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Sunday, 23 June 2013

Former Education Minister Laurel Broten Resigns!

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Education Minister Laurel Broten angered even her long committed Liberal teacher supporters with the OECTA MOU + Bill 115!

Former Education Minister laurel Broten has announced her resignation as the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Women's issues and as the OLP MPP for the past ten years in the Toronto riding of Etobicoke Lakeshore. The notice was released prior to the Sunday evening announcement of the ETFO MOU voting results. Whether that was co-incidental or not is uncertain. However, the joint timing of both certainly ends a very difficult year and a half of strife between the provinces teachers and the Ontario government in which Ms Broten was often the flash point of conflict.

It was Ms. Broten who introduced the MOU contract stripping terms at the PDT table + reached an early MOU deal with the OECTA Provincial Executive. She remained under heavy attack by the public school teachers from then on, especially after Bill 115 was enacted, through until Kathleen Wynne's election on January 25th. Premier Wynne replaced her by appointing Liz Sandals as the Education Minister. Sandals has now closed separate MOU deals with both the OSSTF and ETFO teachers. An era in Ontario educational politics has reached an end with much uncertainty about what comes next.

I worked for OECTA TSU PAC on Laurel Broten's riding association from 2001 until  winter 2012 when the harsh PDT terms were announced by Laurel as the Education Minister. Until then she had often been much liked by the teachers and a very popular local MPP. She was well known for knocking on her constituents doors year round inbetween elections to discuss their concerns. She was also instrumental in setting up a very successful women's shelter program in the riding. She worked with OECTA on the favourable full day kindergarten and early childhood educator programs among other issues and was often a conduct for us to the McGuinty cabinet.

All of us were quite surprised + even shocked when Laurel Broten changed drastically after the 2011 Provincial election. My best guess would be that she threw her lot in with the OLP's right wing for reasons unknown. Her political roots date back to when Federal Liberal MP Allan Rock was the Justice Minister in Ottawa under Prime Minister Jean Chretien during the 1990's. Broten had been a Bay St. lawyer until her run in the 2003 election, although I was never too sure just what the connection was. Her arm was twisted to support former Liberal Party Leader Michael Ignatief's unsuccessful Federal election attempt starting with when he was first parachuted into Etobicoke Lakeshore from Harvard as the riding's Federal candidate for MPP.

During this winter's OLP party leadership race she supported Sandra Pupatello. She gambled + lost again. Her endorsement was a surprise, as she had been good friends with Kathleen Wynne. They often campaigned together up until then. I'm not sure that her apparent demotion from the MOE was a big factor in her resignation, as it was to be expected. She seemed to be laying low for awhile in her new smaller portfolios which would've made good political sense after all she'd been through.

Possibly Ms Broten realized that her strong teacher support in the last three provincial elections had been lost. I don't doubt she'd heard that all three affiliates were planning to target her specifically in the next election. The controversial scrapping of one of the gas plants which was to be built in her riding would've posed a problem for her re-election chances as well. It is also significant that her campaign manager, Tom Allison, who had helped engineer her last three very successful election wins had gone on to become Wynne's campaign manager in her successful party leadership win. He is now a higher up in the premiers office. It would seem highly unlikely that he would be there helping Laurel out next time either.

So what happened? Politics is a blood sport. Laurel took some pretty big gambles in throwing her support behind the OLP affront on the provinces teachers. Then in backing Bay Street legal and business favourite Sandra Pupatello to pick up where Premier Dalton McGuinty had left off after he resigned. These were bad moves. I believe she saw the writing on the wall. She has now left by her own choice. It was probably her best way out.

Here are the news links:

Former OLP MOE Laurel Broten resigns effective July 2! Statement @ RESIGNS!

Here's Premier Wynne's statement on Broten's resignation. Note that Teresa Piruzza will take over the Women's Issue portfolio. Wynne will take on Intergovernmental Affairs @ Wynne

CP24 report notes a by election in her Etobicoke Lakeshore riding must be held within 6 months. She's the 4th to quit under Wynne. Furthermore she's moving to Halifax! Read @ Halifax?

The Toronto Star notes the teachers would be after her in the next election. Also one of the scrapped gas plants was in her riding. It seems she's ostensibly following her husband Paul to Halifax as he has some business opportunities there in the energy sector @ Why?

Here's your Queen's Park brief from the morning after @ By elections + speculation

During his Monday morning media scrum at QP PC party leader Tim Hudak said it's unlikely Broten quit at the same time the ETFO MOU ratification vote results were announced. Broten allegedly was "thrown under the bus" by Premier Wynne because the "big union leaders" were upset. ETFO was even rewarded with a 2% raise.  Hudak claims the Liberals will never be able to balance the budget with all this reckless spending. Blah blah blah ... Of course he leaves out the part where the 2% "raise" is a catch up to put the members on par with the salaries of their counterparts across the province. He doesn't mention that it also doesn't take effect until the next 2014 contract is signed.

