Politics
Ontario teachers' union slams anti-teacher Liberals: Memo

Education Minister Laurel Broten speaks at Queen's Park.

Credits: Dave Thomas/Toronto Sun/QMI Agency

ANTONELLA ARTUSO | QMI AGENCY

TORONTO - An internal memo by the union representing public high school teachers takes credit for delivering the Ontario Liberals a political smackdown, according to Tory MPP Lisa MacLeod.

The Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF) memo even takes partial credit for former premier Dalton McGuinty's resignation and forcing a Liberal leadership convention, added MacLeod, who made a copy public on Monday.

"Together our actions stole the ability of the Liberals to form a majority government through out united actions and hard work in the Kitchener-Waterloo byelection on Sept. 6, 2012" and "kept (former education minister) Laurel Broten from seeking the leadership of her party by focusing on her role in the Liberals' anti-teacher/anti-education worker agenda. This also highlighted the unacceptable shift in the party's direction," the memo says.

An OSSTF spokesman said she couldn't confirm if the document was a confidential memo sent out to members.

The OSSTF agreed Friday to end a ban on extracurricular activities that it adopted in response to Bill 115, legislation introduced by Broten and used to impose teacher contracts with frozen wages and the end of sick-day banking.

MacLeod said she continues to wonder what incentive was offered by Premier Kathleen Wynne to get the union to lift its extracurricular ban.

"If you look at some of these memos that have been circulating, the confidential memos, we know there has to have been some sort of arrangement, some sort of concession made to the unions," MacLeod said. "What is the quid pro quo?"

Education Minister Liz Sandals said the provincial government will not reopen the existing contract, but has agreed going forward to develop a better process for collective bargaining.

"There is no backroom deal; there is a commitment to fixing the process," Sandals said.

Meanwhile, Sandals confirmed that there is convincing anecdotal evidence that Grade 8 students and their parents have been increasingly opting for the Catholic school system, although hard data isn't available yet.

"What's happening right now is that Grade 8 students are making their choices as to which system they will go to - public or Catholic - in Grade 9," Sandals said Monday.

"Clearly, parents have always had at secondary a right to choose which system the student goes to, so parents are obviously looking at which school is providing a full range of programs, and obviously that includes extracurriculars."

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