Doug Ford Once Again Caves To The Teacher Unions He Has Enabled For Years

Written By Wyatt Claypool, Posted on November 8, 2022

It was predictable that in the battle in the public square between Ontario Premier Doug Ford and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) strikers that the taxpayers were going to lose. Ford had spent far too much time enabling and promoting the unions to get tough now, and neither Ford nor the unions have a clue what “fiscal responsibility” means.

In caving to CUPE and its Ontario School Board Council of Unions (OSBCU) Doug Ford and Ontario Education Minister Steven Lecce have promised to repeal Bill 28 which would have kept in place the previous contract with the teacher unions, and ordered all employees back to work. Bill 28 also invoked the NotWithStanding clause of Canada’s constitution in order to avoid legal challenges to the back-to-work legislation. 

What outsiders to the contract negotiations that fell through between the Ontario government, school boards, and unions may not understand is that what sparked the mass walk-outs and public protest from CUPE and its allies is how absurd the wage increases demanded were. 

CUPE was seeking 11.7 percent salary increases per year for its union members working in education in Ontario, and the Ford government in Bill 28 had provided 4 years of  2.5 percent raises for those making less than $43,000 per year and 1.5 percent for those making more than $43,000.

Anyone working in the private sector as an individual should have far less sympathy for the CUPE strikers, knowing that at a time when few are receiving increases in income, public sector unions are demanding massive wage increases be paid by other taxpayers. 

It is fundamentally unfair for public sector workers to be able to strike when they are striking against taxpayers who have already paid for the services needing to be rendered.

Taxpayers do not receive a refund if the ingrates over at CUPE decided to strike for more money. It is even more ridiculous that this went on at a time when education quality across Ontario is falling, due to poor standards, and increasingly left-wing political messaging being taught in the classroom. 

It was also mindboggling that this fight for incredibly steep wage increases started a conversation about “Charter Rights” after Doug Ford invoked the NotWithStanding clause. Everyone who was all up in arms about Bill 28 were perfectly ok with laying off unvaccinated teacher and Justin Trudeau using the Emergencies Act to violently crack down on Freedom Convoy protesters in Ottawa.

Of course, despite all of CUPE’s ideological inconsistencies when it came to the Charter, and laughable negotiating position, the blame can be mostly laid at the feet of Doug Ford for this whole situation.

After Ford caved to the teacher unions and radical left-wing pressure groups after trying to dismantle Ontario’s frankly perverted sexual education curriculum and then allowing the unions to provide sub-standard education on Zoom during COVID, of course, the unions knew they could demand and do whatever they wanted.

Ford is a weakling and the CUPE leaders knew it.

After Ford backed down the National President of CUPE, Mark Hancock, stated, in reference to the union members, that:

They took on the Ford government, and the government blinked. We’ve shown that when under attack, our movement is strong and we will stand up for each other…The workers, united, will shut this province down whenever we need to.

The latter part of the quote from Hancock sort of gives away the game that the unions know they are effectively holding Ontario taxpayers hostage. CUPE’s trade-unionist ideology would inform them that as long as they are growing union power, they are in the right.

Doug Ford in the face of this authoritarian language from the CUPE leadership said that the unions should trust his government to repeal Bill 28 on November 14 (when the next sitting of the legislature begins) because they have “never had a better partner” than his government.

It’s funny how Doug Ford is now bending over backward to reassert that he will be a lackey for the unions when taxpayers are the ones who are going to have to pick up the bill for whatever lopsided deal the Ontario government cuts with the unions going into new negotiations. 

Wyatt Claypool

Wyatt is a student at Mount Royal University, where he is the president of its Campus Conservative club. In his writing, he focuses on covering provincial and federal politics, firearms regulation, and the energy sector. Wyatt has also previously written for The Post Millennial.

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