Opinion: Albertans must stand up for health and education before it’s too late

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So how do we defend these critically important public goods? Let’s imagine the institutions of public education and health care are a school bus and we, the community and workers, are passengers. The Alberta government is our bus driver and under the guise of austerity, they have intentionally removed several important engine components, half the seats and failed to do basic maintenance for decades.

The bus driver is declaring it’d be best for everyone to Uber everywhere because this bus is falling apart and inefficient. He is clearly, deliberately, steering the bus towards a cliff. We’re alarmed, but the driver tells us we’ll be disciplined if we get up out of our seats. What should we do? Should we stay seated and plead politely with the bus driver to have a change of heart? Or, should we get out of our seats anyways, together, and take back control of the steering wheel?

Teachers, doctors, nurses, public-service workers, parents and community members, the choice is ours and the choice is clear: We can resist and defend public health care and education, united, or we can sit on our hands, clench our jaws and cross our fingers that at the end of the plummet, there’s something left to salvage from the smoking hole in the ground.

Madison Bashaw is a parent, teacher, graduate student and advocate for disability rights who volunteers with The RAD Educators Network, a collective of Alberta based educators working for equity and social justice education.

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