January 22, 2013 - Vol. 2,
the Austerity Measures in Bill 115!
Hold Governments to Account!
• Rescind the
Austerity Measures in Bill 115! Hold Governments to Account!
• Bill 115 -- Mechanism to Impose Austerity
- Rob Woodhouse
Protest at Liberal
• Mobilization in Full Swing
• Reject Attempts to Sweep Violation of
Rights Under the Rug - Enver Villamizar
• Who Elects the Next Premier? -
• Liberal "Moderates" Pushing Austerity
- Jim Nugent
Teachers and Education
Workers Determined to Affirm Their Rights
• Militant Rally at Ministry of Education
• Vigorous March in Barrie Affirms Workers'
• Actions at MPPs' Offices
Fraudulent Repeal of Bill 115
Rescind the Austerity Measures in Bill 115!
Governments to Account!
When the McGuinty government announced the repeal of
Bill 115, the Putting Students First
January 23, this was immediately denounced
as a bogus move. Teachers and education workers along with most Ontario
working people clearly stated that so long as the measures contained in
the Bill remain in place,
this is a cheap stunt. To repeal Bill 115 means to rescind the
austerity measures contained in the Bill. Anything less is fraud.
Even before the Bill was
"repealed," teachers and education workers
made it clear that to Repeal Bill 115, also required that the MOU [the
Memorandum of Understanding] signed under duress by the Catholic
teachers' union that the government then used as the template to
extract billions from education, must
also be rescinded and collective bargaining carried out in good faith
must also be restored. To its shame, the government used the
opportunity of the announcement of the Bill's repeal to once again put
pressure on teachers and education workers to give up the fight for the
affirmation of their rights. One form this
pressure took and continues to take is the government demand that
teachers and education workers give up their withdrawal from
extra-curricular activities. They do not want the teachers and
education workers to protest against government dictate after their
attempts to hold a day of political protest were declared
illegal. Meanwhile, all measures contained in the Bill remain in place.
Education Minister Laurel Broten gave expression to the
which the government is engaged when she stated: "The Putting Students
First Act is a bipartisan solution to a province-wide issue -
fair collective agreements for teachers and support staff while
addressing Ontario's deficit. The act accomplished
that goal and is no longer needed. What is needed now is a return to
stability in our schools and that includes extracurricular activities
for Ontario's students."
Ontario Political Forum
denounces the mockery which the
government, along with the PCs, continue to make of governance. To
arbitrarily pass laws which are then fraudulently repealed once their
anti-social aim has been accomplished does not bring honour to anyone.
The government has no sense
of shame or consideration for the deepening crisis of confidence in
public institutions and government that their actions are causing.
Ontarians have utter contempt for such self-serving conduct. Ontario
Political Forum calls on the working people of Ontario to
rally around teachers and education workers
and go all out to participate in the upcoming protests against the
austerity agenda of both the Liberals and PCs. All out to oppose the
anti-social offensive on the occasion of the Liberal Leadership
Convention this weekend! Hold the government to account for their
attacks on rights!
There Is an Alternative to this Phony
Defeat Both the Liberals and the PCs!
Let's Work Out How Together!
Bill 115 -- Mechanism to Impose Austerity
After using the power it gave itself in Bill 115 to
agreements on public elementary and high school teachers and thousands
workers, the government then declared a planned day of political
protest by those affected to be illegal and has now repealed Bill 115.
This fulfills the mission the
ruling Liberal Party had
set out to achieve in the negotiations with the teachers and education
workers -- to use these negotiations as a demonstration to the rich
that the Liberals deserve
to wield power as the champions of austerity. For the Liberals, Bill
115 was all about their partisan fortunes, about putting the Liberals
The Liberals' actions are intended to reassure the rich
that Liberal rhetoric about goodwill, balance and moderation is just
political marketing. They are
intended to show that a Liberal government is fully prepared to hammer
the full force of its power down on anyone who resists the austerity
agenda. From the
first session of these "negotiations" in the education sector, the
Liberal government was determined to use provincial negotiations as a tour
against the teachers and education workers and their
unions. The government set out to have a confrontation with teachers
and education workers and
to strip them of their rights.
