As you may or may not know, an Alberta election is underway. As its looking like there's a real solid chance that the Wildrose party can seize the reigns of power away from Alison "Red" Redford and her "Progressive" "Conservative" Party, I felt this would be a good time to bring up some of the disastrous legislation enacted by Red Redford's party.
Today this trip down memory lane takes us to 2008, and the day that the Alberta Government told the Alberta taxpayer that the incompetence of the Alberta Teachers Association was their problem. You can read the disgusting legislation here.
A bit of background here. In the runup to the 2008 Alberta election, Ed Stelmach decided to prevent a teacher's strike (which would look bad on his leadership, apparently) by paying off the pension liability for the powerful Alberta teacher's union. We're talking billions of dollars here. Read this powerful account from January of this year:
At the time of the deal, the pension liability for Alberta's 29,000 full-time teachers was $6.6 billion. One-third of that unfunded liability, or $2.2 billion, was created because prior to 1992, teachers didn't pay high enough premiums toward their own defined benefit pension plans.Even more killer, in the article, is the reminder that Red Redford gave another $107 million to Alberta Education upon her ascension to the Premier's Office in 2011. This was the (extremely minor) cut that was done to Alberta Education in part to pay for the teachers pension money.
According to the provincial government's own annual report, the unfunded teachers' pension plan liability has ballooned to a whopping $7.5 billion in 2010-2011. The one-third of that liability that the teachers would or should have fully funded is now $2.488 billion. But now, it's the taxpayers who are stuck with the tab. That means, the deal teachers got for the pension deal alone was the equivalent of $84,334 per teacher.
In other words, instead of new teachers having to pay extra money every month to fully fund their portion of their defined benefit pension, and to help catch up for the ATA's bad accounting over decades for already retired teachers, a lump sum was paid by all Albertans. And the problem still hasn't been fixed.
Had the province agreed to pick up the unfunded liability to that point and then renegotiate a new defined contribution pension plan instead, then that might have been OK. But that didn't happen, thanks to Ed.
Add to that the fact that Stelmach agreed to peg teachers' annual wage increases to Alberta's average weekly earnings index -- which has been higher than the rate of inflation -- and you have a double whammy to the taxpayer, who suddenly faced stagnant wages in light of the October 2008 global economic downturn, while teachers were raking in about five per cent annual increases at the same time.
This is the perverse world in which the far-left lunatics like Red Redford live in: Alberta's education budget is extraordinarily high thanks to the ridiculous salaries paid out -- thanks in part to the highly militant teachers union. The teachers, who mismanaged their own money for decades (these are the people teaching math to your children, by the way) get a sweet taxpayer bailout for their incompetence (though, to be fair, that paycheque they receive every 2 weeks is a pretty good bi-monthly bailout for incompetence too) and then when their education system ends up needing to take a hit thanks to the bailout, they whine and have a 'progressive' come along and restore it as well.
At no point has there been anybody in the provincial government who's got the brains to say "now wait just a cotton-picking minute here." Teachers (who work only 10 months of the year and receive a full-time salary) get pretty sizable sums of money for work which is so easy and with so few failure standards that there are lineups of would-be mooches just waiting for their seat on the gravy train. Their union manages to protect them from even the smallest of criticisms while simultaneously being in charge of their certification (sweet deal!). The education budget is given to local school boards, but then the province sets wages so high that even with their unnecessary yearly increases the board are feeling the pinch.
Take heed, poor beleaguered Alberta taxpayer. Red Redford and her cronies are here to make sure that these bloated, ineffective, disgustingly immoral, overpaid and underworked public servants don't bother serving the public and instead receive taxpayer money in return for their votes. Every year they get it better and better, you get it worse. Every year they teach more and more useless shit in your schools, every year your kids are less capable of the talents required ever-more in a global economy with highly-educated go-getters from the developing nations leaving the Third World behind. A big part of the significant bully-pulpit majority Red Redford and her predecessor Stelmach have had to work with has been the result of this bribery of some of Alberta's least meritorious citizens. A big part of the budgetary mess of deficits that the Alberta Government has been running up is a direct cause of this sort of willy-nilly approach to spending the Crown's tax dollars in ways not for the public good but rather for the benefit of the Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta.
Fortunately, there is a way to punish the "Progressive" "Conservative" Party and Alison "Red" Redford for this (and other) bad pieces of legislation put out by her party since the dawn of the millennium: vote them out.
There is a strong right-wing alternative: Danielle Smith's Wildrose Party of Alberta. The party's membership-decided list of principles and programs (which has raised so much controversy this week) states plainly-of-factly:
B. Education StandardsA Wildrose Government would be quite clear on this: teachers are public servants, dedicated to the singular overriding purpose of the provincial education system: to teach students the curriculum. A system that will give you what you want, parent and taxpayer alike:
3. A Wildrose Government will set high standards for education. These measured standards will include academic testing, teacher quality and high school graduation rates including public reporting.
4. A Wildrose Government will eliminate the policy of social promotion in Alberta’s schools. Students will be expected to meet standards in order to be promoted to the next grade.
5. A Wildrose Government will institute methods to hold educators accountable for performance.
What you paid for.