Opening Statement



Monday, 15 July 2013

Ken Coran: Was OSSTF Betrayed?

The following guest blog comes courtesy of Tim Heffernan, bio below.


How far back does Ken's involvement with the OLP go?

The issue that has been consuming many OSSTF members (not just activists) over the last 2 weeks has been the decision of OSSTF Provincial President, Ken Coran, to jump ship, as his tenure as President came to an end, and move over to the greener pastures of a possible seat on the Liberal benches at Queen’s Park. What caught most people by surprise was Ken’s party affiliation. We all thought he was an NDPer. He was certainly pushing for the NDP last September in the Kitchener-Waterloo by-election. And pushing (or being pushed) to the extent that he was willing to accede to Andrea Horwath’s request that he call off the OSSTF strike votes scheduled to take place 2 days before the K-W election so as to avoid having the NDP being portrayed as being too close to militant teacher unions. Heaven forbid that the NDP get tarnished with that brush.

But then came along the resignation of Dalton McGuinty, for which Ken likes to claim some responsibility, and a 4 month love-in with new Premier Kathleen Wynne. Ken, as well as the leadership of Toronto OSSTF, also likes to claim responsibility for the victory of Wynne over her rivals in the Liberal leadership campaign in January. Remember that the District 12 Executive donated $10,000 to Wynne’s leadership bid.

So the question comes down to this:

WAS CORAN'S COZY RELATIONSHIP WITH WYNNE AND HIS EVENTUAL LIBERAL CANDIDACY ONE OF THE BARGAINING CHIPS UNDER THE TABLE DURING THE OSSTF NEGOTIATIONS?



A rank and file OSSTF member, posting on Facebook, has provided this information:

 On June 28, 2013, two days before the end of his term as OSSTF President, Coran announced his candidacy for Liberal MPP for the riding of London West. It is clear that he had decided to join the Liberals--a governing party which had recently stripped contracts and removed the right to strike--some time before ending his duties as President. Liberal riding president for London West, Scott Courtice, remarked that “After an extensive search, the nomination committee put forward only one name to the Ontario Liberal Party office – Ken Coran …….Coran was also the only candidate to file nomination papers with the Ontario Liberal Party.” [Obviously this happened well before June 28th. We need to find out exactly when those papers were filed]


A much earlier article about the vacant Liberal riding from March 1st suggested the Liberals were "keeping it under wraps" whom they would run. “Based on the people we’ve been speaking to, we’re pretty confident we’re going to get a candidate of (Bentley’s) calibre,” said Scott Courtice, the Liberals’ London West riding association president. “They are big shoes, but I know we’ve got a crew of (potential candidates) that will be able to fill them.” [Was Coran one of these potential candidates while negotiations were still going on?????]


Remember that OSSTF did not reach its deal with Kathleen Wynne's Liberals until March 31st. http://www.torontosun.com/2013/03/31/osstf-reaches-deal-in-principle-with-ontario-government

 By June 17th, "Both the NDP and PCs have announced candidates for the London West riding, but the Liberal Party has yet to do so." [Could it be the timing in relation to Coran's responsibilities as OSSTF President as negotiations were still very much being sorted out under the Memorandum of Understanding?]


 At the site of his July 2nd nomination meeting, I asked Coran when he was contacted by the Liberals, and he stated that June 7th was the first day of contact regarding the nomination for London West.

 
For further information and comment on this matter, check out the REWT blog at:
theclassstruggles.wordpress.com

Today's Guest Blogger:


Tim Heffernan is a long time OSSTF activist from Toronto. He was Vice-President of North York OSSTF in 1997-98 and a member of the District 12, Toronto, Secondary Teachers’ Bargaining Unit Executive. Until his retirement in June of this year, he was a teacher at York Mills Collegiate. Tim is also a founding member of REWT – Rank and file Education Workers of Toronto, likely to be soon renamed as Rank and file Education Workers Together (in order to keep the acronym while indicating that the group’s spread is now a lot wider than Toronto)

RELATED READS

Tim presents Ken Coran's perplexing 2005 OSSTF presidential election materials @ Ken Coran NDP?

What is to be done? The Anatomy of a Sell Out @ REWT

Peter Hasek's guest blog on how the OSSTF MOU painted teachers into a political corner @ Vote No!

Rob Scott's guest blog on how the OSSTF MOU represented complete surrender @ OSSTF MOU too

Would you like to write a guest blog too? More info @ Guest Blogs!

See my blog on the London West By-election below.

COMMENTS?

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

It did seem that there was something afoot even as OSSTF called off the work to rule in January, while ETFO carried on, albeit alone. One has to think there were plans in the works even then and that Coran was greasing his own wheels, at the expense of his members, for his own political ambitions. This reminds me of their earlier president, Earl Manners, who also sold out to become the negotiator/HR guy for Trillium Lakelands. Makes me wonder what goes on at OSSTF when their leaders now have what looks like a pattern for betraying their own. It seems ETFO is the only teacher federation that held out for its labour values on behalf of its members: it wasn't easy. When there are so many reasons to have solidarity amongst the federations in particular, and with OFL in general, I am very concerned at the current state of our union affairs. And the dues keep being collected. . .

