Perspectives

Liberal education - Looking at the new federal government through teachers’ eyes

By the News Staff of The Alberta Teachers’ Association
December 10, 2015

The federal election held Oct. 19 saw Canadians elect a Liberal majority government. What does this mean for public education in Alberta?

The ATA News combed through the Liberal Party of Canada’s campaign materials and other documents to find out where the new government stands on some of the issues that matter to teachers.

First Nations, Métis and Inuit education

“We will work with First Nations to make sure that every First Nations child receives a quality education.”

“To help close the funding gap and improve outcomes for First Nations students, we will invest new funding each year in core funding for kindergarten through grade 12 programs. This will include money committed by Stephen Harper that has yet to flow, plus an additional $300 million per year in incremental funding, totalling $750 million per year by the end of our first mandate. Over the next four years, this represents a $2.6 billion new investment in helping First Nations students learn and succeed.”

“We will also invest $500 million over the next three years for immediate First Nations Education infrastructure. This funding is incremental to existing education infrastructure commitments already made to First Nations.”

“We will never act unilaterally on First Nations education. We believe in First Nations control of First Nations education, with the federal government working nation-to-nation as a partner to ensure the goals set by First Nations are achieved. We will also support First Nation-led initiatives with respect to jurisdiction over education.”

“We will work with residential school survivors, First Nations, the Métis Nation, Inuit communities, provinces, territories and educators to find ways for educational curricula across the country to incorporate Aboriginal and Treaty rights, residential schools and the contributions of Indigenous Peoples to Canada.”

“We will provide substantial new funding to support the ability of Indigenous communities to promote, preserve and enhance their languages and cultures.”

“We will work alongside provinces and territories, and with First Nations, the Métis Nation and Inuit, to enact the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, starting with the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”

Early learning and child care

“We will develop a child care framework that meets the needs of Canadian families, wherever they live.”

“Child care needs vary from family to family, and provinces and territories have responded to these needs in different ways. A one-size-fits-all national program — particularly one that imposes pre-determined costs on other orders of government — is impractical and unfair.”

“We will meet with provinces, territories and Indigenous communities to begin work on a new National Early Learning and Child Care Framework, to deliver affordable, high-quality, flexible and fully inclusive child care for Canadian families. This work will begin in the first 100 days of a Liberal government and will be funded through our investments in social infrastructure.”

“The framework we design together will be administered in collaboration with, and in respect of, provincial jurisdictions.”

Child poverty

“We will introduce a new Canada Child Benefit. Tax-free, tied to income and delivered monthly, this benefit provides greater support to those who need help most: single-parent families and low-income families. It will lift 315,000 children out of poverty.”

“Reducing child poverty will also require, among other things, a substantial and sustained commitment to affordable housing. Liberals will help ease Canadian families’ cost of living by making the investments needed to guarantee that housing is available and accessible to all those that need it.”

Children’s mental health

“We will make high-quality mental health services more available to Canadians who need them.”

“Liberals believe that the federal government must take a leadership role in the fight against mental illness. We will work with provinces and territories to promote mental health, prevent mental illness and expand care and support services—particularly for children, youth and their families.”

Teacher tax benefit

“Teachers and early childhood educators work hard to provide a positive learning environment for our children, often paying out of pocket for classroom supplies. It is a generous gesture that is not currently recognized by our federal tax system.”

“To help offset these costs, we will introduce a new Teacher and Early Childhood Educator School Supply Tax Benefit. This new benefit will apply to the purchase of up to $1,000 worth of school supplies each year, providing a cash benefit of up to $150 each year for licensed and certified teachers and educators, starting in the 2015 tax year.”

“Because this benefit will operate as a refundable tax credit, all educators who have purchased educational materials qualify, regardless of their income level.”

Bill C-377

“We will restore fair and balanced labour laws that acknowledge the important role of unions in Canada, and respect their importance in helping the middle class grow and prosper. This begins with repealing Bills C-377 and C-525, legislation that diminishes and weakens Canada’s labour movement.”

“Changes to labour laws should be based on evidence, not ideology, and made after legitimate consultation with unions.”

“A Liberal government is firmly committed to repealing this deeply ideological and highly partisan legislation. [Bill C-377] serves no demonstrable public good or necessary policy objective.”

Youth engagement

“Every young person should be registered to vote when they turn 18. We will work with interested provinces and territories, and Elections Canada, to register young Canadians as a part of their high school or CEGEP curriculum.”

“We will create a Prime Minister’s Youth Advisory Council, consisting of young Canadians aged 16 to 24, to provide non-partisan advice to the Prime Minister on issues facing the country.”

(Compiled by staff at the Alberta Teachers’ Association, the information comes directly from election platform material published by the Liberal Party of Canada.)

Publication:
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Perspectives web magazine is published by the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF), a national alliance of provincial and territorial teacher organizations that represent over 238,000 elementary and secondary school teachers across Canada.

Editor In Chief: Francine Filion | Translation and Editing: Marie‑Caroline Uhel and Marie‑Hélène Larrue
Proofreading: Denise Léger
Graphic Design: Nathalie Hardy and Jean-Louis Lauriol | Web Design: Greg Edwards

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