The announcement of the investment management agreement between ATRF and AIMCo is a big win for teachers, who have been relentless advocates in defence of their pensions. The agreement respects the role of the ATRF and enshrines its responsibilities as fiduciary of the plans. Teachers, active and retired, mounted a strong, wide-reaching, relentless campaign in defence of their pensions. I believe the actions taken by teachers provided the ATRF with the backing they needed to negotiate an effective agreement that protects the interests of teachers. The only thing better would have been a repeal of the pension elements of Bill 22.
I was talking with a colleague the other day just after the agreement was announced. She congratulated me on it and expressed her relief. It was some much-needed good news. She went on to thank me for the advocacy I had been doing around the issue.
I pointed out that this victory and success belongs to every teacher in the province who took to their keyboards, sending tens of thousands of emails to their MLAs. It belongs to teachers who picked up the phone and called their MLAs, or made appointments to talk to them about how this hijacking of the pension was not in the best interest of teachers and Albertans.
The success belongs to teachers who did not take silence as an answer and demanded that MLAs engage in a conversation that went beyond the talking points or form emails. In short, the success of this advocacy action is yours. And I cannot thank you enough for your relentless advocacy, especially during such challenging times.
That’s the thing about advocacy — it’s not easy and it’s not quick either. It can be exhausting to keep at it day after day. I have often equated it to a marathon rather than a sprint. The teachers of this province proved that they have the perseverance and willpower to fight for what they believe in. I encourage you savour this success and strap those shoes on. As someone said on social media, curriculum is next. ❚
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