NDP says no — again — to York legislation

A last-ditch effort to speed up legislation aimed at ending a long strike at Toronto’s York University was stymied this afternoon, leaving frustrated students in limbo for at least another few days.

The Liberal government and Opposition Progressive Conservatives wanted to sit until midnight if necessary to get through the debate and pass the back-to-work bill, but the New Democrats refused.

The NDP’s opposition to the legislation means the bill won’t likely be passed until Thursday, and students will likely have to wait until next week to return to the classroom.

NDP Leader Howard Hampton, who has steadfastly resisted the bill from the beginning, denied he was playing procedural games that would ultimate hurt students.

“I’m sure the McGuinty government wants somebody to blame, but the reality is, there are very serious issues here,” Hampton said.

Ontarians need to know that the Liberals are not providing enough funding to the province’s universities and that York University didn’t bargain in good faith with its employees, he said.

The Liberals and Progressive Conservatives had hoped to pass the bill yesterday when Premier Dalton McGuinty recalled the legislature, but the New Democrats voted against the bill.

Hampton vowed to take all the time allowed under the rules to debate the bill and wouldn’t say whether he planned to stall it further by demanding amendments.

York students could have been back in the classroom as soon as tomorrow if the government had told the university to go back to the bargaining table, he said.

“We won’t be debating tonight,” Hampton said.

“If the government wanted to stay until midnight, they should have thought of that last week.”

Debate got off to a heated start in the legislature, with finger-pointing on all sides over who was to blame for the 12-week strike.

The opposition parties accused the Liberals of sitting on their hands for weeks as the strike dragged on, while the Liberals deflected blame to the NDP for delaying the bill’s speedy passage.

With Premier Dalton McGuinty absent from the legislature, it was up to self-described attack dog George Smitherman, who is deputy premier, to lead the government’s counterattack.

Smitherman accused Hampton of needlessly prolonging the suffering of students, pointing out the NDP supported back-to-work legislation last spring that ended a surprise Toronto transit strike.

“Why are you standing in the way of the opportunity for 50,000 students and their families deeply impacted to get back into the classroom?” Smitherman demanded.

Progressive Conservative Jim Wilson erupted in a rant aimed at Colleges and Universities Minister John Milloy, accusing him of doing little to prevent similar labour disputes at other universities.

“Do something so that we don’t have a massive provincewide strike,” Wilson shouted.

“Either that, or resign, because you’re completely friggin’ incompetent.”

The strike has kept up to 50,000 York students out of classes since early November.




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28 responses to “NDP says no — again — to York legislation

  1. someone

    this is to stop some jackass from saying “first”

  2. Wiz

    @ someone
    LMAO…great job….
    anywayss….so NO meanss not goin bak on wednesday…plz correct me if i’m wrong….

  3. ...

    @ someone

    damn…u beat me to it….still…SECOND!

  4. ...

    wait…no im fifth!

  5. yorkishopeless

    lame york university…i’m transferring to another uni or college…facking wasted my life and time!!!

  6. TRUTH

    Comrades, I have come here to renew our committment to this fight and our everlasting journey for freedom, justice, euqlity and fairness. This imperialist meida along with their ultra right friends are trying to silence this massive movement which looks for nothing for fairness and basic rights. The capitalist monster of York and their tools in the this shameful government have no desrie to help human beings; all they care about is to help their buttom line and make more money by making others suffer. They plan to make us work under this ruthless conditions so they can ignore the education problem and take advantage of our hard works. That my comrades, it their shameful and hideous agenda and they are determined to put at end to to our massive movement. I tell them, wake up and see the truth. NDP (although very imperliast themselves) have raised some good points

    CUPE will not stop this fight. We will not give up. We will exercise all the options we have to continue this movement and get what we truly desrve. York, along with their capitalist friends cannot break through our strong lines of solidarity and make us slaves. That shall not happen and will not happen. CUPE will not give up this fight. Watch this video as it is a good indicator of our determination to continue striking:


    Demand the Impossible

    Viva laRevolution
    Go CUPE Go

  7. Opp

    Are they saying one week from Jan 26th?

    somebody respond

  8. Meytal

    Yea. Referring to the week of Feb 2 – next Monday.

  9. Nice Kid

    Sooo…My question is : why isnt the UNIVERSITY, or any other sources, says its for sure that CUPE cant keep us out after Feb. 2nd??? why isnt anyone says it for sure that the strike WILL end by Feb. 2nd the latest !? Is NDP able to drag / cancel this BTWL???
    PLEASE answer me if u know anything !

