Why Liberals must stop trying to kill teachers

The Liberals should stop trying the usual “scare tactics” that have proven to be ineffective, and focus on creating jobs and growing the economy, said former Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty.

“I think we have to be a little bit more pragmatic and not try to scare people, because you’re not going to get any results,” he told CBC Radio’s The House.

The latest edition of the Globe and Mail shows that Ontario has the third highest per-student spending on teachers in the country, but that spending is also higher than other provinces.

The number of people with post-secondary education has increased by nearly 15 per cent in the last decade, while the number of full-time teachers has decreased by nearly 5 per cent, according to data from Statistics Canada.

“In Ontario, the per-capita spending on teacher is very high.

There’s a lot of demand for teachers in that part of the province,” McGuintyer said.

The provincial Liberals have long promised to eliminate the Ontario Teaching Partnership (OTPP) and the Ontario Federation of Teachers (OFT) in favour of a new teacher training program.

The Liberals say they are looking to boost public-service wages by 10 per cent.

The Tories, who took power in 2011 after a long and divisive campaign, have said they want to increase public sector pay and have proposed capping teacher salaries.

The Conservatives say that would force more teachers into the private sector.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, who was the first female premier of the country and the youngest ever elected, said Tuesday she is committed to reducing public sector wage inequality and said she would announce her plans later this month.

Wynne, a former chief of staff to former prime minister Stephen Harper, also said she wants to make Ontario the best place to do business in the world by investing $20 billion in research and development.

The Ontario Liberals will announce a new budget in the coming days.

McGuintys comments come just days after the federal Conservatives unveiled a plan to boost the federal public sector wages by an additional 1 per cent over five years.

The federal government plans to boost wages by $2,500 to $15,000 over the next five years for public servants, and $5,000 to $12,000 for teachers, and will offer $3,500 in raises for non-agricultural workers.

The government is also proposing to raise minimum wage and benefits for workers by $15 an hour by 2021 and to extend health care benefits for seniors by two years to June 2019.

The Liberal government is already committed to a minimum wage increase of $10 an hour for all workers in the public service by 2021.

But critics say it is unlikely to get there in time for the 2019 provincial election.

The minimum wage will rise by $1.50 an hour in 2019 and 2018, but not the full $15 by 2021, as the federal government has promised.