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Editorial: How do you find dollars new deals may demand?

So if teachers achieve a better financial deal in a new contract, it is important to at least ask where that dollar might come from.
Hundreds of Sask Teachers' Federation supporters packed the sidewalks of Yorkton's downtown Jan. 22.

YORKTON - If you drove down Broadway Street East Monday you would have seen teachers out walking the picket line.

It was their second day of walking the concrete instead of standing in front of the classroom in as many weeks in an attempt to push the Saskatchewan government to come up with a more palatable contract offer that their union membership would be willing to accept.

The issue of what teachers should be paid is an interesting one because the job they have is so important.

Providing youth with a foundational education so they can go on to careers which help Saskatchewan grow into the future has always been, and will always remain critical.

Education is very much a cornerstone of civilization, and when it falters, much can go wrong with a society.

That would suggest they should be well paid, and certainly they should be.

But nurses and other health care professionals are also important and that they look after us when we most need help for our health tells us they too should be well paid.

Of course we’d face problems if we did not have truck drivers too, and police, firefighters, emergency services personnel, and the list could be made longer because our province works best on a sort of jigsaw puzzle of careers coming together with each part contributing to a greater whole.

So the question the province faces with teachers is what they should be paid in some balance with other contracts the government is responsible for.

It must be remembered that there are finite dollars flowing to provincial coffers from its various sources of income each year.

And, even when it is a government dollar they are only worth 100 cents.

So if teachers achieve a better financial deal in a new contract, it is important to at least ask where that dollar might come from.

Would teachers be OK with nurses getting less so they can get more?

Do farmers get less provincial support for crop insurance?

Or, does the province simply hike the sales tax to cover the added costs of a new contract?

And the same question needs to be asked for every request for more from government, because revenues do not magically appear to cover each new cost.

Now certainly you might question how the province has spent our money – the Regina bypass will forever be something of an investment albatross as an example – but of course that money is gone now.

So where is planned spending that might be trimmed?

Are higher taxes for teachers acceptable?

Or, is the teacher request too much, as seems to be the government perspective.

These are questions the Saskatchewan Teachers Federation and Premier Scott Moe really need a clear and succinct answer to.