May 10, 2018 - Vol. 7 No. 2
June 7 Election
Ontario Election Called
• Ontario Election Called
• Platforms, Programs and
• Pre-Election Debate Underscores
Fraud that Election Is "Free
and Fair" - Anna Di Carlo
• Queen's Park Rally to Keep
• York University Education Workers Rally
Against Government Attempt to Legislate Them Back to Work
Workers Speak on Their
• The Injustice Faced by
General Electric Workers in Peterborough - Interview, Sue
James, Chair, GE Occupational Health
Speaking Out in
• CBC Must Serve the People,
Not the Privileged - Kaella-Lynn Recollet
• Coming Events
June 7 Election
Ontario Election Called
On May 8, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne announced that
Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, had accepted the Premier's
advice to sign a Proclamation
dissolving the 41st Parliament of the Province of Ontario, effective as
of 2:00 pm.
Consequently, the Lieutenant Governor called on
Ontario's Chief Electoral Officer to issue the writs for the general
election on Wednesday, May 9, and officially set Thursday, June 7 as
the date of Ontario's next general election.
Platforms, Programs and Promises
Information provided in the public domain on the
programs and promises of Ontario's "major" parties is disconcerting to
say the least. Synonyms for disconcerting include
unsettling, unnerving, discomfiting, disturbing, perturbing, troubling,
upsetting, worrying, alarming, distracting, off-putting, and there are
more. Why do we say this? Because Ontarians are
supposed to pick the next government by choosing one of these parties
based on these platforms, programs and promises. This means electors
are to ignore their own direct experience with the parties in the
Legislature and how they operate once in power.
A related matter that bears investigation is the April
25 announcement by Ontario's Auditor General that the Liberal
government is fudging the books by including the surplus of public
pension plans as a government asset. The so-called major parties have
programs based on estimates provided in the Liberal budget. The Auditor
General estimates that the real deficit is about $6
billion per year more than what is stated in budget documents. History
has shown that a newly elected party often claims it cannot implement
its electoral promises using the excuse that
circumstances have changed and there is less money than they thought.
The promotion of party platforms, programs and promises
is one of
the real frauds that are an integral part of what are called free and
fair elections. It is high time Ontario workers put
this fairy tale to rest. In fact, no one in their right mind really
believes that platforms of the "major parties" are serious indicators
of what they will do if elected. Any serious look at what
they say reveals that they are usually vague enough to mean anything to
In this election the working people do have the choice
discussing amongst their peers what they can do to make their rejection
of these cynical politics known. One way they can do
this is by organizing in their ridings, places of work, educational
institutions and other places to bring people together to discuss
casting their ballot for an independent or small party
candidate and making it clear what that vote represents.
Pre-Election Debate Underscores Fraud that
Election Is "Free and Fair"
On Monday, May 7, City TV televised an Ontario leaders'
featuring the leaders of the Progressive Conservatives, the NDP and the
ruling Liberal Party. The debate was
aired before the election was officially called on Wednesday, May 9. It
was aired before any of the leaders were officially registered as
candidates and to the exclusion of the other political
parties that are running in the June 7 general election.
The media scrambled to tell
the electors who came out
Pollara Strategic Insights and Maclean's
on the standings
of the parties. The two will collaborate throughout the campaign "to
measure voter support for each party ... and help understand the
reasons behind that support and any shifts in voter allegiance as the
The decision of City TV to air a leaders' debate before
official launch of the election campaign and the agreement of Kathleen
Wynne, Andrea Horvath and Doug Ford to
participate in it illustrates their contempt for the election law and
its purported aim of ensuring "free and fair" elections.
The election laws in Ontario, as is the case elsewhere
country, are based on a legal fiction, according to which all
candidates and all political parties presenting themselves for
election must compete within a strictly controlled regulatory regime.
Candidates are not supposed to incur any expenses, nor accept any
contributions, until the day they are officially
registered. They can face prosecution if they put out lawn signs before
they are officially registered or if they accept even a $100
contribution too early. Third parties, comprised of
individuals and organizations other than registered political parties
and registered candidates, are also strictly regulated.
Media corporations and polling companies, however, are
not considered "third parties" and in the name of freedom of the press
are allowed to do whatever election-related activities they want. They
provide hundreds of thousands of dollars in free promotion for the
cartel parties and try to influence public opinion in a manner that
aims to prevent the people from having peace of mind to think or
consider what the society needs.
The holding of the City TV debate on the eve of the
launch of the June 7 general election is an indication of the extent to
which the fundamental and universally recognized democratic principles
are trampled in the mud under the corrupt cartel-party dominated
Ontario Workers Affirm Rights
Queen's Park Rally to Keep Transit Public
(Keep Transit Public)
Public transit workers, organized in the Amalgamated
Transit Union Canada, supporters and others rallied in front of the
Ontario Legislature on May 8 to affirm the need for public transit and
to oppose any attempts by the Wynne Liberals, or Ford PCs should they
form the next government, to privatize transit at the expense of
workers, riders and all Ontarians.
