I am in the process of completing this column – much to the relief of the communications staff – the night before the American presidential election and barely two weeks after the Canadian federal election. These are rare times indeed for political junkies, a group to which I unreservedly belong.
The great news is that the fun won’t end. This December, the Council of the Ontario College of Teachers will begin to accept nominations for our fifth election, to be held in the new year.
That’s right. While the rest of North America suffers through political withdrawal and the doldrums of yet another cold and dreary winter, members of the Ontario College of Teachers can look forward to an exciting five-week election campaign as teacher candidates vie for positions on the fifth College Council.
Sadly, I am aware that many among us do not appear to share my enthusiasm for elections. Fewer than 60 per cent of eligible Canadian voters – the lowest number ever – turned out to the polls on October 14th.
Worse, fewer than 10 per cent of College members voted in our 2006 election. Given a turnout that low, it would be easy to become discouraged, but I choose instead to operate under the premise that we have nowhere to go but up.
You can choose to vote or not to vote, but please don’t underestimate the critical importance of Council. We develop and pass regulations governing the profession and we do so with a Council composed of a strong majority of classroom teachers. Remember, we are your regulators and only you get to choose us.
Consider the following:
As I appeal to you to vote in this election, I am reminded of something that occurred many years ago. A priest used to come into my Grade 7 and 8 classes to talk about becoming involved in the community.
He began by describing a breakfast of bacon and eggs. He would then tell the kids that, insofar as the breakfast was concerned, the chicken had made a contribution but the pig had made a commitment.
This election, I won’t ask you to make a commitment – but a contribution would be nice.