Opening Statement



Saturday, 26 January 2013

The January 25 Maple Leaf Gardens Teacher Protest!




Bad Boy Brock, Chris + I at the protest!

There was an excellent turnout for tonight's protest rally out front of Maple Leaf Gardens. The crowd of protesters was easily in the thousands. Very high spirited. We spilled off the sidewalks out into the street blocking the westbound traffic on Carleton Ave to one lane. Asian tourists, who for some reason like Toronto in the winter, leaned pressed against the street car windows excitedly taking photographs of us. Wave, they happily waved back. Nice touch. Lots of honking horns, all friendly. Megaphones, a sea of red ETFO signs. It snowed a fair bit and was cold, but it just added to the magic of the protest night as far as I was concerned. The front doors of the Gardens was packed tight with protesters so I wouldn't  be surprised if a lot of the Liberals delegates couldn't get out until we left around 9 pm.



Carleton Ave out front of Maple Leaf Gardens was a sea of protesters + signs.

I was the highest ranking executive officer there from my unit [3rd VP]  Our Political Advisory Chair Mo' + I took care of the flag waving. Bad Boy Brock showed up, of course. First Vice President Chris Karuhanga was the OECTA provincial rep. A lot of the ETFO and OSSTF members seemed surprised and very glad to see us. I felt very welcome. Often we had to explain that as OECTA members we hadn't ratified our MOU, provincial had. I was surprised how many rank and file members from the other affiliates didn't know that. I counted 5 blue OECTA flags flapping in the wind, including Mo and mine. We made sure ours were plainly seen upfront and from the street. A lot of people were taking our picture. Maybe you will even see us on the news. I got back home too late so I don't know how much coverage the rally got. Believe me, it was big but perhaps the media will play it down. They often do.



Look it's TSU PAC Chair Maureen +  CUPE President Fred Hahn!

Unfortunately, I would suspect we probably had more local OECTA members inside the Gardens than out from the head count I took. Somehow the rally was not well promoted. I checked. It might have been mentioned in an office memo sent to our members this week. It was in an issue of our Highlights newsletter from a month or two ago. I called the office to find out what was going on, then around to a few schools. Nobody whom I could get hold of seemed to know. I certainly wasn't told anything though I'd been asking and had made sure the event had been confirmed ahead of time. 



Not even the snow or cold weather could deter this committed teacher protest crowd.

No matter I find out most of my info the other units and affiliates these days if not from my own local or provincial office. Discouraging perhaps, but I do fine. However, I think it is pretty safe to say that as a result of my political activity on this blog I am pretty much a persona non gratis around OECTA official circles by now. I don't feel the love, as they say.;-) The real pity is that more of our members didn't know, or get out tonight, but tomorrow is another day. I know a flyer was sent out for the J26 rally. So let's see what happens.



Lot's of talk about the new labour movement + creating change!

Ironically, quite a few OSST and ETFO members recognized me. Came over to say hello and that they read my blog regularly. Thank you! I am honoured. I hope it helps. My camera froze up in the cold. Sorry I couldn't take all your pictures! Maybe tomorrow. Well, I need to be heading back downtown in about twelve hours, so some down time is in order and a good nights sleep. In solidarity!



It was an honour to protest with our ETFO + OSSTF brothers + sisters again!

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good work David. You are the real deal. O'Dwyer and his MOU Ilk are akin to the Pharisees of scripture. In your role I name you Jesus and add these words of rebuke to the OECTA president and his Liberal zealots.

"For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:20 RSV).
"He answered them, "And why do you transgress the Commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God commanded, 'Honor your father and your mother,' and, 'He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him surely die.' But you say, 'If any one tells his father or his mother, What you would have gained from me is given to God, he need not honor his father.' So, for the sake of your tradition, you have made void the Word of God." (Matthew 15:3-6 RSV)

"How is it that you fail to perceive that I did not speak about bread? Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees." Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees." (Matthew 16:11-12 RSV)
(Note: Just as yeast causes bread to rise, yeast was sometimes used as a symbol of sinful pride which made people haughty and "puffed up.")

Anonymous said...

Hi,David,
Yet again OECTA disappoints (excluding you and your group) of course. This was the time that your members could truly stand with the 30,000 today from all walks of life, jobs and ages!I am tired of your members lack of integrity, passion, betrayal, laziness and balls. So done. It was noted several times on twitter the lack of OECTA representation at today's rally

Nelson De Castro said...

I was at the J25 rally and I quite enjoyed myself. I have to say that many ETFO/OSSTF people who were walking alongside me made quite the crude remarks about OECTA (as we passed by your waving OECTA flag) and I had to correct them about their 'facts'. They appreciated the proper info, however, and actually got angry on our behalf. It would be nice to see more OECTA folks at these rallies, especially considering the high anti-MOU votes and voter turnout at several polls this past fall. It would be nicer if our Association gave out timely information, as well, so those who don't agree with Big Brother's wisdom can democratically speak out against it.

Boy, oh boy, I can't wait for AGM!

David Chiarelli said...

Hi Nelson!

Thanks for explaining our situation to the angry OSSTF/ETFO Protesters. I had two incidents with the flag waving on the corner of Carelton on Church. One person wanted to set it on fire with their lighter. Another tried to keep sticking there's in front of mine so people couldn't see it. Fortunately the evil eye sufficed for the first. The second I had to tell to p.o. I do regret that but it worked.

Most protesters, and there were a lot, were great though and thanked us for coming. About half of those also politely wanted to know why we were there since we signed the MOU. When I explained we hadn't, our provincial office did it for us, they were quite surprised. A lot of people don't know what happened!!! Our affiliation isn't about to say anything either. Anyway, the protesters were quit welcoming and supportive after that. Now we know why our affiliate is so quiet since July 5th. Wouldn't want to contradict the ministers claims that 55,000 Catholic teachers had agreed.

One of our protesters later at the pub told me that OSSTF/ETFO members were walking up to him and saying they wished they had signed a contract too so they wouldn't be doing this. I found that hard to believe. Everybody I saw and met there Fri and Sat. were really mad at the MOE/OLP + the CB situation, as far as I could tell.

Long + short of it? The overwhelming number of protesters were very polite, welcoming but wondering why we were there. I perfectly understand, even with the ones I mentioned who got mad with me and the flag. Much thanks for your explanations there too. That is the big job we need to do + we are not going to be getting any help from OECTA with that 4 sure.

I still find it very interesting that nobody from provincial got up to speak with the other leaders in Allan Gardens. The argument that all is fine with the other affiliates is wearing very thin, and I would suppose they just don't want to face that especially at a rally where nobody is going to put up with any guff.

Like you I am looking most forward to our AGM in March!

Solidarity!

David

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