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How Ontario voters view ‘corporate welfare’

It may be complicating his search for campaign photo-ops, but Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak can be expected to keep railing against “corporate welfare” – government support for individual companies – which he argues is an ineffective way of picking winners and losers.

Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne, meanwhile, can be expected to keep defending such expenditures as well-targeted efforts to attract companies to Ontario, or encourage businesses to expand their operations.

It stands to be one of the more interesting debates during this campaign, because both leaders seem to be fired up for it and there are decent arguments to be made on either side.

But where does the electorate come down on it?

A poll taken in March by Innovative Research Group offers a bit of insight. It asked a weighted sample of 1,000 Ontarians: “Thinking about the role of the provincial government when it comes to the economy, which statement is closest to your point of view?”

Of the two options they were given, 48 per cent agreed that “Government needs to be an active partner to help Ontario businesses compete in the world with incentives to create research and development, training programs and other initiatives to support high-potential industries.” Only 36 per cent, meanwhile, went with “Government helps business the best by reducing taxes and red tape and staying out of the way, not by trying to pick winners with taxpayer money.” (16 per cent didn’t know.)

Those numbers would seem to augur well for Ms. Wynne’s Liberals. But more interesting, as it pertains to the dynamics of this campaign, is when the poll is broken down by party, including core supporters of each one and swing voters:

Role of government in the Ontario economy

1,000 Ontarians were asked whether they supported government as an active partner in helping businesses compete.

SOURCE: Innovative Research Group

Now, it needs to be said that the samples get fairly small for each group, so there’s a decent margin for error. But it’s fairly telling among all the groups, including Liberal-PC swing voters, the only one that comes down against subsidies is “core Tories” – and that it does so by a very strong margin.

The poll, in other words, would suggest Mr. Hudak’s position on this issue plays very well with his base, and not especially well with anyone else. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, it’s another indication that more so than the other parties, the Tories’ campaign is about motivation rather than persuasion.

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Filed under: Ontario Election

Scenes from teacher ratification votes across B.C.

From Andrea Woo:

Just spoke with five teachers outside the voting site in Vancouver and three of them voted against the tentative agreement. The two who voted for it did so grudgingly, saying they couldn’t afford to lose any more money on the picket lines — some have lost around $10,000 — and that they’re worried public perception will turn against them if they vote no. All of them are disappointed with the agreement, but feel it will pass. Several long-time teachers have told me that if they were just starting out today, they wouldn’t get into teaching.


 

Many local teachers’ associations set up information study sessions and voting meetings for teachers today, and tweets show throngs of teachers eager to participate in the process.

From Coquitlam:

From Saanich:

From Surrey:

From Vancouver:

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What to expect Thursday as B.C. teachers vote on the tentative agreement

 

Brentwood Bay Elementary teachers from left to right: Rhayna Archer, Fiona Mosher, Carmen Di Lucca, Jacqueline Jim and Aimee Lampard in Brentwood Bay, B.C., will be among the teachers voting Thursday on whether to ratify a tentative settlement  that would end the strike which began in June. (Chad Hipolito for The Globe and Mail)

Brentwood Bay Elementary teachers (from left to right) Rhayna Archer, Fiona Mosher, Carmen Di Lucca, Jacqueline Jim and Aimee Lampard in Brentwood Bay, B.C., will be among the teachers voting Thursday on whether to ratify a tentative settlement that would end the strike which began in June. (Chad Hipolito for The Globe and Mail)

B.C.’s 40,000 public-school teachers will cast their votes today on the collective agreement achieved by the union and the government after marathon bargaining sessions over the weekend. Results of the vote will be released at 9:30 p.m. in a news conference by BCTF president Jim Iker (streaming link here), and we’ll have them available in a story on our B.C. teachers’ strike topic page.

Study sessions are being held this morning for members so they can learn more about the proposed six-year deal and ask questions. Online, the union posted a one-page PDF entitled “10 reasons to vote yes” as commentators online debate the merits of the agreement. The proposed contract includes a 7.25 per cent salary increase, improvements in extended health benefits and the teaching-on-call rate, an education fund to address class size and composition issues, and money to address retroactive grievances.

The question being put to teachers is this:

Are you in favour of ratifying the agreement-in-committee reached on September 16, 2014?

The deal must also be ratified by the employer. According to a letter sent to parents in the Central Okanagan school district by superintendent Hugh Gloster, the province’s 60 school districts have until 3 p.m. Friday to complete their own ratification vote. If BCTF members ratify Thursday night, however, schools will be open Friday morning and teachers doing prep work will be on the payroll.

Reported elsewhere

Private schools are reporting an overall 5 per cent uptick in enrolment in B.C. over last year, a sign that some parents weren’t prepared to wait for public schools to open. Rates vary across the province based in part on independent schools’ capacity to accept new students, but history shows the public system may have lost many students for good. Says Peter Froese of the Federation of Independent School Associations of BC:

“In our experience, based on past labour disruptions in the public sector, we find that the families that have chosen independent schools in… our fixed structures — they tend to stay.”


While many questions about the school schedule will be worked out at a local level by school districts or even individual schools, there are mandated hours of instruction for public school students in B.C.:

Under the School Act’s school calendar regulation, school districts must offer the following minimum hours of instruction annually: 853 for kindergarten, 878 for grades 1 to 7, and 952 for grades 8 to 12.

With reports from Justine Hunter, Andrea Woo and The Canadian Press

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Could B.C. teachers end up voting no to the tentative deal?

As details of the tentative agreement between the teachers’s union and the government emerged Tuesday, the terms of the deal came under increased scrutiny, especially by teachers. Though it’s hard to tell how broad the support is for the ‘vote no’ movement, it has caused a lot of chatter online in the past 12 hours (UPDATE: See our full story on this subject). Here are two points of view as teachers prepare to vote on Thursday:

Argument for voting no, by Tara Ehrcke:

Staffroom Confidential

Argument for voting yes, by Sandy Garossino:

Should teachers accept the contract? (with tweets) · Sandy Garossino

What’s your opinion?

 

Photos: Darryl Dyck for The Globe and Mail (left), Rafal Gerszak for The Globe and Mail (right).

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Poll findings shed light on public pressure facing education dispute negotiators

In an opinion poll conducted the weekend before the tentative settlement was reached between teachers and government, Insights West learned some things that demonstrate the mood in the province after so many weeks of a work stoppage. Mario Canseco from the polling firm summarized these findings in a series of tweets last night:

More can be found at the Insights West website

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Reaction from both sides about tentative B.C. teachers’ contract

FROM BCTF NEWS CONFERENCE:

FROM GOVERNMENT NEWS CONFERENCE:

 


 

British Columbians will be hearing from both sides of the B.C. public education labour dispute today. Government leaders Christy Clark and Peter Fassbender are up at 2 p.m., then Jim Iker of the BCTF will speak at 4:30 p.m. From a government media advisory:

Premier Christy Clark and Education Minister Peter Fassbender will address the tentative agreement with the BCTF from the Premier’s Vancouver Office.

And a memo from the teachers’ side said this:

BCTF President Jim Iker will speak to media today, September 16, at 4:30 p.m. at the BCTF Building, 550 West 6th Avenue, Vancouver. His remarks will be live streamed at https://new.livestream.com/BCTF/Sept162014.

Stay tuned for developments from these media availabilities.

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