Over 15,000 ETFO members and supporters from across the province converged on Queen’s Park on Tuesday, August 28th to tell Ontario’s politicians that betraying education professionals, tearing up collective agreements and curtailing the rights of citizens is an unacceptable way to govern.
Thousands of participants from ETFO, OSSTF and CUPE – joined by members of the public and other unions – attended the Queen’s Park Rally for Education. Rally attendees publicly rejected the McGuinty government’s self-serving attempts to create an artificial crisis in education in order to win by-elections in Kitchener-Waterloo and Vaughan. The Liberals’ by-election campaign strategy includes the introduction of anti-collective bargaining legislation with language that puts the government’s actions above the courts and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
ETFO President Sam Hammond was the opening speaker at the Queen’s Park Rally for Education. He expressed disappointment that the Liberal government has repeatedly refused to bargain in good faith during this round of negotiations and, instead, is trying impose punitive legislation that attempts to exempt the government from judicial review. President Hammond received sustained and enthusiastic applause when he emphasized that the legislation, if passed, would be challenged by ETFO because “no government in Canada is above the law or the Charter of Rights.”
Other speakers at the Queen’s Park Rally for Education included Fred Hahn (President, CUPE Ontario), Ken Coran (President, OSSTF), Peter Tabuns (NDP MPP, Toronto-Danforth), Olivia Chow (NDP MP, Trinity-Spadina) , Sid Ryan (President, Ontario Federation of Labour), Hassan Yussuff (Secretary-Treasurer, Canadian Labour Congress), and ETFO members Kathreen Hansen and Susan Goode (WE ARE the Front Lines in Education).