Q&A with Ontario Liberal Party leadership candidate Michael Coteau
The Ontario Liberal Party were in power for 15 years before the Progressive Conservatives under Doug Ford finally defeated Kathleen Wynne’s government. The OLP was decimated, but new polls show them leading, even though they’re currently leaderless and were demoted to third-party status after the 2018 election.
The Post Millennial plans to interview all of the candidates because the winner has a very good chance of becoming the next premier of the province in short order.
The Ontario teachers’ strikes are proving to be more acrimonious than anyone expected. Elementary teachers have now opted out of writing report cards and have already begun to engage in rotating strikes.
The Ontario government, on the other hand, have offered up to $60 per day for parents who are feeling the fiscal consequences of the strike, and rumours of back to work legislation is being floated around the corridors of Queen’s Park.
The teachers’ strikes are deeply consequential and have affected the day-to-day lives of 13 million Ontarians who live in the most populace province in Canada. Due to the vast impact this strike, and the mainstream media’s lack of balance in the coverage (often siding with the unions and tecahers), The Post Millennial has compiled a list of things you need to know about the Ontario teachers’ strikes.
1. Ontario’s teachers are among the highest paid in the country
Ontario’s teachers are among the best paid in the country. In the Greater Toronto Area, for instance, top teachers can expect to get paid up to $96,000 a year. The average salary for a teachers in Ontario is $89,300 for elementary teachers and $92,900 for high school teachers. In contrast, the average Ontarian earns $55,000 per year.
2. Ontario teachers are taking more and more sick days
A 2017 study found that teachers have been taking more and more sick days over the past five years. On average, sick days have increased by over 30 percent. In 2020, another report revealed even starker results with teachers taking 70 percent more sick days than over a decade ago.
3. Teachers get a whole lot of time off
Ontario’s teacher’s have a pretty great job. Not only do they get paid a wage that is far higher than the average Ontarian, they also get a lot of time off. Due to breaks in the school year, teachers are allowed three whole months off, on top of the aforementioned sick days.
4. Teachers’ Unions are spending big bucks to win the PR war
So far, the OSSTF has spent $336,389 on Facebook ads alone. These ads usually attack the Ford government and have been running since June. In one week alone, they spent over $40,000. They’re also waging a war of words against Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce through the mainstream press.
5. The Ontario government has already made concessions, but unions won’t meet in the middle
Premier Doug Ford has offered numerous concessions to the teachers’ unions from the government’s initial demands. Ford, for example, offered to meet the teachers half-way on classroom size. This, however, was not good enough for the teachers, and they walked away from the negotiation table. They’re also refusing to do report cards and help out in after school activities, despite claiming the strikes are primarily for the students, not their pay cheques.
6. Ontario’s students are flunking math tests
If you’re going to teach mathematics to a new generation of students, you should probably have to prove that you have some basic ability to do so. This hardly unreasonable request, however, created some tension with the teachers’ unions. Despite EQAO tests showing all-time lows, the unions were upset that teachers had to score at least 70 percent in a math test.
7. Ontario’s debt is astronomically high
After a decade of Liberal government, Ontario’s debt stands at over $350,000,000,000. This figure constitutes one of the highest sub-national debts in the world. Due to this, the Ford government is trying to cut back public sector salaries, which means slowing down the rate at which teachers are paid. Teachers in Ontario also have what many experts consider to be a great pension package.
Striking elementary teachers in Ontario are refusing to produce reports cards due to the ongoing work-to-rule action.
In a statement produced by the Toronto District School Board, they reminded everyone that “ETFO members have been engaged in legal job action, which includes sanctions related to report cards.”
They went on to add that, “as per the sanctions, teachers will not complete term one report cards … [nor] undertake the role of report card administrator … [nor] file the progress report.”
As well as this, the Toronto District School Board informed it’s members that the teachers will also not conduct parent-teacher interviews, creating severe disruptions for parents.
These latest disruptions follow a long list of strike action that teachers have been engaging in throughout the province. Teachers, for instance, have been conducting “rotating strikes,” thereby forcing parents to look after their children who would otherwise be in school.
In response to the strikes in the province, Premier Doug Ford vowed to compensate parents who would have otherwise felt the financial strain. Ford offered parents up to $60 a day, depending on the age of the child and other factors.
Despite concessions from the Ontario government, the negotiations between the teacher’s unions and the government have remained acrimonious.
Interim Liberal Leader and Ottawa South MPP John Fraser believes Premier Doug Ford’s government is wasting taxpayer dollars by giving Ontario parents affected by the student strike up to $60 dollars a day to help with childcare costs.
In a press conference, Fraser told media that the allocated money would be better invested in education.
Yesterday, the Ford government announced that parents who meet requirement thresholds would receive up to $60 a day, with parents who have children in grades 1 to 7 eligible for $25 a day.
Tensions remain high between the Ford government and teachers’ unions, with all unions being in legal positions to strike.
Education Minister Stephen Lecce also announced Wednesday that the measures to ensure all parents were covered would cost up to $48 million a day if all unions were to strike at the same time, and if all eligible parents were to apply.
Former Conservative Party MPP for the riding of Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Amanda Simard has announced that she will be joining the Liberal Party in a press conference today.
The announcement made Wednesday with Interim Ontario Liberal Party Leader John Fraser was that Simard left the Progressive Conservatives and served as an independent for the Eastern Ontario riding.
She was known for her opposition to the Progressive Conservatives’ francophone policies, which included the proposed cut to Ontario’s French language services.
As well as this, the PC government also moved to cancel the funding for a new French-language university earlier in their government, which she was similarly outraged by.
“We wish Amanda Simard well as she sits as an independent,” said a Ford party spokesperson. “It’s unfortunate that she chose not to work within government in service to her constituents.”Simard was rumoured to have been flirting with the idea of joining the Liberals.