NDP MPPs, including Sudbury's Jamie West, kicked out of the legislature
55,000 education workers plan to walk out of the job on Friday
Several opposition MPPs, including labour critic and Sudbury MPP Jamie West, were kicked out of the Ontario legislature Wednesday due to their reactions to the government's plans to prevent education workers from striking by using the notwithstanding clause.
"You are stealing their constitutional rights," West yelled in the legislature, referring to 55,000 education workers with the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), which include custodians, early childhood educators and educational assistants.
Before West was kicked out of the legislature, Speaker Ted Arnott asked NDP interim leader and Toronto-Danforth MPP Peter Tabuns to leave the chamber.
"Speaker, when will the premier and his ministers stop lying about the damage they're doing to the education system?" Tabuns asked.
Arnott asked him to withdraw his "unparliamentary comment", but he refused. He then asked Tabuns to leave the chamber for the day.
Toronto St. Paul MPP Jill Andrew, along with several other NDP members, were also asked to leave the chamber due to their disruptive behaviour during Wednesday's debate.
NEW: Interim NDP leader Peter Tabuns gets kicked out of Question Period, asking when the Premier would stop lying, then refusing to withdraw the comment <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/onpoli?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#onpoli</a> <a href="https://t.co/p1AqjxMNYw">pic.twitter.com/p1AqjxMNYw</a>—@CBCLorenda
CUPE members say they are underpaid for the work they do, and many struggle to keep up with rising inflation.
The province originally offered raises of two per cent a year for workers making less than $40,000 and 1.25 per cent for all others, but Education Minister Stephen Lecce said the new, imposed four-year deal would give 2.5 per cent annual raises to workers making less than $43,000 and 1.5 per cent raises for all others.
The union has said that isn't enough to keep up with inflation, and it hopes to hear back from the government on a counter-offer related to their contracts.
For now, they have said they plan to walk out on the job on Friday, despite proposed legislation that would make it illegal.
If the legislation passes, striking workers could be fined up to $4,000 a day.
David Tabachnick, a political science professor at Nipissing University, said the removal of so many MPs from the chamber was "remarkable" but not unprecedented.
"It may be a little difficult for the listeners, you have to believe, but you're actually supposed to act with a certain level of decorum in Parliament, and you cannot make accusations such as calling somebody a liar," he told CBC's Up North.
Tabachnick said public opinion is likely to go in the union's favour, but it might not matter by the next provincial election.
"We're not going to have another election, in all likelihood, until 2026. So will people remember?" he said.
"This disruption and this difficulty, or the fact that Doug Ford promised to take care of workers and seemingly now he's doing the opposite, but four years is a very long time in politics."