Here a comment by Ken Lister, Political Strategist and former School Trustee for the Toronto District School Board.
TORONTO - Over 2 million students screamed Mannaggia late Sunday night. It all began the moment a last minute deal was announced to avoid a strike between the Government of Ontario and CUPE (and the Trustees Association). And it was not just students who were broken hearted.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau was also very disappointed. A strike would have given him a big hammer for the last two weeks of the election to hit Scheer’s Conservatives over the head with as he warns of the similarities between Andrew Scheer and Doug Ford.
Instead, Canadians will be forced to listen to Trudeau and Scheer continuing to argue over who is the biggest hypocrite: the man with two planes or the man with two passports?
There is no doubt NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh was crushed by news of the strike being averted. Singh had pushed CUPE to threaten a strike in order to give him a chance. He knew this was his last and best shot to avoid humiliation on October 21 when his NDP will likely lose many of their 43 seats.
But for parents, education workers, and federal Conservative candidates, there was a huge sigh of relief.
Closing the schools province wide would have caused chaos for parents scrambling to find child care or taking off work. And Conservative candidates would not have had a chance to speak about deficits or tax cuts. But now they can tell voters about Trudeau’s broken promise to balance the budget.
And somehow, Conservatives will also proudly point at the big deficits they ran for seven years in a row under Harper as proof they can balance the budget. CUPE is doing cartwheels and singing Hallelujah as they “thank the government for opening up the piggy bank.”
The deal is for just three years and expires in August 2022 which means just after the next provincial election we will be back here again. CUPE maintained their sick leave, secured $20 Million in funding to hire back the 1400 jobs previously cut by the province, got a very small pay increase, and negotiated a reinstatement of the Local Priorities Funding.
This funding allows school boards to pay custodians to work on weekends and thereby keep their schools open for local groups like soccer teams and The Boy Scouts. So what do I expect next?
The Ministry of Education announced last spring that class sizes will increase in high schools for the next few years from 22 to 28. I predict many more high school teachers will be laid oŸ next year and with those lay oŸs, I expect even more optional courses cancelled like computers, music, and skilled trades.
The deal for elementary and secondary teachers expired August 31, 2019. I’m confident we will hear more labour tension from these two unions shortly.
And when Ford figures this out as well, he’ll scream Mannaggia!