Windsor-Essex NDP MPPs bash Wynne's back to work legislation
Gretzky, Hatfield, Natyshak agree more funding needed for Ont. post secondary schools
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne made a "Hail Mary" attempt Thursday night to get college faculty back to work after a five week strike.
Wynne tabled back-to-work legislation that needed immediate, unanimous support because of the tight deadline, but it was blocked by the NDP.
Here's what local NDP MPPs had to say about the issue.
The Windsor-West MPP said the government could have pushed both sides of the labour dispute back to the table weeks ago when the strike first began. She added students have been suffering a financial and mental toll while the Liberals "sat on the sideline and did nothing."
Gretzky said the provincial government's move to table back to work legislation Thursday night didn't give the other parties a chance to review it while the Liberals wanted to "look like heroes."
"Putting through back to work legislation is not going to fix the systemic problems in the college system. Our colleges in Ontario are the lowest publicly funded in all of Canada," she said.
"I don't want faculty who don't have time to prepare for classes. I don't want faculty who don't have the time to dedicate to my son or other students when they need extra support. These are some of the big issues that are not going to be addressed through back to work legislation. The government has failed."
The Essex MPP also described the Premier's "last-moment" effort to impose back to work legislation as a failure.
"It proves she just doesn't have the wherewithal to negotiate fairly," he said. "What they're looking for and with the imposition of back to work legislation is essentially a legislative Hail Mary pass to provide them with the adequate political cover to try to duck from their responsibilities and not take responsibility for the chaos they have created."
Natyshak added that in his opinion Wynne waited too long to get involved in the labour dispute.
"She should have been at the table five weeks ago — not just yesterday for one hour and then throw her hands up in the air and bring down the gauntlet with back to work legislation."
The MPP for Windsor-Tecumseh said the length of the strike comes as a surprise.
It's almost like they wanted to intentionally create a crisis and then look good at handling it," he said.
Hatfield said the Liberals have a majority so the legislation will most likely pass, but the NDP's decision to block it was based on the fact someone needs to stand up for worker's rights. He added a lack of support for colleges is a problem that stretches back decades.
"We're one of the biggest provinces, we're one of the richest provinces. They say they've balanced the budget yet they've underfunded post-secondary education," said Hatfield. "That is what led to this situation. It just seems like they're not recognizing they're at fault, they're putting the blame on everyone else but themselves."
Listen to Robert Fisher, Queen's Park analyst & former CBC journalist, as he shares his take on the college teachers strike.