Negotiators for the
teachers and education workers have known since the first meeting at
the Provincial Discussion Table in February that the Liberal
government had no intention of negotiating a contract and was spoiling
for a political fight. That is why the government side was headed by
retired judge James
Farley, notorious as a hanging-judge when it comes to workers' rights.
That is also why the government refused to negotiate even after the
unions agreed to
the main concession demanded by the government -- a two year wage
With shameless and transparent opportunism the McGuinty
government planned a confrontation with teachers and education workers
when school opened in
September and timed the passage of Bill 115 and the Kitchener-Waterloo
(K-W) by-election to fit this plan. McGuinty's calculation was that he
could win a
majority in part by attacking teachers -- a majority from which he
complete the theft of billions from education as the first step in an
all-out assault on
the public sector. The workers' opposition intervened in K-W to defeat
the anti-worker politics being pushed by both the Liberals and the
Following the debacle for McGuinty and the Liberals as
well as Hudak and the PCs in the K-W by-election, McGuinty prorogued
the legislature, resigned
as premier and called for a Liberal leadership race -- all to "reset"
the Liberal demagogy about "balance", etc. Teachers and education
workers were able to
mobilize broad support through their spirited defense of workers'
rights, which the Liberals tried to counter with political spin around
the leadership race. But
they did not abandon their schemes to steal billions from education.
Bill 115 was written in a
way that gave the government
an opportunity to back off from confrontation with teachers and
education workers when the December 31
deadline built into it for
negotiating contracts came around. Instead, they doubled down on their
attacks on teachers and education workers by using Bill 115's powers to
contracts. They doubled down again by criminalizing teachers' and
education workers' resistance by organizing for the Ontario Labour
Relations Board to declare
a planned day of political protest an illegal strike. The only
"concession" the Liberals made was the farcical repeal of Bill 115
after they had used it to do their dirty work.
The Liberals did not back off from their confrontation
with teachers and education workers because they could not back off.
That would mean surrendering
to the Hudak Conservatives who are also vying to be the champions of
the austerity agenda of the rich. All of the politics of the ruling
elite centres on the
question: Who can best impose austerity on the working people so the
global economic crisis is settled in favour of the rich?
This contention between the Liberals and the Hudak
Conservatives to be the champions of the austerity agenda and the
neo-liberal offensive of the rich
is an important consideration for the working class. Besides
collaborating to impose Bill 115, both these parties leading the
austerity agenda have other
legislation up their sleeves for attacking workers' rights. Before the
legislature was prorogued, both of them had legislation prepared for
attacking hospital workers
and other workers in essential services. Both also have proposals for
attacking injured workers' rights to just compensation and other
waiting in the wings for when the legislature resumes.
The Liberals and the Conservatives both have to be
stopped. This was done successfully in the Kitchener-Waterloo
by-election and shows the workers' opposition
can do the same in other ridings
in the future.
Protest at Liberal Leadership
Mobilization in Full Swing
Respect for Democracy Rally
Pay "Tribute" to Dalton McGuinty
Friday, January 25
Maple Leaf Gardens (Carlton and Church)
Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario GTA Locals
Lomnicki -- 416-393-9930, firstname.lastname@example.org
|Rally for Rights and Democracy
at Ontario Liberal Party Convention in Toronto
Saturday, January 26 -- 1:00 pm
Rally at Allan Gardens (Gerrard and Sherbourne) followed by
a march to the Convention at Maple Leaf Gardens
Ontario Federation of Labour
For information: Laurie
Hardwick -- 416-571-3087, email@example.com or
MacDonald -- 416-443-7668, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mobilization for the Ontario Federation of Labour Rally
to protest the Liberal Leadership Convention is in full swing across
the province. The event is
becoming a converging point for the growing movement against the
austerity agenda and to hold governments to account for their attacks
on workers' rights.