York University Education Workers Rally Against
Government Attempt to Legislate Them Back to Work
York University education workers, members of CUPE
along with many of their students and other supporters rallied at
Queen's Park on May 8 for their just demands
and to oppose the Wynne Liberals' desperate attempt to impose
back-to-work legislation prior to the dropping of the writ and
dissolution of the Legislature. Wynne failed to get the all-party
support required to railroad legislation through the Legislature.
NDP and at least one Conservative refused to give consent and the
10-week long strike against York's concessionary
demands continues. The working conditions of the education workers at
York University are notoriously difficult. All out to support the
workers to win their just demands!
Workers Speak on Their Concerns
The Injustice Faced by General Electric
Former GE Peterborough workers and their families rally for justice
at Queen's Park, March 8, 2018.
Your committee is fighting for recognition of workers who were exposed
toxic chemicals at the GE Peterborough
plant over the years and for compensation for themselves and their
survivors. Can you tell us more about how this exposure took place?
myself started at the
plant in 1974 and retired in 2014. I grew up here in
Peterborough. My father worked at the plant as well from 1947 to 1983.
People from all parts of the city and surrounding areas worked there.
It was a fairly tight knit little community. We
knew each other at the plant. When I started in 1974 there were about
5,000 people that worked in that plant.
Sue James speaks at Ontartio Injured
Worker's Day, June 1, 2017.
While working there, throughout the years, starting back
in about 1977, we noticed that people were dying young and a lot of
them had cancer. We used asbestos on a regular basis, 500 pounds of
asbestos a week, and there were also about 40 known carcinogens that
were used in that plant. Then there was a movement within the joint
health and safety committee at the plant and we noticed that people
were passing away. Some were dying at ages as young as 55, 50, even 39
years old. Lots of people have died from all kinds of cancers, not to
mention heart disease.
Around 1978 we tried to bring that to light and asked
"Why? Why are we losing so many people at young ages to cancer?" Every
time we questioned what we saw, we were
pushed aside, getting answers like "Everybody gets cancer, we can't
relate it to the work place," "Are you a smoker?" etc.
Just recently there has been a really big push and a
group of us
got together, about 75 workers, trying to record what processes were
going on at any given time at the plant. We put
together our advisory report based on peoples' testimony on what
worked with at the plant. With the help of Unifor, we had researchers
Bob and Dale DeMatteo help us publish it.
We submitted it to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) in
Ontario. There is also another group working on this issue, the
Occupational and Environmental Health Coalition of Peterborough.
Meanwhile we have been having meetings with the
Clinics for Ontario Workers Inc. (OHCOW), the Office of the Worker
Adviser (OWA) as well as with the
Minister of Labour. We have stated that the current workers'
compensation board is broken, it is not set up to handle complex
issues like we are presenting to them. In September 2017,
the WSIB said that they would review 250 previously denied claims.
was new scientific evidence, so they said they would look at our
report. So far, 60 of the 250 previously rejected
cases have been accepted and a further 66 had their rejections upheld.
It has been a real struggle because there is no transparency. We asked
to have the numbers, because for confidentiality
reasons we can't get names. We are trying to get them listed by cancers
so that we will have an idea of how they are going through the process.
And the new claims coming through, what
is that going to mean for them? They basically shut us down. They do
not want us to know. We all knew one another. They do not want us to be
able to connect the dots. Most of the
workers have passed away now. A lot of the
people that we are helping navigate this very complex system are widows
or adult children of workers. Meanwhile
there are 119 new claims that are going through, more people that have
gotten ill. In the community we are saying if you have a disease that
you believe is occupational you need to get a
claim started. That is where our advocacy team has come into play, to
help people to present a claim.
The government has recently put out an announcement
that they are
appointing Dr. Paul Demers, who sits on the Occupational Cancer
Centre here in Ontario, to do an overall
look at occupational disease in Ontario. I am sceptical about that. Why
did they not look at this in the first place a long time ago? We have
an election coming up in June. There
are a lot of questions around it. What happens if the Minister who is
appointing this doctor does not get back in, then what? With the
election coming up I feel that we wasted some really
valuable time trusting that the Minister would do something about it.
We have had a lot of curve balls thrown at us. Also now
we have the
announcement that the GE plant is closing in September. With the plant
closing, why are they not being held
accountable, not only to clean up but for the deaths of those people?
It is like they can just wipe their hands and say we are just closing
and we are out of here.
OPF: In this
situation, what is
that you want to achieve? What are your demands?
