Wednesday, May, 23rd, 2018 by Michelle Pagniello
Strange times in Ontario provincial politics
Every Ontario political pundit must have a headache from the continuous head-shaking going on at the recent state of Ontario politics.
It was hard enough to fathom how a political party could implode so completely, so close to an election as did the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party.
Add to that the whiplash turnaround election of a leader who is a well-known extreme right wing populist who has subsequently moved the PC’s from what was widely, although erroneously, lauded as a “progressive” Conservative platform to one that, where we know anything about it, is entirely cuts-oriented, and a Trump-like approach to campaigning, it’s no wonder many of us are left wondering what’s next for Ontario generally, and for us, publicly funded education in particular.
Why should you care? – Cuts will hurt
Here’s what we do know: Mr. Ford has promised to find “efficiencies”.
We know that means: cuts.
Reports indicate that Ford will need to find $6 billion in “efficiencies” if he’s to replace the revenue that will be lost without the carbon tax. (Toronto Star, March 14, 2018)
Last Provincial election, Mr. Hudak was soundly rejected on the premise that he would fire 100,000 public sector workers in order to save $2 billion.
Economist Jim Stanford predicts that Ford will need to find $25 billion in spending cuts over his first four years, which will lead to a loss of 70,000. (Globe and Mail, March 19, 2018)
He wants to change the Sex Ed curriculum, taking out the ‘controversial bits’. Ford ,the same man who said “Absolutely Donald Trump respects women”, wants to determine how to teach about safe relationships and consent.
Then there’s his IOU to the social conservatives who once before argued for extended funding for private religious school. This could lead to a voucher system where tax dollars are allowed to follow the student to a private school of their choosing, redirecting precious public money, and jobs away from our schools.
Ontario’s educators have seen this movie before. In fact, we’ve starred in it. Even without the changes to Sex Ed or the possibility of a Voucher System, we know that when a government looks to cut large amounts from its budget, it ends badly for teachers, education workers, students and schools.
With one or two simple changes to funding and regulations teachers could be back to teaching 7 out of 8 and required to provide coverage and supervision; OT’s could find that their work is diminished as a result and support staff could see their numbers reduced and/or the reintroduction of partnerships with community organizations whose lower paid employees take over.
Collective action is political action
The job of the OSSTF Toronto Executive is to advocate for and protect our Members and publicly funded education.
We can think of no greater threat to public education than a Ford-led Tory government, and no time where the collective action of the OSSTF Membership might have a greater impact on the protection of our students and our schools.
Changes to election financing means the union cannot advocate by donation. It is going to be up to each of us to get involved if we are to have any chance of warding off a Ford majority.
OSSTF Toronto election strategy
This strategy is decisively surgical in nature, using the best information to achieve our big picture goal: thwart the Tories. It was developed and agreed upon in conjunction with provincial OSSTF, all Bargaining Units in this District and with the inclusion of Chapter 12, ARM (Active Retired members).
OSSTF Toronto endorsed candidates to date are:
|NDP Candidates||Liberal Candidates|
|Beaches-East york||Rima Berns-McGown||Don Valley East||Michael Coteau|
|Davenport||Marit Stiles||Don Valley North||Shelley Carroll|
|Etobicoke North||Mahamud Amin||Etobicoke Centre||Yvan Baker|
|Humber River-Black Creek||Tom Rakocevic||Etobicoke Lakeshore||Peter Milczyn|
|Parkdale-High Park||Bhutila Karpoche||Scarborough Guildwood||Mitzie Hunter|
|Scarborough Southwest||Doly Begum||Scarborough North||Chin Lee|
|Spadina-Fort York||Chris Glover||Willowdale||David Zimmer|
|Toronto Centre||Suze Morrison|
|University -Rosedale||Jessica Bell|
Should we add to the list, we will send out that information.
OSSTF Toronto-sponsored meet the candidate events
OSSTF Toronto is hosting OSSTF members-only opportunities to meet OSSTF endorsed candidates in Toronto. Snacks, beer, wine and non-alcoholic beverages will be provided. Receiptable expenses incurred as a result of travel/parking and/or dependent care will be reimbursed in accordance with OSSTF Provincial rates of reimbursement.
If you live in one of the following ridings and would like to attend, as an OSSTF Member who lives in that riding you are welcome as a guest of OSSTF Toronto. To RSVP, click the appropriate link below.
Unsure what riding you live in? Check out the Elections Ontario electoral districts map.
As we arrange for more of these events, information about how to register will be emailed to you.
Our #4hours4publicEd campaign is about you taking collective action with your OSSTF Toronto colleagues to protect publicly funded schools in Toronto.
We are asking each of you to give just four hours of your time.
There are 7000 teachers, OT’s and education support staff in OSSTF Toronto. Together we can give 28,000 hours of time to endorsed candidates across our City and help ward off a Ford government.
Soon you will receive an email with a link where you can sign up to work for one of our endorsed candidates. We urge you to commit four hours now to help protect this province against what could be massive cuts in the near future.
On behalf of each of our Executives, we urge each of you to take this election and what it bodes for our working lives, and the learning lives of our students very seriously, and get involved.
Olga De Melo, President PSSP
Linda Bartram, President OTBU
Leslie Wolfe, President TBU & OSSTF Toronto