. Swan) to order. I mean, yelling across isn't going to serve any purpose in this room.
I think I made myself fairly clear yesterday that we are expecting better decorum from everybody, respect, civility. We've got a lot of guests in the gallery, and I would ask members for their co-operation please.
And I don't think we want to move beyond–and be careful with the words that we're using, because they can be very provocative and just lead to a lot of problems. So I would urge the member for Minto (Mr. Swan) to be cautious with his language.
Mr. Pallister: As a former teacher and as someone who worked very diligently for a brief time, Madam Speaker, within the Manitoba Teachers' Society, I would encourage the member for River Heights to understand that the views as they may be loudly expressed by senior people within my old union are not necessarily unanimously supported by members of the teaching profession.
And so I would encourage the member not to overdramatize the reality of a protest. He's seen some. I remember when he cut health-care funding in this province and across the country. He saw some then. And I think, Madam Speaker, we need to understand that the goal here is to improve our education system for the future, and I believe that teachers want to be involved in making sure that happens.
The full video of my questions and the Premier's responses can be seen at this link