Opposition to Anti-Social Offensive Continues in Ontario

Mass Actions Militantly Reject Ford
Government's Attacks on Education

Queen's Park rally April 6, 2019 says No! to Ford government's cuts to education.

Two mass actions were recently held in Ontario by those concerned about the direction of public education. On April 6, a mass rally of teachers and education workers and their supporters was held at Queen's Park to defend the public education system. This was preceded by a province-wide walkout on April 4 organized by students to clearly express their No! to the Ford government's retrogressive changes to K-12 and post-secondary education.

Rally for Education at Queen's Park

On April 6, more than 34,000 teachers and education workers, students, parents, children and the general public converged on Queen's Park for a rally to express a clear No! to the Ford government's anti-social attacks on education. From as far north as North Bay and as far south as Windsor, buses poured into Toronto while Torontonians and those in the GTA drove in or flooded into public transit. Everywhere red shirts symbolizing the slogan #RedforED could be seen. Like the province-wide walkouts, the rally had a jubilant fighting spirit making it clear that the people were speaking for themselves and putting to rest any claim that the direction proposed by the Ford government has any form of broad support. Organizers report that this was the most buses they had seen at Queen's Park in many years.

The rally opened with representatives of high school students who organized the walkouts who rebuked Premier Ford's provocative claim that the walkouts were organized by teachers' unions, whom he called "thugs." The students openly declared not only that it was their initiative but that they are not asking but demanding a real say in the direction of the education system that educates them and that they support the same for all those who work in public education. Representatives of families with children who have autism also spoke of their confidence in the movement that was being built and that they stand as one with everyone who wants to improve public education. Representatives of the main Ontario education unions also spoke affirming that their members' working conditions are students' learning conditions and that this is the basis upon which they support the students. The entire caucus of the NDP joined the rally with NDP leader Andrea Horwath stating that they would fight up until the next provincial election when she said they would defeat the PCs and form the government. Chris Buckley of the Ontario Federation of Labour addressed participants as did Canadian Labour Congress President Hassan Yussuff. Both rebuked the Ford government for its attacks on unions labeling them "thugs," affirming that the trade union movement would not be threatened or intimidated.

The stands of the people of Ontario affirming education as a right and the modern view that education is an investment rather than a cost were clearly expressed in the thousands of homemade signs in the rally. What has clearly been established in the minds of those gathered was that the direction the Ford government intends to take Ontario is not acceptable and must be challenged. The rally and the walkouts have further strengthened the sentiment that it is up to the working people themselves to hold governments to account and how to do this begins by saying No!

Province-Wide Student Walkout

Students from all parts of the province walked out en masse on April 4 in an enthusiastic expression of their determination to have their voices heard.

Many school boards across the province deliberately did not intimidate or seek to threaten students into not participating. In some cases school board administrations facilitated students expressing themselves by establishing time frames for the walkout within which students would not be marked truant. As a result, students were not forced to defy administrators and instead were able to walk out together in a calm and jubilant atmosphere.

Photo Review: April 6 Rally for Education

Photo Review: April 4 Student Walkout



Wellborne Ave Public School, Kingston

VP Carswell Elementary, Trenton



Codrington Public School, Barrie

Innisdale Secondary School, Barrie

Harbord Collegiate, Toronto

Spadina-Fort York, Toronto

Lakeshore Collegiate, Etobicoke

Richview Collegiate, Etobicoke


Port Credit Secondary School, Mississauga

Fort Erie

Vincent Massey Secondary School, Windsor

Essex District High School



Blind River

Elliot Lake

Sault Ste. Marie

Thunder Bay

(Photos: TML, A.D. Labelle, C. Burns-LeBlanc, K. Graves, A. Trotter, C. Davey, M. Owens, A. Jofnson-Ford, blog TO, C. Glover, R. Harvey, L. McAlpine, M. Mount, M. Manthra, T. Pozzo, R. Fleming)

This article was published in

Volume 49 Number 13 - April 13, 2019

Article Link:
Mass Actions Militantly Reject Ford Government's Attacks on Education


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