Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario and others are implicated in potentially breaking Ontario Election Finances Act
The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) is being accused of potentially breaking “third party” political advertising spending limits by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.
According to 2018 Ontario election finance laws “third parties” were limited to spending a combined total of $712,600 on advertising before and during the campaign period.
Third parties are registered actors who are not political parties themselves.
According to financial disclosures submitted by both parties, the ETFO broke finance laws by overspending a total of $17,250 on advertising when considering its donations to Fight for $15 and Fairness, another registered third party who advocates for the minimum wage.
The advertisements were intended to target the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party.
The Ontario Election Finances Act prohibits collusion between multiple third parties to circumvent finance limits.
“No third party shall circumvent, or attempt to circumvent, a limit set out in this section in any manner…or acting in collusion with another third party so that their combined political advertising expenses exceed the applicable,” states a section of the bill.
ETFO President Sam Hammond claims that the federation has not broken the law and has followed all the rules that pertain to political advertising.
“The [Election Finances] Act permits contributions by a trade union to a third party for political advertising. The Act also permits trade unions to conduct their own political advertising,” he told the CBC after the allegations came to light.
Christine Van Geyn, the Ontario Director for The Canadian Taxpayers Federation, claims that Hammond’s explanation doesn’t add up.
“This is a preposterous interpretation of the law. By ETFO’s logic it can donate millions to other third parties with impunity. This isn’t the case. ETFO is free to donate to third parties but then it cannot be a third party itself and run their own ads,” Van Geyn told The Post Millennial.
“Donations between third parties is a clear violation of the collusion provisions. It also isn’t even consistent with the explanation by 15 and Fairness, who said the donation wasn’t for advertising.”
According to a Twitter thread by lawyer Ryan O’Connor, $15
and Fairness was engaged in political advertising exceeding the $500 limit through
lawn signs and banners before being registered as a third party.
Neither $15 & Fairness nor the Workers’ Action Centre are registered as third parties with @ElectionsON, despite clearly spending $500.00 or more on third party political advertising. This would violate s. 37.5 of the Election Finances Act. #onpoli #onelxn pic.twitter.com/94lvIHtwOj— Ryan O’Connor (@rpoconnor) May 29, 2018
Section 37.5 of the Elections Finances Act clearly states that, “a third party shall apply for registration under this section immediately after having incurred expenses of a total amount of $500 for third party political advertising.”
According to Elections Ontario $15 and Fairness wasn’t registered as an official third party until June 7, 2018. However, its financial disclosures show that the group was accumulating costs greater than $500 as early as October 2017.
The group also solicited donations from other third parties for the purposes of advertising before registering themselves, which is also a violation of the act. These donations came from the Ontario Federation for Labour and CUPE Ontario.
Fight for $15 and Fairness coordinator Pam Frache told Elections Ontario that the inclusion of the ETFO donation in its spending report was an error and the money was intended for community organizing and not political advertising.
“If 15 and Fairness is blurring the lines between what is community organizing and what is advertising, why would we accept their explanation that the ETFO money was for “community organizing”? It appears as though this organization doesn’t know the difference, or that it is conveniently confused,” said Christine Van Geyn.
Several groups and individuals including The Canadian Taxpayers Federation oppose the political advertising spending limits.
Currently the legislation is being challenged in court by The Working Families union coalition who claim that the law is unconstitutional.
“It is our position that the current third party advertising rules in Ontario are a Charter violation, and should be struck down in the courts,” said Van Geyn.
“It’s frustrating for our organization to see the kind of conduct ETFO and 15 and Fairness engaged in, when we would have loved to continue our advocacy work but were silenced. In our view, the law should be struck down. But third parties who object to the law can’t have their cake and eat it too.”
According to Van Geyn, because of its opposition to the law, The Canadian Taxpayers Federation doesn’t intend to file any formal complaints against any organization that might have violated it.
Four Ontario men have been arrested for vandalizing a memorial plaque that commemorates the École Politechnique massacre according to CityNews.
The vandalism comes a week after the 30th anniversary of the massacre that claimed the lives of 14 women.
Arrested are Ahmed Sido, 20, Muhammed Nanaa, 19, Abduallah Al-Mosuli, 21, and Adnan Noumayri, 18.
The plaque was vandalized on December 3rd according to police. The plaque is located in the lobby of Scarborough’s Centre for Alternative Studies. The Centre is on Midland Avenue near Danforth Road. The plaque was vandalized with misogynistic slurs and damaged.
The following day police managed to arrest three of the four perpetrators, the fourth being arrested a day later on Dec. 5.
They have all been charged with mischief under $5000. All four are scheduled to appear in court on Jan. 14, 2020.
The vandalism comes a week after the 30th anniversary of the massacre that claimed the lives of 14 women.
The Environment Minister is closing a $200 million project by Nation Rise Wind Farm near Finch, Ontario. The Stormont County town windmill project was nearly complete with many of the planned 29 turbines already constructed. That came to an abrupt halt on Monday when Minister Jeff Yurek revoked the approval, citing a threat to the local bat population.
