CUPE is heartened to hear Minister Dale Kirby fervently defend the public education system. As reported by CBC, the Minister announced that further cuts to classroom teacher allocations would occur only “over (his) dead body” and that he “could not possibly continue to do this job if there are any reductions in teachers in this province”. Minister Kirby also said “we would be causing damage and I would not stand for it”. 

There is an undeniable connection between public libraries and the school system. The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador recognizes this by the inclusion of the Provincial Information and Library Resources Board under the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. The literacy and education of the people of the province is enhanced by public libraries, even though the system has been chronically under resourced in the same way as the school system.

President of CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador Wayne Lucas says, “I spent 30 years as a maintenance person in the education system and I am well aware of the hard work, dedication, and extremely trying conditions under which our public teachers work. The school system in Newfoundland and Labrador has been cut to the bone.”

“The same can be said of our public library system. Libraries provide services, which strengthen the level of literacy in the province and support the public school system and the dedicated staff in our public libraries do this in very difficult conditions,” says Lucas. “I hope that Minister Kirby will support the library system just as strongly, by permanently reversing the devastating cuts and closure of 54 public libraries in rural Newfoundland and Labrador.”

“We are patiently waiting for the results of the EY review of the library system, which we understood would be released early in 2017. CUPE remains hopeful that Minister Kirby realizes that what is good for the goose is good for the gander!”