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Sandals has long way to go to win back teachers’ support

MPP Liz Sandals indicated she will likely run again in the next election and try to win the Guelph seat for a fourth time (Tribune, Nov. 15).
In her quest for re-election, Sandals will have a challenge garnering support from many of her traditional supporters – teachers and other education workers.
The Liberals campaigned on promises of collaboration and partnership. They said they honoured open discussion, collective bargaining and democracy.
Yet, suddenly, they betrayed these commitments. With Conservative support, they passed an unprecedented, oppressive law. Bill 115, the Putting Students First Act, abuses power. It tears apart established collective agreements, imposes provisions and eliminates employee voice. Liberal party fundamentals – good will, peace and stability – have been forsaken.
Teachers worked with sincere hope during three previous elections to establish an education-friendly government. Countless hours were volunteered to help get Sandals elected.
However, she recently had a change of heart. She indicated that there was no point in “parading” teachers through her office to express their discontent with Bill 115. Sandals needs to recognize how her support for Bill 115 attacked collective bargaining rights and basic democratic principles.
She needs to understand that solutions are found through dialogue, not increased alienation. Her successful re-election will depend on an ability to repair damaged relationships and re-establish a Liberal party respect for good governance. Passing an undemocratic law, proroguing the legislature and discounting discussion are a lot to recover from.
Doug Cook
President, Upper Grand ETFO

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