Second Opinion: An ingenious solution

As usual, the Liberals have come up with an ingenious solution to a labour problem without compromising their principles.

Since the teachers’ strike has closed school this September for over a week, the government’s $40 per day payment to parents for every child under the age of 13 has presumably gone into effect.

This cash, a sort of Direct Payment to Voters Plan (DPTVP), to be used by parents supposedly for tutors, day camps and other educational aids, is a wonderful idea, perhaps the best the Liberals have ever had. The Liberals know, of course, that there are only a handful of tutors to help the hundreds of thousands of students, and all the day cares and day camps are already full, but that isn’t the point. The point is that a family with three kids will be pulling in $600 a week.

And even though school districts would like to have those millions of dollars that are being doled out in the DPTVP so that they could improve facilities and fund special needs students, the Liberals are quite right to give it directly to taxpayers. It sends the message that families are important and that school boards have to learn to do more with less, not more with more.

Some pundits have called the payment to parents a bribe, a windfall cash gift to eligible voters before the next election since most parents won’t be able or willing to spend the money on supplementary educational goodies, but the Liberals would never stoop so low.  They might refuse to obey the courts’ rulings to reinstate the teachers’ contract of 2002 forcing the teachers to strike in order to have the class size and composition clauses returned to their contract, but they would never stoop to bribery.

The DPTVP is such a good idea that Liberals would be well advised to use it in other circumstances when pesky unions make demands. For example, when the Nurses’ Union wants more money to improve health care, the Liberals can refuse as usual, and let the nurses walk the picket line, offering the money saved, not to the Regional Health Authorities for improvements in facilities and services, but directly to the voters.

There are, after all, many non-unionized health professionals out there: herbalists, acupuncturists, naturopaths, etc. and if patients were offered $40 a day to go pay visits to them, hospital costs would plummet and the nurses would soon see that their jobs are not as important as they thought and be forced back to work.

In addition, paramedics have been deemed an essential service up until now and prevented from striking. With the  DPTVP, let them walk out. Their ambulances are expensive to buy and maintain anyway. Instead the Liberals can give the money saved in paramedic wages and ambulance maintenance directly to voters. Need transport to a medical facility? Here’s $100. Hire a cab.

The province could easily legislate a requirement for every cabbie to take a basic CPR course and buy a first aid kit for their cabs and thereby save the province a bundle.

Yes, as usual, the Liberals have come up with an ingenious solution to a labour problem without compromising their principles.


Grand Forks Gazette