TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 5, 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 tonight's deposition on the McGuinty government's controversial anti-worker bill, the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) will warn that trampling workers' rights will cost the Premier a majority.
"Premier McGuinty made a cynical and crass gamble when he chose to sacrifice his base in a desperate effort to secure a majority," said OFL President Sid Ryan. "Kitchener-Waterloo voters resent being used as political pawns and McGuinty's arrogance will prove a fatal mistake for his by-election bid. He is going to have egg on his face and a lot of explaining to do on election night."
In 2011, the self-styled "Education Premier" 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 by-elections on September 6 by driving a wedge between parents and educational workers.
What: OFL Deputation before the Standing Committee on Social Policy
Where: Queen's Park Committee Room 151, Toronto, Ontario
When: 5:45 pm, Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Who: OFL President Sid Ryan
"McGuinty has attempted to manufacture a crisis in public education so that he could present himself as the saviour of the school year, but voters haven't bought the rhetoric," said Ryan. "The truth is that September classes were never threatened by disruption and McGuinty's campaign has been built on lies and contradictions. Voters understand that the entire school is a classroom and you can't devalue teachers and school support staff without undermining our children's education."
The OFL is calling 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 is also calling out the Premier for violating the spirit of the United Nations Conventions of the International Labour Organization.
"McGuinty gambled that he could win an election through the politics of division, but he failed to appreciate that educational workers are the heart and soul of our schools and they are a big part of any community," said Ryan. "Time and again, voters have said they don't want another Tory majority … not under Hudak and certainly not under McGuinty."
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.