ETFO annual meeting delegates welcomed NDP Leader of the Opposition, Andrea Horwath. She began by thanking educators for shaping the lives of Ontario students every day and shaping the future of Ontario through our work. She also thanked ETFO members for their endorsement and hard work in the provincial election, mentioning their work knocking on doors and participating in the election across the province. Activists, including ETFO members, helped elect the largest official opposition in nearly two decades: one that will stand up for education, Ontario families and change for the better, Horwath said.
For too long in Ontario, families and schools have been asked to settle for less than they need, she said. “Your classrooms don’t have the resources they need and students are paying the price.” “The state of our schools is what happens when premiers squeeze education year after year.”
Horwath committed to working closely with unions in Ontario: “We will stand with Ontario unions everyday for the next four years while we build and grow our movement and do this all again in the next election.” Doug Ford wants to drag our schools backwards, Horwath said, taking the sex ed curriculum back to the last century and hurting Ontario’s youth in the process. “The updated curriculum and the educators who deliver it save lives,” Horwath said.
“Doug Ford is doubling down on cuts. Ford’s plan to go back to basics means more standardized testing. His cuts outside the classroom mean that the services families depend on most will be gutted. The students that need the most support will be affected by the cuts the most. And lets be clear, Doug ford will not stop at the minimum wage freeze. He will roll back rights, interfere with collective bargaining and make life harder in Ontario. Unless we stand together with the 60 percent of Ontarians who didn’t vote for him.”
She concluded by saying “I believe there is hope,” and by pointed to the fact that 60 percent of Ontarians voted for a progressive agenda for Ontario. “We are the voice of that 60 percent,” Horwath said.
“For the next four years we will mobilize, speak up, push back against cuts and mobilize for a future so that the 60 percent of Ontarians get the government that they want and that they voted for. Imagine the positive influence we can have on Ontario. We will fight, we will persevere and together we will win.”