BY PATRICIA ALTASS
As an active union member who recently took part in the P.E.I. Federation of Labour convention, I must express my disappointment in Thursday’s letter (Labour questions Bell on education, The Guardian), from federation president Carl Pursey.
Having attended the all-candidate’s debate that the federation is referencing, it’s clear to me that Hannah Bell’s comment on Public Private Partnership (3-P) is being taken out of context. What is less clear is the reasoning why our non-partisan federation is choosing to take a partisan stance?
Ms. Bell has never referenced public-private partnerships in regards to education, but rather mentioned this as one option to explore when it comes to providing affordable housing specifically.
Such partnerships are very common, and may take the form of housing co-ops (which used to receive lots of federal government support and provided large amounts of affordable housing in many Canadian cities), developments in which certain quotas of units are required to be rented at below-market rates, or initiatives such as the Whistler Housing Authority which has transferred hundreds of units of privately developed housing into a public housing authority that ensures the housing is available at an affordable cost to people who work in the resort municipality.
These are all things we should be looking at to help ensure that the housing we need gets built so that everyone can live with basic health and dignity.
As the 2015 Green Party Platform clearly states:
“The Green Party believes that direct investment in our children is one of the best ways to move Prince Edward Island toward a just and prosperous future. Education is the primary pathway out of poverty and the best means of developing self-confidence and an understanding of the responsibilities of citizenship. It is critical, then, that our public and post-secondary school systems are effective and accessible to everyone. It is essential that our teachers are given the resources they need to ensure that all of their students, no matter their abilities, can reach their full potential.” Pg.12.
The idea that the Green Party of P.E.I. does not support exemplary and equitable public education for everyone is a complete fabrication, and the worst example of ‘politics as usual.’
I sincerely hope the leadership of the P.E.I. Federation of Labour will take greater care when making such claims on behalf of the membership in the future.
- Patricia Altass is a CUPE and P.E.I. Federation of Labour member