United We Resist -- Mass Rally for Public Education

Despite a winter storm and blowing snow, hundreds of teachers, education workers, parents, students and supporters of public education rallied out front of the Toronto Congress Centre in Etobicoke on February 27, to protest cuts in funding of public education in Ontario. The occasion for the action was a $250-$1,600 a plate fund-raiser for the Ontario PC party where Premier Doug Ford was the keynote speaker.

The United We Resist Education Mass Rally was initiated by the Elementary Teachers of Toronto. They organized carpooling and shuttle buses from across the Greater Toronto Area, bringing in contingents of teachers and their students and parents. They were joined, banners and flags in hand, by Toronto education workers (CUPE Local 4400), the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF), Toronto transit workers with ATU Local 113, the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), and a contingent from CPC(M-L).

The spirit of the people standing up for public education was incredible. Everyone brought their concerns, printed on banners and hand-written on placards and signs. They called on those supporting the Ford government cuts to spend a day in their schools; they condemned the negative impact of increased class sizes and called for full funding for all-day kindergarten, and proper funding of autism programs. University students joined in the action demanding cuts to OSAP be repealed. Singing, stamping feet and marching along the hundred-metre entrance road, and picketing the entrance to the parking lot, the rally was very successful at slowing access to the fund-raising dinner. In many cases it took a car 45 minutes or more to get from the street to the parking area. Where possible, participants engaged those in the cars in discussion of their demands and concerns.

Leading up to the rally, the Elementary Teachers of Toronto posted that "Ford's assault on public education in declaring a strip of four per cent from education by removing class caps, dismantling full-day kindergarten as we know it and slashing millions from critical programming is beyond reprehensible." They pledged to "build our mass and resist in power." This mobilization by the Elementary Teachers of Toronto is a harbinger of the organized resistance of the people that is coming in Ontario to the anti-social cuts of the Ford government.

(Photos: TML, Elementary Teachers of Toronto, Durham Designated Early Childhood Educators, K.B. Campbell)

This article was published in

Volume 49 Number 9 - March 16, 2019

Article Link:
United We Resist -- Mass Rally for Public Education


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