The OFL reports that at this point over 100 buses from
communities across Ontario will be travelling to Toronto to join the
people of the Greater Toronto
On the evening of January 25, while the Liberals are
holding their tribute to outgoing Premier Dalton McGuinty inside Maple
Leaf Gardens, locals of the
Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario from around the GTA will be
holding a "Respect for Democracy" rally outside to send McGuinty off
with a fitting
workers' "tribute" for his attacks on workers' rights, particularly
On January 21 ETFO GTA locals also launched an
advertizing campaign for the rallies that includes TTC ads, digital
billboards in and around the GTA and a website, notobill115.ca.
Reject Attempts to Sweep Violation of Rights
Under the Rug
In the lead-up to the Liberal Leadership Convention on
January 25-26 the media is rife with speculation about coalitions,
factions forming within the Liberal Party
to decide on the premier, and claims by all the parties in the
Legislature that their only concern is to "get things done for
Ontarians" rather than have
a general election. There are also new attempts to try and get the
working class of Ontario to line up behind the Liberals based on "
better the devil
you know than the devil you don't."
This is a flimsy coordinated attempt to cover up the
violation of rights that has been committed against Ontario's teachers
and education workers in the
form of the passage and use of Bill 115 and now its repeal. All the
talk by the parties and pundits about what will happen after the
is to overwhelm
the growing movement against austerity and government dictate in
Ontario into believing there is no need to discuss what has taken
place, its significance and
how to hold governments to account for violating the rights of a whole
section of Ontarians. Never mind the fact that the suspension of rights
Bill 115 is still in place and being used on a daily basis.
Ontario's teachers and education workers, students and
the entire working class however continue to put front and centre their
opposition to what the
government has done and is doing to teachers and education workers. The
rally on January 26 in Toronto will be an important occasion to build
Many are wondering what kind of a so-called democratic
system permits the Liberal government, with the help of the PCs, to
suspend rights in order to
target a specific group for attack using powers it gave the Minister of
Education, then repeal the legislation after using it
to deliver the attack, claiming as McGuinty did when he telephoned the
presidents of ETFO and OSSTF, that those attacked should "put the past
How can governments that are supposed to affirm the
rights of the people to the highest standard possible be permitted to
operate in such a thuggish
manner against their own citizens? If such a brazen form of
discrimination and violation of rights took place in another country it
would be reported as a serious
violation of human rights and there would be calls for an international
How is it that now we are being told that this episode
in Ontario's present is "history" and should not be looked into in
order to draw warranted conclusions
to prevent it from happening again? How can any of the parties in the
Legislature claim that Ontarians do, or do not want elections when the
people of Ontario
have never been asked what their concerns are? When they have the
opportunity to put forward their collective consciousness the people
dictate and violations of rights, as was the case in the
Kitchener-Waterloo by-election. Ontarians may or may not want an
election, but they definitely want to
affirm their rights and not permit governments to get away with
The workers' opposition in Ontario must step up the
organizing in defence of rights and to hold governments to account in
the face of these attempts to
sweep the violation of rights under the rug.
Who Elects the Next Premier?
The 2013 Ontario Liberal Party leadership election was
triggered on October 15, 2012 when Premier Dalton McGuinty announced
his resignation and then
prorogued the legislature.
The six candidates for the leadership as of January 22
are: Eric Hoskins, Gerard Kennedy, Sandra Pupatello, Charles
Sousa, Harinder Takhar and Kathleen Wynne, with Glen Murray having
The new premier will now be decided by delegates to the
Liberal Leadership Convention on January 25 and 26 in Toronto. A total
of 1,837 elected delegates,
plus 419 ex-officio delegates (current and former MPPs, defeated
Liberal candidates, riding association presidents, party executive
officers and other officials
and federal Liberal MPs for Ontario) will now choose the next premier.
Voting for delegates took place January 12 and 13. Some
46,000 registered Liberal Party members were eligible to participate in
electing 16 delegates
from each of the 107 riding associations plus 144 delegates from 18
campus clubs and 8 from party women's groups. There was a tie in the
that will be run off prior to the convention.