Several of the turbines were ready to begin generating power and the project had been previously approved by the Environmental Review Tribunal. Nation Rise Wind Farm is a subsidiary of the multinational EDP Renewables, their North American headquarters is in Texas.
“This was not an easy decision to make,” Yurek said in a press release. “While I agree with most of the conclusions of the tribunal, I disagree with the tribunal’s conclusions with respect to the degree of harm that will be caused to local bat species by the project.
“I am therefore altering the tribunal’s decision based on my conclusion that the project will cause serious and irreversible harm to bats, and I revoke the approval.”
The Environmental Tribunal held weeks-long hearings to look at objections to the project that covered a range of issues. It’s been a rather divisive issue in the community and the township has twice voted against being a “willing host” for the project.
There are a variety of reasons people complain about wind turbines in their community. The eye sore, the claim that vibrations caused by them bring on migraines, the price of real estate drops instantly and as well the effects on the local wildlife.
Yurek decision came seven months into the projects construction, telling EDP Renewables that he had the authority to “confirm, alter or revoke” the Environmental Review Tribunal’s approval, “as I consider in the public interest.” His reasoning was also based on the potential harm to the wildlife “in the context of the minimal contribution the project is likely to have on the electricity supply in Ontario.”
The tribunal had ruled such risks to the various bat populations were negligible.
“I am therefore altering the tribunal’s decision based on my conclusion that the project will cause serious and irreversible harm to bats, and I revoke the approval.” said Yurek.
The colonies of bats include big brown bats, hoary bats and little brown bats, which are on the Species at Risk Ontario List. The fear is that the bats will fly into the turbine blades. Yurek admits that one while one can’t know the full extent of the harm, it’s better to err on the side of caution.
“This power project has been very divisive for our community; now North Stormont can again be a good place to grow,” said Maragret Benke in a statement. a founding member of the grassroots organization Concerned Citizens of North Stormont. The group appealed the approval and reached out to the Minister for help.
In a statement provided to the Standard-Freeholder, EDP wrote. “This unprecedented decision means the (approval) that was issued by the minister’s own staff, defended by ministry legal counsel and subsequently ratified by the Environmental Review Tribunal is no longer in effect,” reads a statement from the company. “Decisions of this nature should be based on science and law, yet there was no expert testimony or evidence presented at the tribunal or to the minister that would provide a reasonable rationale for the minister’s decision.”
The issue of what risk the wind farm poses to bat populations was discussed at length during tribunal hearings held in Finch, in August of 2018.
“This power project has been very divisive for our community; now North Stormont can again be a good place to grow,” said Maragret Benke, a founding member of the grassroots organization Concerned Citizens of North Stormont. The group appealed the approval and reached out to the Minister for help.
A man was caught on camera stealing a package from a home in Ingersoll, Ont., on Monday. The thief could be seen on the home’s surveillance camera.
The Ontario Provincial Police are telling homeowners to keep an eye out for other “porch pirates” after the incident.
The Oxford OPP have said that the home is located on Cross Street in Ingersoll. They posted the video on their twitter account on Tuesday.
The thief was last seen driving a white Chevrolet Cruze.
The suspect is described as a thin, brown-haired male in his 20s who is clean shaven and stands at about six feet tall. The man was also wearing white shoes with a dark Reebok hoodie and dark pants.
The OPP had no further information on the incident when The Post Millennial was in touch with them Wednesday.
One in four Canadians have fallen victim to “porch pirates” according to a survey recently taken by FedEx.
Police have recommended that anyone expecting a package be at home during the delivery if possible or alternatively have a friend or neighbor help with receiving it.
Another option is to request a signature or special delivery instructions if the company delivering your package has those options available. Police are asking anybody with any information on the Ingersoll incident to get in contact with them or with Crime Stoppers.
If Ontario’s government accepts all proposals tabled by High School teachers’ union, the province would have to spend more than $7 billion by 2021-2022, according to the Ford government.
“The reason why we publicize this, we believe, is it’s in taxpayers’ interests to know,” Education Minister Stephen Lecce said.
In response, Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation(OSSTF) president Harvey Bischof has said the Ford government is inflating numbers by applying his members’ demands to the entire sector.
Currently, the Ford government has said its $7 billion projection is based on union demands such as cost-of-living adjustments to salaries and benefits, maintaining previous class sizes, as well as other costs.
The government has said it had to apply costs to the entire sector as benefits given to one education union would more than likely be given to others. For example, CUPE which has already signed a deal has a “me-too” clause around salaries, which allows the union to ask for increases if others in the industry get them.
While unions continue to ask for data to be presented on a case by case basis, the Ford government appears to dead-on putting forward industry level costs, with both hoping to increase the importance of their argument.
With negotiations ongoing, we’ll have to wait and see how the public alongside those involved react to the ongoing negotiations over teachers’ contracts, including both high school and elementary teachers.
Elementary teachers in Ontario’s English public schools have notably ramped up their own job action on Tuesday, by moving into a new phase of work-to-rule, were teachers would not plan field trips or distribute letters and memos.