Niagara’s NDP MPPs all have words for Ford: ‘Bully… Dictator… Thug’

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Published November 4, 2022 at 2:04 pm

From left, Niagara Centre MPP Jeff Burch, Niagara Falls MPP Wayne Gates and St. Catharines MPP Jennie Stevens all accused the Ford government of bullying tactics.

Niagara Centre MPP Jeff Burch wasn’t the least bit surprised to see CUPE members talking to the press inside the corridors of Queen’s Park yesterday (November 3). After all, he personally took them there.

“The Ford government has decided to go ahead and impose a collective agreement on education workers in this province,” posted Burch. “On behalf of caucus, I escorted CUPE to speak to media in Queens Park.”

“Ford is acting like a dictator and a thug. I was kicked out of the legislature (November 2) for saying so. We cannot stand by while constitutionally protected collective bargaining rights are trampled on. This is a fight for every worker in this province. We all want kids in class. The government could have avoided this disruption by bargaining. Negotiate, don’t impose.”

In fact, all three Niagara MPPs waving the NDP flag were ejected from the legislature on November 2 because they wouldn’t back down from using terminology that was deemed too harsh.

Said St. Catharines MPP Jennie Stevens, “Getting ejected from the legislature (November 2) was a first for me, and I can’t think of a better reason than to stand up to this government’s bullying of the lowest paid workers in our classrooms.”

“I have seen pay stub after pay stub after pay stub from education workers,” Stevens continued. “We cannot expect to provide a world-class, high-quality education while paying our workers slightly above minimum wage.”

“Education workers are burnt out, underpaid, and being forced to work two or three jobs to survive. These are jobs dominated by women. We see the cost of these actions in healthcare, and we should be learning from those mistakes.”

She finally noted, “Bully tactics have no place in politics, so the premier needs to sit down and get a deal done, a fair deal. That’s what workers are entitled to in our country.”

Rounding out the NDP trio is Niagara Falls MPP Wayne Gates who said bluntly, “Bullying. It’s the only way to describe the way this Government has treated education workers. The Premier is trampling over fundamental Charter rights to pick on workers who make, on average, $39,000 a year.”

Gates added, “Let’s be clear: it didn’t have to come to this. (Education Minister Stephen) Lecce could have come to the table in good faith and bargained a fair agreement for these workers and our students. This is a disappointing outcome for parents, for students, and for our education system.”

“No one wants a strike or for kids to be out of school. But make no mistake: Mr. Lecce and this Conservative government have caused this crisis, by refusing to pay workers a fair wage or address the conditions in our schools.
We need to stand with education workers at this moment and that’s exactly what we’re going to do. For our kids, for families, and for the rights of every worker across the province and the country.”
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