By comparison, there are 8 million electors in the
province of Ontario who have no say in selecting or electing the
premier unless they happen to be a
delegate. The numbers of elected delegates supporting each
candidate are as follows:
| Kathleen Wynne
*Independents arise out of Glen Murray's withdrawal and
subsequent backing of Kathleen Wynne
Now that the results are known the speculation and
horse-trading have been stepped up. The promises of cabinet positions
lasagna dinners and other
meetings for wheeling and dealing are being openly discussed. Is this
any way for the premier and cabinet of a province to be chosen?
Liberal "Moderates" Pushing Austerity
Workers' resistance to austerity has converged on the
demand to kill Bill 115 and its provisions which stripped teachers and
education workers of their
collective bargaining rights.
Certain candidates for the leadership of the Liberal
Party, particularly those who are presented as "moderates" or
"centrists", are making statements in the
media suggesting to workers that they should put everything in their
hands -- that if they win the leadership contest, problems with
anti-worker legislation will
be solved. Some have even made it a point to stop at picket lines of
teachers and education workers outside Liberal meetings, the Leadership
debates or other
events to offer "support," or to make it appear as if they stand with
teachers and education workers.
All of the leadership candidates are clearly trying to
distance themselves from the
discredited McGuinty government, each trying to stand out from the
candidates to present themselves as the "consensus builder" or "bridge
builder" required to calm the situation down.
While some promote themselves as "moderates" or
"centrists" these candidates have never made any statement opposing the
austerity agenda and the
program to remove billions from social programs in order to pay the
rich. In fact, they have all reaffirmed this direction in various ways
as the only option for
the new premier.
The leadership race inside the Liberal Party is being
held within the competition between the Liberals and Conservatives to
be the champions of austerity
and champions of the whole neo-liberal offensive of the rich in
Ontario. The only debate among the Liberals is over the best means for
Is legislation or negotiation the best way to impose wage cuts, job
cuts, contracting out and privatization in public sector contracts?
Any notion that these Liberal moderates represent a
glimmer of hope for workers in the Liberal Party is an illusion created
to diffuse and disorganize the
growing opposition to austerity. The moderate approach they present is
the bait for trapping the workers' movement in the discussion about
negotiations or austerity through legislation.
For the working class, the discussion about austerity is
that it does not serve the interests of the working class and people
and as a result does not have
legitimacy. In this respect, austerity is unacceptable whether it is
imposed through negotiations or legislation.
To open society's path to progress, the fight against
the anti-social offensive which today takes the form of the austerity
agenda requires a concerted fight for the affirmation of the rights of
all. A way forward can be found on the basis of the broad mobilization
of workers from all sectors of the economy to work to defeat both the
Liberals and PCs in the next election because both these parties openly
espouse the fraudulent austerity agenda. This will empower the workers.
Instead of the workers splitting their ranks behind this or that party
vying to be champions of the austerity agenda of the rich in the hopes
they will not change their tune once elected, the workers will take a
stand which defends their interests and rights. Once that is achieved,
they can then take another and another and another. It can be done!
and Education Workers Determined to Affirm Their Rights
Militant Rally at Ministry of Education
Far from submitting to the pressure to give up their
fight and hope that some new Liberal leader will save them, on January
15 over 2,000 teachers, education
workers and their allies, including many parents, held a militant
demonstration at the Ontario Ministry of Education offices to express
their opposition to the
McGuinty government's perfidious attacks on the rights of teachers and
education workers and to serve notice that they are going to organize
to affirm their
rights and defend public education.
The action was called by the Elementary Teachers'
Federation of Ontario (ETFO). In addition to its members from the GTA,
there were large numbers of
participants from the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation
(OSSTF), Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), a delegation from
English Catholic Teachers' Association (OECTA), as well as the Toronto
Labour Council and others.
One of the main themes of the action was that teachers
and education workers will organize and resist the attacks of the
McGuinty Liberals against workers'
rights. Leslie Wolfe, an executive officer of the Provincial OSSTF,
noted that the teachers and education workers are at the forefront of
the fight for workers'
rights, including the right to have unions and to bargain collectively
for fair contracts. This sentiment was echoed by Martin Long, President
of the Elementary
Teachers of Toronto (ETT) who said that workers fought long and hard
for their basic democratic rights and that teachers and education
workers will defeat
the Liberals in this fight.
