TORONTO — Premier Kathleen Wynne announced today that a re-elected Ontario Liberal government would swiftly recall the legislature to bring 3,000 York University contract faculty and graduate teaching and research assistants back to the classroom, ending a strike that has dragged on since March.
Weeks ago, the NDP blocked legislation that would have saved the semester for some students. In fact, as we heard during last night’s debate, the NDP would never use the government’s power to end a strike — even in the event of a labour disruption that shuts off the supply of electricity to Ontario’s homes and businesses. By rigidly sticking to ideology, the NDP would leave the Province with only two options in a strike: either leave Ontario permanently on strike, or give in, every time, to all demands and empty the public purse.
Ontario Liberals respect the collective bargaining process. But in cases like this — where students are unfairly bearing the brunt of a long, drawn-out strike — Kathleen Wynne would step in and send striking workers back to their jobs while a fair agreement is reached through interest arbitration.
In fact, William Kaplan, the arm’s-length Industrial Disputes Inquiry Commissioner — who considered the matter after briefs from the university and the union — reached this conclusion in his report on the 4th of May:
“Free collective bargaining has failed. There is no reason to believe that it will succeed in the future through the prolongation of the labour dispute, and every reason to conclude that it will not.”
Premier Kathleen Wynne and Minister of Energy Glenn Thibeault were at MaRS today to talk about the situation at York University — to highlight the importance of electing a government that adopts a practical, solutions-oriented approach to such matters.
As a former federal NDP MP, Minister Thibeault highlighted his reasons for leaving the party, citing examples like this where New Democrats would place impractical, ideological considerations ahead of the need to reach pragmatic solutions in the public interest.
The PCs under Doug Ford would choose the rich over the poor. The NDP under Andrea Horwath would put unions ahead of everyone else. Only the Ontario Liberals bring reasonable, balanced approach to governing and a plan for positive change that doesn’t sacrifice Ontario’s strong economy.
“Introducing legislation to end a strike isn’t something I do lightly — but it is clear in the case of York University that the two sides are not close to reaching a deal and students are suffering. The NDP need to stop putting their ideology ahead of students and their future — and stop blocking our efforts to end this strike. We’ve been through labour chaos before and it wasn’t pretty. Ontario cannot afford to go back to the days of endless picket lines, brownouts and classroom chaos.”
—Premier Kathleen Wynne
“It is most unlikely that this dispute will be resolved through negotiations. More than two dozen meetings between the parties achieved little of significance. Conciliation with the assistance of the most experienced and universally respected mediator from the Ministry did not resolve it. The final offer vote did not resolve it.”
—William Kaplan, Industrial Disputes Inquiry Commissioner, May 4 Report
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