October 31, 2012 - Vol. 2
Significance of McGuinty's
Prorogation of Legislature
Build the Independent Politics of the Working Class!
• Reject the Austerity
Agenda! Build the Independent Politics of the Working Class!
- Dan Cerri
• Anti-Worker Instrument to Pressure Teachers
and Education Workers' Unions
to the Putting Students First Act
• It Is in the Interest of Teachers and
Education Workers to Step Up Demand to Repeal Putting Students First Act
- Enver Villamizar
• Secondary School Teachers to Begin Strike
Action November 7
• School Boards Call for Repeal of Bill 115
• November 2 Actions in Greater Toronto Area to
Oppose Bill 115
Significance of McGuinty's Prorogation of
Reject the Austerity Agenda!
Build the Independent Politics of the Working Class!
Since Premier Dalton McGuinty prorogued the Legislature
on October 15,
been lots of spin and counterspin. The Liberals and their supporters
argue that it was necessary in order to negotiate with unions and other
political parties on "austerity" measures to fight the deficit. The
Conservatives say they are against prorogation
but only from the standpoint of using it to make a case against the
Liberals. They do not oppose the aims of prorogation to reset the
so-called austerity agenda in Ontario. In addition to all this, the
announcements about who is and isn't going to run for the Liberal
leadership are being used to bombard the public so they
cannot even stop and consider what is taking place. What is being
deliberately obscured in all the spin and counterspin is the voice of
the workers and people of Ontario. What does it mean for them? What is
Workers and people are discussing prorogation because it
does not serve their interests or the building of society in any
rational way. It is another desperate move to impose an illegitimate
agenda of "austerity" and it
is leading to more chaos and anarchy. How can it be seen as rational or
when it destroys the democratic institutions to attack the people who
produce the wealth and deliver the services in the province?
Since proroguing the Legislature, McGuinty and his
have been determined to impose their anti-worker agenda in closed-door
meetings with union leaders. In no way does this build consensus which
is the responsibility of the public authority. It raises anarchy to
authority and relegates the working
class to a position of spectator in the affairs of the province at a
time when its confidence and independent outlook is growing.
McGuinty's prorogation is based on narrow self-interest
to try to reset the
Liberals' "balanced" approach to impose the austerity agenda. What this
really means is that they are trying to hold onto power, rebuild their
image as the party of social consensus and at the same time deliver the
agenda to pay the rich under
the circumstances of a minority government with no prospect of a
majority in the near future. It reveals the desperate attempts by the
Liberal Party to use the prerogative powers to maintain their grip on
power and try to re-establish how it will pay the rich in competition
with proposals of the Progressive Conservatives
to do the same.
McGuinty's decision to prorogue the Legislature is a
fraud and a coup d'etat. It is an
silence widespread opposition by workers and people who will not accept
such an agenda that is only in the interests of a privileged minority.
Since tabling the so-called austerity budget the government has aroused
opposition across the province as evidenced
in rallies against the budget, overwhelming opposition to and calls to
repeal the Putting Students First Act,
"austerity" agenda in the Kitchener-Waterloo by-election.
Opposition to the proroguing of
the Legislature can be successful if it goes hand in hand with a
program of political renewal whereby the workers organize their peers
to put forward politics which resolve the crisis in favour of the
working people, not the rich. As a starting point it means
building the broadest possible unity to demand the re-call of the
Legislature and the immediate repeal of Bill 115, the Putting Students
First Act. This legislation represents an attack on the rights
in Ontario and should become a converging point
for all those forces against the illegitimate austerity agenda in
Anti-Worker Instrument to Pressure Teachers and
Education Workers' Unions
As part of its refusal to
be held to account for its bogus "austerity" agenda and corruption, the
Ontario Liberal government has been using the prorogation of the
Legislature to step up its attempts to dictate
agreements to public sector unions, starting
with teachers and education workers. Under the Putting Students
contracts for teachers
and education workers must be in place before December 31 or they will
be imposed by the Minister of Education. The government is holding this
deadline over the heads of unions to try to get them to agree to a deal
in line with the government's overall demands. On October 23 and 24,
the presidents of the Elementary
Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) and the Ontario Secondary School
Teachers' Federation (OSSTF) respectively were called to meetings by
Minister of Education Laurel Broten.
ETFO President Sam Hammond reported to his members that
of Education used the meeting to repeat her demand that ETFO rescind
its advice to members regarding the Ontario Progress Report Cards
and the withholding of extra curricular activities in response to the Putting
OSSTF President Ken Coran informed his members that the meeting
discussed the status of local negotiations, which is severely
restricted by Bill 115. In an email to OSSTF members Coran said: "It
was an informative meeting that will possibly lead to additional
meetings in the near future." He also informed
that OSSTF continues to bargain locally with identified school boards
with the goal of achieving an acceptable collective agreement that will
be ratified by the school boards and OSSTF members.