Sam Hammond, the President of ETFO said that for ten
long months the teachers have fought for a just and fair collective
agreement and that the Liberal
government and Education Minister Broten have undermined them all along
the line. He pointed out that they remain steadfast in their fight,
convinced of the
justness of their cause. Making reference to former Canadian Auto
Workers' President Buzz Hargrove's comments in the media that teachers
risk losing public
support if they do not resume extra-curricular activities, Hammond
pointed out that teachers do not need Mr. Hargrove's advice which is
aimed at pitting the
public against them. "We have been in this fight for over 10 months and
we will take the fight to the Liberal Leadership Convention and to the
Another theme of the action was the support from parents
for the teachers' and education workers' fight. Steve McGregor, a
with two children in a public
elementary school, denounced the McGuinty Liberals for betraying the
people of Ontario and betraying teachers. He noted that when the
Liberals came to power
the second time they promised to support education and invest funds to
improve the public school system in Ontario. Instead, he pointed out,
what we have
is austerity with
the teachers and the public education system being attacked in the name
austerity. He said that he was proud of Ontario
teachers and how they
serve society and that he will raise his voice and speak out against
the Liberals and called on everyone to do the same.
Another parent and activist, Sultana Jahangir of the
South Asian Women's Rights Organization also spoke as a parent and
community activist and called
for the unity of everyone to oppose the austerity program of the
Liberals and Conservatives. She said that in the next election those
politicians who speak about
the need for austerity must be opposed and defeated and that by
fighting for everyone's rights together, the austerity agenda will be
At one point during the demonstration, participants
spilled out onto Bay Street and occupied the road. They chanted slogans
including "Laurel Broten Has
Got To Go" and others. Many pedestrians and passing motorists expressed
support for the action. The organizers called on everyone to mobilize
for the rallies
to protest the Liberal Leadership Convention on January 25-26.
Vigorous March in Barrie Affirms Workers' Rights
Five hundred teachers and education workers and their
supporters in Simcoe County held a vigorous March for Workers' Rights
on January 16 in Barrie.
It began at the mall and continued through the main streets, over the
Highway 400 bridge and culminated at Progressive Conservative MPP Rod
The messages on placards were clear: "NO!," "No to Bill
115, No to Austerity!" "Increase Funding for Social Programs," "No to
Imposed Contracts, No
to Denial of Rights" and "Protesting is the new ‘extra-curricular'!"
Large number of buttons were also handed out that said simply "No!"
Flags flew high from the
following unions: Ontario
Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF), Elementary Teachers'
Federation of Ontario (ETFO)
and Ontario Public Service Employees' Union (OPSEU). Ian Tudor,
President of OSSTF District 17, which had organized the event along
in front of Jackson's office. He said that Bill 115 represented a
violation of democratic rights. Teachers and education workers want to
negotiate locally with
their school boards and are opposed to the government's interference
with this. A trustee from the Simcoe County School Board told the rally
that the board
had sent a letter to the Minister of Education expressing their support
for local bargaining without the province's intervention.
Patty Coates, President
EA/DECE OSSTF District 17, representing Educational Assistants and
Early Childhood Educators working in the Simcoe Muskoka
Catholic District School Board explained how Bill 115 affects the
designated early childhood educators (DECE), secretaries and other
support staff, directly
affecting the learning conditions of students. She explained that the
average wage of these workers is $25,000 per year and they do not
have any payout of
banked sick days in the form of a gratuity when they retire. In terms
the unpaid professional development day they are being forced to take,
the money being
taken out of their pockets in the form of unpaid days was supposedly to
pay for keeping workers on the pay grid. However, only 50 of her
cent of the total number--will move up a step on the pay grid this year
and only 5 per cent next year. Yet they all must take an unpaid day.
this theft of money from education which will never return to the
The event concluded with a support staff worker leading
the crowd in chanting "No Justice! No Peace!"
Actions at MPPs' Offices
Ottawa, January 17
Kingston, January 16; Kitchener-Waterloo,
Pembroke, January 16
Thornhill, January 16
Sarnia, January 16
London, January 17
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