SJ: We want to
achieve fairness, a
that looks at occupational disease for all injured workers across
Canada. People are living precariously because they
have no say. It is abuse of power as far as I am concerned. These
workers went out every day, they paid their taxes and contributed to
their community, but it is like their lives were
We want them to recognize occupational disease, that it
there. We want people to be able to come forward and get justice and
have closure. It is not just the compensation,
for most of them it is the acknowledgement. They need that closure and
they need for justice to prevail.
We had our first public meeting on April 18. It was
about 140 people. Our Advisory Committee meets regularly to discuss
what is new, what is going on. We also want
to join with Ontario Network of Injured Workers' Groups, with
all the injured workers groups, start a bigger noise. At our public
meeting we put out a questionnaire to people
asking them to write down what problems they have had when they
contacted the WSIB, whether the Board got back to them, were there
so on. Some of these claims have been going
on for 23 years. We want to collect information about the problems
people have and put it all in a collective letter on their behalf, to
the WSIB, to the Minister of Labour, showing that these things are
happening, the systemic issues. We are trying to get a public inquiry
into the WSIB.
We want to be the voice of those who are no longer
here. We want to
get a big group from here to go to Queens' Park on June 1 for Injured
Workers' Day. We did so last year. We
need to connect with all these groups to have a stronger voice. There
is a whole generation that is coming up that needs to be protected.
1. Report of the
Advisory Committee on Retrospective Exposure Profiling of the
Production Processes at the General Electric Production Facility in
Peterborough, Ontario -- 1945-2000, February 2017
Speaking Out in Northern Ontario
CBC Must Serve the People, Not the Privileged
The Canadian Broadcasting
Corporation (CBC) has
announced its radio
broadcast schedule for Ontario election candidates' debates in
Northeastern Ontario. Where in previous
elections CBC organized a candidates' debate in each of the
Northeastern Ontario ridings, in this election, it is organizing a
single Northeastern Ontario radio debate. It is inviting "star
candidates" to participate in this debate: Vic Fedeli, PC MPP for
Nipissing, previously interim PC Party leader; Frances Gelinas, NDP MPP
for Nickel Belt and NDP Health Critic; and
Glenn Thibeault, Liberal MPP for Sudbury and Minister of Energy in the
Wynne government. Green Party candidates, as well as all small party
and independent candidates who were not
previously included in CBC radio debates, are not being invited to
The action of the CBC is consistent with remarks made
Minister Trudeau on February 1, 2017 when he declared he would not
implement his promised electoral reform to
make the way votes are counted more representative. Trudeau said that
only the opinion gathered in the three "big-tent" parties is legitimate
and worthy of being heard. All other political
expression, is "fringe" or "extremist."
Like Trudeau's remarks, the CBC's decision to hold
debates including only "star candidates" also fails to uphold basic
democratic principles which demand equality of candidates and an
Canadians expect the CBC, funded largely from the
public purse, to
be responsible to all sections of the people by providing information
on all candidates and political parties and not
only "star" candidates and "big-tent" parties. By publicizing only
those political views acceptable to the Canadian establishment it is
sadly lacking as a public broadcaster. Canadians want
public broadcasting to serve the interests of the working people, not
the establishment which is launching an anti-social offensive against
Speakout on Matters of
Concern in Ontario
Thursday, May 17 -- 5:00 pm
Painswick Branch, Barrie
Library -- 48 Dean Ave.
Hosted by the
Barrie District Injured Workers' Group
Discussion on June 7 Ontario Election and Campaign of
Independent Candidate Laura Chesnik -- Windsor-Tecumseh
Thursday, May 10 -- 5:30-7:00 pm
OneTen Park, 110 Park
How to Ensure the Voice of Workers Is Heard in the Ontario Election
Round Table Meeting
Sunday, May 27 -- 1:00-4:00 pm
547 Victoria Ave.
Hosted by OSSTF District
9 Greater Essex
Justice for Injured Workers Bike Ride
McIntyre Powder Research
Friday, May 25
-- 1:00-4:00 pm
Pearson Civic Centre Theatre
Friday, May 25 -- 7:00-9:00 pm
Pearson Civic Centre Theatre
Saturday, May 26 -- 7:00 am-3:00 pm
Ride from Elliot Lake
Miners' Memorial Park on Highway 108 North
to Massey and District
Arena, 455 Government St.
click for PDF
Organized by Ontario Network of Injured
information on all Justice Bike Ride
events click here.
Injured Workers' Day
Vigil and Cultural Program
Thursday, May 31 --
Rally at Queen's Park
Friday, June 1 --
Friday, June 1 --
OCAD, Auditorium -- 100
McCaul St., Room 190
Ontario Network of Injured
ISSUES | HOME
Read Ontario Political Forum