View election speech here.
My name is Rob Duiker (pronunciations vary but we say Doo-ker), and I am seeking your support to become the president of the Alberta Teachers’ Association.
My wife Fran and I have been married for 35 years. We have three children and two grandchildren. I have been the principal of Rocky Christian School for the past 14 years and have previously served as principal in various schools in B.C., New Mexico and Ontario. I began teaching in 1991. I hold a master of education degree in curriculum and instruction from Dordt College in Iowa.
In recent years I have been the president of the Rimbey–Rocky Mountain House–Sundre Constituency Association for the Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta and then president of the United Conservative Party Constituency Association. This past summer I ran to become a candidate for the Conservative Party of Canada in 2019, finishing second among the five contestants in the race. I learned a great deal, including a number of reasons to dislike politics.
Some might say that the idea of running for the ATA presidency seems a little preposterous. After all, I have never held office of any kind in the ATA nor in our local. And yet, I am seeking your support. Win or lose, I desire to initiate a richer and broader dialogue among members about our profession and the organization that represents it.
The way that our organization mobilizes politically is at the heart of my campaign. We must always hold the government of the day to account, and we must command respect by being respectful. I believe in productive and amicable relations with the government, regardless of the political party represented. We are, first and foremost, an organization of professionals with the praiseworthy mandate to enable future generations for citizenship. We ought to be esteemed as such. Therefore, we must confidently assert our rightful place in our relations with the government, while exemplifying a model of the professionalism we uphold.
My goal is to steer a more non-partisan course where respect for a diversity of views is promoted. Every one of us in the Association has political views. We ought to treasure the diversity of views that exists and expect to flourish as a result of the conversations that diversity inspires. My goal will never be to make the Association more conservative or socialist or anything in between. Rather, I desire an Association which is a model of civil and respectful discourse among scholarly people, as varied as the legislative assembly itself. It is time to move the ATA beyond polarity, and beyond any perception of political partisanship.
It has long been my contention that disagreement makes us better people. But we need to disagree well. I don’t believe that unity should ever be found in uniformity. The membership of the ATA is beautifully diverse. That is a strength. More than anything else, this campaign is motivated by a desire to capitalize on that strength.