  10. Stef

    I hate “political-speak”. When CUPE says it will fight BTWL with everything – what does that mean? I don’t know if it’s an empty threat. Why wasn’t Dalton McGuinty in Parliament during the session? (Are we not important enough?) If the government fails to obtain a majority vote due to the NDP, will BTWL ever pass? I feel like all the answers are out there somewhere, but I can’t decipher a damn thing (and I’m a friggin’ English major.)

    The longer this strike goes on, the more it seems that York has been holding out on bargaining with CUPE – waiting for the 11th hour where they can have the liberals and conservatives ride in on white horses and do their dirty work for them. And I feel like CUPE has been demanding things that aren’t necessarily realistic – aren’t tenured jobs so respected because they ARE hard to come by?

    How do you choose a side when both seem to be villains?

  11. Theowne

    Did anyone catch Peter Shurman during the debate?

    I want to get back to class but….that guy is such a phony.

  12. Commuter

    John Milloy got pwned by Jim Wilson haha

  13. Anon

    Just so you know
    York’s latest offer was of additional tenure positions, i believe it was up to 22, in the next 2 years

    But still…
    Both sides here are at fault.

    BTWL with FORCED mediated negotiations, and possible fines if one side is considered as “not actively negotiating” by the mediator(s), who will submit reports.
    Then York and CUPE to split the bill on student tuition refund based what the students missed, adjusting for what York will actually offer.

    To avoid future similar situations.
    Mandatory negotiations from day 1 of the strike.
    With a mediator and similar situation as above.

    These people need to be dealt with harshly to get results.

    We know Administrations will look out for themselves as businesses.
    And CUPE cannot be trusted.

  14. Disappointed

    lol. I’m not a Poli-sci major, but the reason why it didn’t pass on sunday was because the liberals wanted it to turn into law immediately. for that you need unanimous votes. Because the NDP rejected it (predictably), it has to be debated. However, they cannot stall it forever; a maximum of 2 weeks I believe. Since Liberals have a majority government, it can and will be passed – in good time.

    Hope that helps and if I am mistaken anyone let me know.

  15. Stef

    Thanks, Disappointed,
    (PS – when I said majority vote I meant unanimous vote)
    The worst part about this whole thing is I don’t know how I feel about this whole BTWL. Should I be selfish and demand to go back to class or should I be pro-labour rights and want bargaining to take it’s course?
    It’s hard being a university student and looking at both sides of everything, n’est-ce pas?

  16. Disappointed

    tu parles francais?
    Neither do I. It can be bittersweet no? I think it’s neccessary, especially considering how CUPE might have tried to destroy the year. I mean, forget me, there are int’l students, graduating students. Students that are in worse financial situation than me. They need it.
    At the same time, it sets a horrible precedent – msg to unis: Wait it out and there’ll be BTWL. But then again, there may be more to it than that. The mediator found they were at a deadlock. And the price York pays? Applications down, reputation *further* bruised.
    But yeah, it sucks being caught in the middle of all this.

  17. Disappointed

    when i said neither do i , i meant I don’t know how to feel about BTWL

  18. Stef

    lol Disappointed.
    Mais bien sur, je parle francais. J’etais etudiante a Glendon ;).
    I wish there was a way for the government to intervene and force both sides to bargain as if it were their full time jobs rather than force everything back to work – it just seems like the last three months will have been a waste of time for everybody.
    Just a general question:
    Has anyone written their MPP’s about the situation – and if so, what has the reply been? (Because I DID write, and got absolutely on response.)

  19. york sux

    when is the next reading? when is the vote? what is this royal assent thing people talk of?

  20. york sux

    when is the third reading? when is the vote? what is this royal assent thing people talk of?

  21. Disappointed

    vraiment? je suis au Keele campus malheureusement parce que Glendon est tres loin pour moi. Je veux etre bilingue… un jour.
    It’s true, they haven’t really bargained, each side stuck to their guns.. I wrote to my mpp.. sorbara. He replied way later, giving me an update on the situation – which i already knew (that legislation was going to be introduced). But supportive, all the same.

  22. YorkFrustration

    The BTWL will be passed due to the fact that their is a majority liberal government. Alot of people are angry that the liberals didnt act sooner but CUPE would have been able to fight BTWL in a court if they acted any sooner. UNder the rules the only way to ask for BTWL is if it is an essential service (like police, ttc, etc.) OR if all means of communication between both side have stop and there is NO possible way of them reaching a deal on their own. At this point all measure were taking to make sure that it was in fact a deadlock before the bill was introduced. The NDP can not stop the bill they can only delay it. THey have demanded their right to debate the bill which could go til thursday. The only way they can take longer is if they bring in a thrid party but that still wont delay the BTWL pass a week. So it looks good we could be in class by feb.2.

