Ted Byfield: Eggen prepares for open war on Alberta’s Protestant Christian schools
Nine Alberta unions and labor organizations announced late last month that they have decided to speak out boldly against the public funding of Protestant Christian schools. They didn’t identify them as such. They called them “independent” schools. But since more than ninety percent are Protestant Christian, and since the unions made it specifically clear they had no quarrel with the public funding of Catholic schools, it’s obviously the Protestant ones that they’re after.
The announcement was not made by the unions directly, but by something called “Public Interest Alberta” which listed fourteen organizations as demanding that the funding stop. Nine of them were unions or federations of unions. Public Interest Alberta itself was another supporting organization, and so was one called “Progress Alberta.” How Progress Alberta differs from Public Interest Alberta, I don’t know. In fact, I’ve never heard of either of them. It’s a safe bet that they’re both hurrying leftward, but perhaps Progress Alberta thinks that Public Interest Alberta isn’t hurrying fast enough. The remaining three are the Edmonton Public School Board, the Public School Boards Association of Alberta, and one called Save Our Students (SOS), which presumably champions higher salaries for their teachers.
The rest are all labour organizations, headed (predictably) by the Alberta Teachers Association, and including (not at all predictably) by four locals of CUPE, the Canadian Union of Public Employees. That is, we are being asked to believe that hundreds of school caretakers, cleaners, bus drivers and clerical workers awakened one night with the sudden realization the that the Alberta government was partially subsidizing the education of Protestant Christian children in independent schools. Tossed and turned all night about it, they did, and couldn’t wait to bring it up at the next union meeting. They were all moved at once by the spirit, so to speak, though probably not the holy one.
Well either it happened that way — i.e., as a curious, spontaneous obsession among numerous people who had never so much as mentioned it before, or else somebody engineered it. Somebody, that is, got to those unions with the message — “Let’s de-fund the Protestant Christian schools. Let’s put that money into our own schools. One might wonder: now who would do that? But one need not wonder long.
Consider the present circumstances of Education Minister David Eggen. He is an ideologue. His party’s constitution enjoins on him the duty bring about a revolution in the way Albertans think, and he embraces that duty fervently. He knows this must be accomplished through the schools. He therefore embarks upon the biggest undertaking of his life — a sweeping reform of the school curriculum aimed (as he sees it) at bringing backwoods Alberta into the 21st Century.
This article continues at [Ted Byfield Blog] Eggen prepares for open war on Alberta’s Protestant Christian schools