St. Catharines, Niagara Falls and Niagara Centre MPPs ejected from Queen’s Park over education workers’ legislation
Published November 2, 2022 at 12:06 pm
St. Catharines MPP Jennie Stevens was one of many NDP MPPs escorted out of Queen’s Park today (November 2) during question period amid debate over legislation that prevents education workers from striking.
Joining her was Niagara Falls MPP Wayne Gates and Niagara Centre MPP Jeff Burch.
“My colleagues and I were ejected from the legislature today. When the govt attacks the Charter, quality education and its workers that are paid the least. I stand with you, and won’t stop fighting,” said Stevens on her social media.
Roughly 10 to 15 NDP members were left in the chamber to debate the contentious legislation mandating education workers into a four-year contract while preventing them from job action. The 82-page bill impacts more than 55,000 workers, including custodians, early childhood educators, education assistants and administrative staff.
Those same 55,000 CUPE members are scheduled to walk off the job on Friday (November 4) in protest.
The ejections began when interim NDP Leader Peter Tabuns accused the government of lying to the public. He refused to rescind the remarks, and was told to leave.
Other NDP and Liberal MPPs started to shout and bang on tables in protest.
Eventually, they were individually kicked out of the legislature this morning. The rules state, once ejected, MPPs are prohibited from returning for the rest of the day.
In a recent post, Gates was blunt in his assessment of the potential legislation.
“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.”
He continued, “These are the workers who are there for our kids everyday. The workers who take care of our schools and keep them running. The workers who make sure kids living with disabilities have the supports they need.”
Gates emphasized his constituents were behind him. “I’ve been speaking to some of these workers in my community. They’re losing staff due to low pay and poor working conditions. Some of them need one or two extra jobs to make ends meet. Some are relying on food banks to survive.”
“Think about that: the people we trust to take care of our kids aren’t making enough money to put food on the table. And this government refuses to give them a fair deal.”
He had a final suggestion of the legislation’s worth. “Mr. Ford: throw your anti-worker legislation in the trash where it belongs. Get back to the bargaining table, respect workers’ rights, and get these workers a fair deal.”
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