Anonymous said...

And the dues keep being collected for what reason. As an ETFO member I'm disgusted with the way we capitulated at the end. Our recent bulletin praised the 2% we gained back but certainly did not accept any critical comments. We lost so much. Between OECTA's stance or lack there of, and Coran's plan to join the Liberals, we all got screwed. Hudak's plan to remove union dues might be a good thing and in the next election I'm sure he will highlight Coran's and the Liberal's misuse of the union for their personal gain. To think 86% of OSSTF and 91% of ETFO voted to accept the stripped contract reminds me of the sheep following the sheppard. Only the sheep were led to the slaughter. Wait for the next contract; we'll see further cuts be it the Liberals, NDP, or PCs because any government will know that we'll take anything up the a$$. Oh, we'll kick and scream a bit but most of us will go back to the technology at the end of our hands and the starbucks coffee we drink, .... and carry on, carry on. I don't know how Coran can sleep at night when he thinks of the betrayal he has manufactured.

Anonymous said...

Don't get me wrong. I do not support Coran's decision to run for the Libs, but Tim Heffernan is a known opponent of Catholic school funding. What he says must be taken with some very large grains of salt.

David Chiarelli said...

My goal here on the blogsite is to represent as many different points of view as is reasonably possible for us to consider about school, union and provincial politics so we are as well informed as is possible. Personally I know Tim and I differ on the one school system issue, plus I could never support the Greens even putting this issue aside. I have protested alongside Tim on the front lines this year often when you could the number of protesters on the fingers of your hands, with some to spare. He's a very active + stalwart protest lad who I would gladly stand with, any other differences aside.

David Chiarelli said...

Hi Anon 4! Liked your comment until the part about pissing in the cornflakes. It's a flame. Can you re-do? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

To anonymous above who is critical of Tim Heffernan: This shouldn't be about that. It should be about the betrayal and bad optics of Ken Coran joining the Liberal fold so shortly after the contentious negotiations or lack there of. Personal biases aside, how can any OSSTF member look at what has happened and still support the Liberals and Ken. In my opinion Bill 115 was worse than anything Mike Harris did. I believe that whatever party wins the next general election we teachers are in for another round of cuts. We caved on Bill 115; oh we proclaim victory in many ways- see 2% restored, but basically we just kicked and screamed for a bit and then rolled over- 91% ETFO vote. At least Sam hasn't taken a Liberal offering- Yet.

David Chiarelli said...

Thanks Anon! Your 1st was actually quite funny in an offbeat way. I just about "pissed" my pants laughing at the humour and I totally get it about the heat. However, it's probably best we keep our comments focused on the issues here in the Comments bar to be constructive. Cheers + solidarity!

Anonymous said...

Ken Coran has been courted by the Libs for years. He doesn't really have a political philosophy other than staying elected. He however is not a bad guy, just a guy who made a bad decision. All of the federation presidents have been courted by either the Grits of NDP. Benoit Mercier (AEFO) ran for the Grits in Welland and finished a poor third. Another AEFO President was a Grit MPP for a while. Paul Tallifer (AEFO) ran for the Grits and lost to Charlie Angus. Don't be surprized if you don't see names like Elliot, Ryan, Hammond, O'Dwyer, Hahn, Joliffe, Long, Jansen, Bernardo, etc on future ballots. Having learned from Coran's mistake, expect them to put some time between their presidencies and when they run. Also don't expect them to use fake football credentials.

Anonymous said...

I guess this should be a real eye opener for all teachers. Our leaders generally have their own personal agenda at the fore front. If we continually follow like sheep we cannot complain after. Congrats David on your retirement. I'll be joining you in a year.

teachaholic said...

I have to agree with Tim Heffernan. I don't care that Ken Coran is a "nice guy" -- he's a quisling, pure and simple, and a sellout and an embarrassment, as is Earl Manners, even more egregiously. I'm expecting O'Dwyer to get some plum MOE appointment, quietly, in the near future for being a lower-key version of the same.

As for ETFO, they capitulated and sold out in the end, so no plaudits are due to them either. I do not plan either to forgive or forget.

However, I have not heard Andrea Horwath speaking truth to power either. Notice in her 13-minute speech to the Ontario Legislature about Bill 115 and extracurriculars (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEmFQRCJqZI) she *never* mentioned teachers even once. Every other "stakeholder" got a nod, but you would think, from her presentation, that Ontario education is a teacher-free zone.

I say a plague on all their houses.

Anonymous said...

This is even worse than I thought it was. At least OSSTF had the sense to get rid of Coran but OECTA continues to have all of the cr---ks in charge of collective bargaining. Hope OECTA does not have a final say in this round or we are done and future generations of educators will curse us!

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