Both ETFO and OSSTF continue to try to negotiate with
school boards despite the gun being held to their heads in the form of
Bill 115's ministerial powers to impose contracts to the liking of
the Minister of Education. The negotiations that are taking place
follow the standard negotiating process
as outlined in the Ontario Labour Relations Act. The unions
are continuing "as usual" according to the Ontario Labour
so as not to compromise their supreme court challenge by accepting the
terms of the government's Memorandum of Understanding contained in the Putting
1. See Ontario Political Forum, October
24, 2012 -- Vol. 2 No. 4.
Continued Opposition to the Putting
Students First Act
It Is in the Interest of Teachers and
to Step Up Demand to Repeal
Putting Students First Act
Some claim that the McGuinty
government has lost its way in the last
year and departed from being liberal. In the case of teachers and
education workers there is a certain lament for the McGuinty of the
past in the face of the dictate of today. This sets the stage to find a
replacement for McGuinty who will restore
the Liberal Party to its liberal roots.
Creating hype about this or that candidate for leader of
Party is to keep teachers and education workers from sticking to their
demand that the Putting Students First Act be repealed, and
the program of austerity it represents for Ontario be defeated. It is
an attempt to sideline the teachers
and education workers as observers so that they give up their active
Since being elected, the McGuinty government has
implemented the agenda of the rich for Ontario despite the opposition
this has generated against the widespread privatization and
deregulation, cuts to social programs and attacks on the very notion of
society. The people of Ontario have opposed this anti-social offensive
since it was launched by Mike Harris in the 1990s under the slogan of
the Common Sense Revolution.
Far from solving the crisis in a manner that is
sustainable and favours the people of the province, the Liberal Party
has systematically taken society in the same direction as the Harris
Conservatives. It never reversed the overall trend towards
privatization and cuts to social programs to pay the debt and deficit.
Instead, it has taken further measures to dismantle the state
arrangements so that the public authority no longer even exists. In the
case of education, the Liberal
party seemed to retreat from the vicious attacks of the Harris period
on the dignity of teachers and education workers and the teaching
profession, in part to try and secure the support of teachers and
education workers for McGuinty and keep them as a vote bank in
elections. Despite appearances however, the Liberal government has
continued to dismantle the public authority over education in favour of
privatization and it is now taking further measures which do not favour
teachers, education workers or students and their parents, one of the
essential constituencies the Liberals relied on to get elected.
Many teachers and education
workers for example say they were
surprised when McGuinty came to the bargaining table in the last
Provincial Discussion Table (PDT) in 2008 offering 12 per cent raises
over four years in the case of the Ontario Secondary Teachers'
Federation, the Ontario English Catholic Teachers
Association and the Association des enseignantes et des enseignants
franco-ontariens. It appears now that McGuinty wanted
settlement with teachers and education workers just prior
to an election, to pave the way for the use of the PDT as a tool of
provincial dictate and the takeover of locally-elected
school boards and unions.
The attempts to buy off
teachers and education workers
then, in order
to win a coveted third majority, which did not materialize, are now
followed by brutal dictate à la Mike Harris using the
of the debt and deficit and the need for restraint, the same
justifications given by Harris in the 1990s.
Teachers and education workers are coming to grips with
that the McGuinty government has used the public purse and its position
of power to try and neutralize them from becoming a force for their own
interests. Now the schemes have changed and dictate is being used to
try and intimidate teachers
and education workers in order to steal billions from education to pay
the debt and deficit.
Talk about restoring the Liberal Party to being liberal
covers up the fact that dictate has become the modus operandi
of the monopolies worldwide and they are demanding governments do the
same in order to serve their narrow interests. Only the independent
voice of the working class in Ontario,
of which teachers and education workers are an important part, is
capable of defending the public interest in the face of such dictate.
The campaign to repeal the Putting Students First Act should
be taken to all sections of the working class in order to create a
converging point for all those who are against
austerity. All politicians and political parties of any stripe should
be forced to accept that the Putting Students First Act
must be repealed because it is an attack on the rights of all. This
will ensure a fitting response to the attempts to get the working class
to give up its independent politics and rally behind
this or that candidate for Liberal leader/Premier.
1. In 2008, the Elementary Teachers' Federation
of Ontario was offered eight per cent raises over four years and was
penalized for not coming to a deal within the time frame McGuinty
demanded. The offer seemed too good to be true and now we can see that
Secondary School Teachers to
Begin Strike Action November 7
On October 25, the Ontario Secondary School Teachers'
Federation (OSSTF) announced, that those bargaining units in a legal
strike position will begin taking strike actions on November 7, in
with the relevant provisions of the Ontario
Act. The OSSTF represents teachers,
occasional teachers, educational assistants, continuing education
teachers and instructors, psychologists, secretaries, speech language
pathologists, social workers, plant support personnel, attendance
counsellors and many other education professionals.
