Mr. Speaker, I rise to highlight a serious crisis in public education in Canada.
As I speak, there is a province-wide job action by teachers in British Columbia. Thousands of women and men who teach our children feel so strongly about the erosion of standards in our classrooms that they have taken the ultimate step of withdrawing their services. They have good reasons for doing so.
Class sizes are excessive. Special needs children are not getting the attention they deserve. School boards are cutting teachers, librarians, ESL specialists and programs of all types. While provincial Liberals and federal Conservatives spend billions on corporate tax cuts, convention centres, stadium roofs and prison cells, they say they have no money for the people who instruct our children.
We New Democrats stand in full support of all Canadian teachers. They deserve fair compensation and our respect for the valuable work they do. We know that a strong education system is the cornerstone of a sound economy and a fair society.