TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 6, 2012) - Stealing a page out of Tim Hudak's failed "Change Book," Premier Dalton McGuinty made a cynical electoral play when he decided to try to vilify school teachers and educational workers. In a deposition delivered last night on the McGuinty government's controversial anti-worker bill, OFL President Sid Ryan warned that trampling workers' rights will cost the Premier a majority.
"We sincerely believe that this Bill is a cynical piece of legislation. We don't believe it is intended to address any serious concern that needs addressing in this legislature," Ryan told the Standing Committee on Social Policy. "The school teachers' unions and support staff in this province have made it perfectly clear that they had no intention of disrupting the start of the school year. They just wished to sit down with their respective school boards and negotiate."
In 2011, Premier McGuinty solicited campaign support from various teachers' unions on the pledge that he would "respect the bargaining process" and wouldn't "tear up collective agreements." However, August 27, 2012, the McGuinty Government introduced Bill 115 Putting Students First Act, 2012, which seeks to do just that. The bill is part of a cynical Liberal strategy to try to win two byelections on September 6 by driving a wedge between parents and educational workers.
"McGuinty has gone out of his way to fashion himself as the so-called 'Education Premier' [but] who does he think make the education system work? It is school teachers and support staff that are creating this world class education system that we've got in this province and this Premier now thinks it is politically expedient to go out and bash these school teachers to try to demonize them to win a byelection down in Kitchener-Waterloo," said Ryan. "That's what this legislation is all about."
The OFL also called the legislation a violation of domestic and international labour and human rights standards, accusing Premier McGuinty of tossing aside basic workers' rights and the legal bargaining regime to impose contract provisions that are meant to be negotiated with the province's school boards. The Federation called out the Premier for violating the spirit of the United Nations Conventions of the International Labour Organization. Video excerpts from Ryan's deposition can be viewed online at: http://youtu.be/cKUdQEqh-pY.
"Bill 115 is nothing but crass politics being played by both the Tories and the Liberals and the pawns in the game here are the voters down in Kitchener-Waterloo. The anti-union rhetoric that has permeated the campaigns by both of these political parties has backfired and is turning off voters," said Ryan. "This legislation is simply a cynical ploy to attempt to influence an election down in Kitchener-Waterloo. I believe that both Dalton McGuinty and Tim Hudak will both meet their Waterloo tomorrow night when the results come rolling in."
The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) represents 54 unions and one million workers in Ontario. For more information on the OFL, visit www.OFL.ca and follow the OFL on Facebook and Twitter: @OFLabour.