The decision to take strike action follows massive
strike votes in the affirmative by OSSTF members across the province.
The votes were a
clear rejection of teachers and education workers of government dictate
and attempts to bully them into accepting it.
OSSTF's bargaining bulletin informs that the strike
will take the form of teachers and education workers working to rule.
This means sticking to the letter of their contracts and job
descriptions and not performing additional duties. OSSTF President Ken
Coran is quoted in the Windsor Star
saying, "The actions
that are on there are not actions that impact the classroom learning
stream. They're designed to send a message to the school board."
A full listing of the actions for teachers can be found
by clicking here
and for support staff by clicking here.
School Boards Call for Repeal of Bill 115
Two school boards recently passed motions calling for
Bill 115, the Putting Students First Act,
"to be reviewed or repealed." On October 23, the Ottawa Carleton
District School Board passed a motion to "join with others including
the Ontario Public School Boards' Association to point out significant
difficulties in the Putting Students First Act 2012, and to
call for the review or repeal of the Act." It also stated that the
Board would "join others to advocate measures to create sensible
economic efficiencies without compromising student achievement and
well-being and without compromising the collective
A similar motion was passed October 16 by the Bluewater
School Board (which covers Grey and Bruce Counties). It was introduced
with statements saying the Putting Students First Act was
"causing hardship for students, for teachers and indeed for all members
of the educational community"
and "undermin[ing] human rights law, labour law and democratic
institutions such as locally elected school boards."
Both Boards included in their motions a statement
support for the creation of a single publicly funded school system for
each official language.
At the November 6 meeting of the Greater Essex County
School Board, a representative of the Greater Essex Elementary
Teachers' Federation will call on trustees to pass a motion to join
those calling for the repeal of Bill 115.
November 2 Actions Against Bill 115 in
Greater Toronto Area
Protests at Six
Liberal Cabinet Ministers' Offices Across Toronto
The Elementary Teachers of Toronto (ETT) has called for
the constituency offices of the six sitting Liberal Cabinet Ministers
in Toronto this Friday.
The ETT writes: "Dalton McGuinty may have put his
Premiership on 'pause,' as well as putting the legislature on 'pause,'
doesn't mean we're going to let up, or let the rest of the Liberals
forget their part in passing Bill 115."
"After back-to-back weeks of strong turnouts, we're once
calling on members and concerned citizens to join us on Friday,
November 2, 2012, from 3:45-5:00 pm, at the offices of the six sitting
Liberal Cabinet Ministers in Toronto."
"This week, Glen Murray's Toronto-Centre constituency
office will be
the main targeted rally. After the rally, ETT and the Political Action
and Social committees will be hosting a social at House on Parliament
(454 Parliament Street). Complimentary drink tickets will be passed
around at the rally.
"The other five constituency offices will also be active
you can't attend the main rally, we strongly encourage you to attend a
rally at an alternative site."
"Bill 115, 'The Putting Students First Act,' is an
attack on the established collective bargaining process. Join us on
Friday, and send the message that we will not stand idly by as workers'
rights are undermined."
"The riding offices are scattered around the city, so
even if you
are not in a riding represented by one of these Ministers, we ask that
you make your way to one of these locations. Encourage your colleagues
and co-workers to come along."
"ETT members, in collaboration with our education
partners in OSSTF
and CUPE 4400, plan to continue this practice. Please prepare to
participate in additional Friday afternoon rallies for several weeks to
Friday, November 2 -- 3:45-5:00 pm
Main Target Rally: Glen
Murray's Office -- Toronto-Centre
514 Parliament Street
Laurel Broten -- Etobicoke-Lakeshore
, 701 Evans Avenue
Kathleen Wynne -- Don
Unit 101, 795 Eglinton Avenue East
Eric Hoskins -- St.
803 St. Clair Avenue West
Brad Duguid --
2063 Lawrence Avenue East
Margarett Best --
Unit 109, 4117 Lawrence Avenue East
For more information contact Eugene James, Executive
Political Action Committee, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone
at 416-393-9930 ext. 222. For maps and directions, visit the ETT
Rally Against Bill 115 and in Support of ESL and Basic
Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) has called a rally at
MPP Charles DeSousa's constituency office
against Bill 115 and to support ESL and Basic Skills teachers in Peel
District School Board and Dufferin Peel Catholic District School
writes: "Adult non-credit English as a Second Language (ESL) and Basic
Skills Teachers are the 'poor cousins' in the education system. They
cannot afford to be targeted by Bill 115, a bill which tries to deny
the right of workers to collectively bargain. Despite the legislation,
these workers are determined to bargain
with their Boards of Education. Come out and support quality adult
education programs for our students."
Friday, November 2 -- 4:00-5:00 pm
Charles DeSousa -- Mississauga-South
Unit 1 & 2, 120 Lakeshore Road West
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