Follow up: Locals from Laurel Broten's riding discuss her contributions to the community. Very interesting: She denies she's leaving because of the teachers. She doesn't rule out a return to politics. Hmmm. I wonder if she's in touch with the Liberal Party in Nova Scotia, provincial or federal? Just a thought. Read @ Good bye?

OLP shops around for a new candidate in Etobicoke Lakeshore. Some names seem unlikely to me: TCDSB Chair Andrachuk?!? Read more @ Help Wanted!

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

The final horseman of the McGuinty apocalypse is finally gone. She will go down as the first minister of education since David Johnston who wouldn't fight for the educational system against the maniacal plans on a backstabbing premier, a job seeking finance minister, and the disconnected bureaucrats at the Ministry.

Anonymous said...

I believe teachers did very well under the liberal's, be careful what you whish for.... Mike harris jr akaTim Hudak is no friend of teachers. I seem to remember as well the teachers unions contributing to the liberal leadership race... On one hand denouncing the liberal gvt on hand and on the other financing leadership hopeful's... talk about hedging your bets. Time will tell if the teacher unions ever had any clout at all. I would say you are giving yourselves too much credit.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget Janet Ecker's disastrous stint as Minister. Broten's sharp about-face was nothing but a political gambit of some in cabinet, with McGuinty's blessing, to outflank the Hudak Tories. The KW by-election showed everyone which direction the Liberals under McGuinty, Duncan, and his Minister of Ed were heading with that turn. Thankfully, they're now on the political dust-heap. Don't let the proverbial Ontario door hit you on your way out, Ms Broten. Good luck in Nova Scotia.

Anonymous said...

Of course the teacher's unions are going to claim that they would have enacted a concerted attack to unseat Broten in the last election. Note how they announce this tactic after she has said she is leaving. Weasels. If she had of stayed on and a strong Tory had run they would have lined up behind her and voted strategically to save the seat for the Liberals. The teacher's unions are so full of b.s. A sad day for labour with examples like them at the helm. Laurel is the scapegoat and everybody loves Wynne. Let us not forget she said zero when it came time to vote for bill 155.

David Chiarelli said...

All other arguments aside I know of and confirmed the plan which was a given. However if it was a risk the Torys would take it ...?

The PC is a former popular cop from the riding. Broten wasnt too worried about him at least until it became apparant that her teacher support, even from Oecta was gone.

It will be interesting to see if the NDP can field a strong candidate. There are pockets of strong suport in the riding going back a fair bit. Of course the boundries have now changed at least once. Nobody is too sure how the flood of new condo owners along the lakeshore will vote.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Kevin O'Dwyer can run for the Liberals. Maybe Ken Coran or even Fred Hahn.

Anonymous said...

Well so much for scapegoating Kevin O'Dwyer. Ken Coran turned out to be the true sell out. Must be embarrassing to be an OSSTF members.

Anonymous said...

As an active and strong OSSTF member, I am proud of the fact that Ken Coran is running for the Liberals under Wynne in London West. As the President of OSSTF, he helped the OLP excise those who wanted to steer the party towards the right. Had it not been for O'Dwyer's and OECTA's betrayal Coran and Hammond would have fought alongside ALL teachers. They improved the OECTA sellout deal for their members. No doubt Coran, as a reasonable centrist, will come under attack by both the right and the left.

David Chiarelli said...

I don't like what Kevin did, but is it fair to still blame everything on him?

Anonymous said...

He broke solidarity, didn't he? And he didn't even have the courage to let OECTA members vote on it. You bet we can still blame him.

David Chiarelli said...

Yes we can sure blame him for that big time. Plus it didn't help the other affiliates either, quite the oposite. All that is true but then there's the capitulaion on the Cupe and Etfo MOU's too. Their leadership and the members who voted for the agreements are not fault free now just because of him.

Anonymous said...

Agreed David if we do not point out the capitulation of Mr. Coran and Mr. Hammond we are being arbitrary in our judgements. Clearly Ken Coran played this whole thing politically and OSSTF members have some real soul searching to do. And no I am not calling for the amalgamation of secular schools into the Catholic system. I believe my secular colleagues have the right to their own system.

Anonymous said...

I have no problem with Coran running for the Liberal party. If he wins, it will be his actions at Queen's Park that will show his true character. Bargaining is just a few months away and the government has shown it can do whatever it wants (and just walk away when it's done). Coran at Queen's Park could be a good thing, but then again I thought Wynne was a good thing too. Only time will tell. David, do you know what O'Dwyer will be doing in September?

David Chiarelli said...

Usually it means a return to the classroom unless/ until the past president gets a another offer. Past President remains a voting member on the provincial executive, but it is not a fulltime release position. I haven't heard anything more about Kevin OD yet.

permarev said...

What's with "anonymous". Afraid to use own name? Why?

And if this gets published under "permarev", I don't mind telling you that my real name is Tim Heffernan, recently retired OSSTF teacher, Toronto.

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