Teachers protest at Liberal leadership debate
Published Tuesday, December 18, 2012 5:18PM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, December 18, 2012 11:06PM EST
Hundreds of Ontario teachers protested at Carleton University Tuesday night ahead of the Ontario Liberal leadership debate.
More than 150 protesters chanted “kill the bill,” referring to Bill 115 which is legislation that was passed by the province in September. It freezes wages, limits teachers’ ability to strike and bans them from banking sick days.
“Free collective bargaining is free collective bargaining,” said Dan Maxwell with the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation. “The imposition of a contract is not free collective bargaining.”
Inside the university, the seven candidates vying to become the next premier of Ontario squared off.
Sandra Pupatello, Charles Sousa, Harinder Takhar, Kathleen Wynne, Eric Hoskins, Gerard Kennedy and Glen Murray all addressed topics including how to engage young people and how to reform the party in the years to come.
“In this race we have a real opportunity not just to chart a new course but a renewed course in future for Ontario,” said Hoskins.
“This province faces two issues right now in my mind,” said Takhar. “One is elimination of deficit of $14 billion. The other is the creation of jobs.
“Schools and healthcare and equal opportunity. That’s why I’m standing here, that`s what I’m about,” said Wynne.
Other topics included poverty, immigration and the environment.
“We need to put forward a strategy that’s strong in support of our new Canadians and giving them more opportunities…because when they succeed, we all succeed,” said Sousa.
“I think we had the right things in closing coal plants we just didn`t get the planning right and we didn`t get the consent of communities properly and I’ll change that,” said Murray.
Pupatello is thought to be a frontrunner and has been endorsed by infrastructure minister and former Ottawa mayor Bob Chiarelli.
“We’re a minority government but we’re ready,” said Pupatello. “We’re ready to move back to the people and say we’re listening, we heard you and heard that we didn’t come forward with what we should have and that’s to our party so we’re going to do better next time and I want to lead that process for our party,”
Kennedy said “it’s a liberal challenge to transform government services, to motivate people the way we did when we built up education. We have a 38 per cent increase in test scores.”
Some things not addressed during the debate include the scandal of cancelling the two power plants in Ontario, the Orng Air Ambulance scandal or the labour strife with Ontario teachers.
With a report from CTV Ottawa’s Katie Griffin
Elementary school teachers in Peel strike Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012.