    IT will be very hard for CUPE to fight the bill because every step was taking to ensure that they had ample time to bargain and that it was in fact a deadlock.

    Right now we are just waiting for the NDP to wak up. They have a good point but to delay the bill any longer isnt going to automatically give all ontario universities more funding overnight. I get they want to be heard, they were heard but they know the bill will pass, its not fair to hold it up any longer.

  23. ram

    Let’s hope CUPE gets a court injunction. YorkU can’t get away with their tyranny.


  24. YorkFrustration


    I believe The premier was in ottawa for the throne reading and will also be there for the 2009 budget introduction. I would think the state of the whole country is alittle more important than our school year…but i hope they get their shit together soon…our school year has already been extended to jun.2nd.

  25. fracas


    22 is not a new number. it refers to both conversions to tenure-stream (5 over 3 years old) and 17 teaching-stream 5year contracts. that’s not new, and the university certainly has not claimed that it tabled a new offer. so i don’t think your info is right.

  26. TRUTHiness


    The question is now “what does deadlock mean?”

  27. Stef

    To York Frustration,
    Of course he would have been in Ottawa for the budget reading – thank you! (I have been dealing with my sister’s wedding and completely hermitted myself from the news of Canada with exception to this strike recently)
    Thanks again!

  28. article

    Parents need to get active on York U strike

    As parents of a York U student in Toronto, we believe it is time for parents to put pressure on all sides – the university, the striking union and the Ontario government – to get this strike resolved. No one seems to be listening to 50,000 students: Parents need to become vocal and visible in supporting students and ending this strike.

    What can you do?

    York parents and students: Contact the university President Mamdouh Shoukri (mshoukri@yorku.ca) and CUPE 3903 (3903hq@gmail.com). Let them know you want this issue resolved immediately. Tell them how this strike has affected your view of York. Let them know if you are thinking of switching universities.

    E-mail Premier Dalton McGuinty at http://www.premier.gov.on.ca/feedback/default.asp to let him know you want this strike ended even if it means the government must intervene and enact back-to-work legislation.

    York students: Use your Facebook and other contacts to let students at your past high school know about your experience at York; encourage them to find out what is happening at York and to think twice about choosing York as a university.


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    Written by dagmarkanzler

    January 12, 2009 at 2:51 pm
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    One Response to ‘Parents need to get active on York U strike’
    Subscribe to comments with RSS or TrackBack to ‘Parents need to get active on York U strike’.

    I am glad to see that parents of York students are finally getting active. It has now been two months since the inception of the strike by CUPE 3093 at York University. Like many parents and families, we have sat back monitoring the proceedings in the hopes that logic would prevail and the strike would end in a reasonable time. This has not happened. It is now time for the 50,000 impacted York University students and their families to get involved and to have their voices heard. The strike needs to end and it is time for the Ontario government to step in. I urge all York U families to write to your MPP and Dalton McGuinty.

    As a result of this strike, I, like many other parents, have lost faith in the education process at York University. I question why my son should remain at York if this is what the future holds. I also question what the quality of the education that my son will get from his first year. At this point, it looks as if he may have to start his first year of university again in September. If that is the case, I feel that YORK should not only refund the full tuition amount paid but full costs incurred for residence, meals, books, etc. that have been paid in good faith. To date, it has cost us over $13,000 for our son’s first year at YORK. This does not even take into consideration, how much my son will lose personally as a result of losing a year of study. The prospects of York students obtaining any part-time job during the remainder of the school year (if classes do resume) will be very grim because of the added classes and schoolwork that will be necessary to make up for the lost time. To the extent that classes continue into the early summer, all the possible summer jobs will be gone. That’s additional income losses for both the students and their parents.

    I am amazed that both YORK and the UNION did not resolve this issue in a reasonable and timely fashion. While the 50,000 or more students are going to suffer from this strike, so too will YORK and the UNION from a reduction in enrollment and thus a reduction in needed T.A.’s, respectively. No one will be a winner.

    This strike has had and will have an impact on our lives. My son is now despondent and worries if he will get accepted in another university for Fall 2009 and how will he earn the money he needs. The excitement and thrill of my son’s first year at University has been destroyed. What a shame and what a mess, all caused by greed.