QUEEN’S PARK – Legislation to end the college strike, has passed at Queen’s Park today. The Liberal motion was supported by the Progressive Conservatives and opposed by the New Democrats.
For Confederation College students, classes will resume on Tuesday.
“Students were in the middle of the strike for too long. We needed to put students first, and get them back to their studies. This legislation ensures students can get back to the classroom and refocus on their education,” says Deb Matthews, Deputy Premier, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development and Minister Responsible for Digital Government.
Patrick Brown, the PC leader says, “The Ontario PCs are relieved to know that college students will be heading back to the classroom early next week. Since day one, the Ontario PCs have been the ones standing up for students. At the very beginning of the dispute, we called for the Wynne Liberals to step in and bring both sides to the table. The Liberals waited until the very last minute, and only once it became a massive political problem, to get involved.”
“The reality is this strike reached record lengths because of a lack of leadership shown by Kathleen Wynne and her government,” comments Brown. “It’s unfortunate that it came to back-to-work legislation. And, the length of this strike will have ripple effects for months to come. It’s time to put this ugly chapter behind us, and to get focused on ensuring college students get back in the classroom as soon as possible.”
The Liberal motion will not be supported by the New Democrats. Leader Andrea Horwath says, “The NDP is pleased colleges will start opening Monday, but say that Kathleen Wynne’s choice – to allow the strike to drag on for five weeks while doing nothing at all, then forcing faculty back to work without a deal – was the worst possible way she could have handled the strike.”
“Kathleen Wynne underfunded colleges for years, then sat on her hands for five weeks and did nothing while the strike dragged on,” said NDP Leader Andrea Horwath. “The law gives her the authority to step in and be active at that bargaining table, and she refused, letting down students and letting down faculty members,” adds Horwath.
“For Kathleen Wynne, this was never about students or faculty. This was about politics. It looks like she was just waiting – letting students wait – for the moment when she could legislate faculty back to work.”
The New Democrats assert, “A bill to legislate faculty back to work, apparently drawn up by the government after Wynne spent less than an hour with both sides late last week, will reach third reading today. The NDP will not support it, but it’s expected to pass with the Liberal majority.”
“There’s no plan in place to compensate students, and no plan to fix the mess she created in colleges,” continued Horwath. “College students have really been let down by Wynne, time and time again.”
In a statement issued by the New Democrats, the party says, “Ontario’s colleges have the lowest per-student funding in the entire country, thanks to Kathleen Wynne’s underfunding. The majority of instructors are part-time, contract workers who are underpaid compared those few teachers and professors who have a permanent job. Faculty often works two or three jobs to make ends meet, and students lose out on the help, support and mentorship their education should come with.”