Opening Statement

Monday 20 January 2014

Ontario Feb 13 By-election News!

My Teacher + Union Acronym Guide is Here!  My By Election Results + Party leader scrum reports from Feb 14 is @ Here!

Election Night

We know the winners, but the exact final tallies are still influx. You can keep an eye on them @ The Elections Ontario Website

Here's one way of looking at the seat results in term of losses or gains: NDP +1/ PC 0/ OLP -1

Tonight is a double whammy for the Wynne OLP @ The Globe + Mail

Leader Speeches:

[10:55] Andrea Horwath addressing Wayne Gates NDP victory in Niagara Falls. Speaks of change from way province has been run but no specifics of what NDP plans to do. Basically just a "happy victory win" speech. Everybody is beaming. Of course! Took OLP seat in what one should think would be Hudak stomping grounds.

[10:35] Hudak with Martlow in Thornhill addressing PC victory. Declares it a public endorsement of his provincial PCs [that he held onto the riding?] Engages in typical NDP union bashing. Makes repeated references to building a subway line through Richmond Hill to Thornhill [?!] Adds up votes in unrelated ridings to declare overall PC election victory

Wynne is at Racco's headquarters for her concession speech. Not too many happy faces. A "This is a hard night" speech, "but next time ....". Downplays significance of by elections in general. "It'll be okay." Lost 2 "squirmishes" but will still win "battle".
Sticking to a positive plan for Ontario theme, drawing contrast with negative Timbo campaigning again. Evokes Harris. Claims Liberals can save us all, including labour.

By Election Night Timeline

[10.27 pm] News consensus seem to be PCs hold onto Thornhill. OLP badly lose Niagara to NDP.  

[10:12] Canada Press declaring PC win in Thornhill

[10:03pm]: PCs narrow NDP Niagara lead. Pull ahead in Thornhill. OFL declaring NDP win in Niagara + declaring it a victory for workers @ OFL

[9:39pm] Returns suggest NDP will handily take Niagara. OLP way behind in 3rd place. Thornhill remains a PC/ OLP nail biter! PCs seem to be pulling ahead.

Which way will it go tonight? Here's what Robert Benzie thinks @ Toronto Star

Toronto Star has a live by election feed. I am NOT endorsing the Star but for convenience sake you can check it out, if they don't cut you off if you don't subscribe @ Updates

NDP Niagara's Wayne Gates on the campaign trail with daughters + wife

Wednesday poll indicates NDP lead PC's 48 to 33% in Niagara. The PC's lead OLP 51 to 40% in Thornhill. Wynne is downplaying the importance of the by elections. Hudak's R2WFL policy is seen as having galvanized union support for the NDP, not a good perception for Timbo in PC eyes @ Latest polling!

Can the NDP win Niagara? Our teacher unions have endorsed their candidate Wayne Gates. You can also contact Wayne's campaign on your own if there's nothing happening at your school or unit to help push him over the top. Here are the phone numbers + info @ Volunteer

Have no doubt the PC's fight dirty and they are out to get you. If you don't believe me see their anti Wayne Gates site. It is one big hysterical anti union blast of PC hot air. Obviously they are running scared when they take off the mask and bare their teeth like this. You better get used to it if they form the next provincial government! Just saying .... check it out @ Too radical

Nasty + ridiculous: PC's desperate all out attack blames everything about the current world economic crisis, as it is being felt in Ontario, on unions and the NDP. Hmmm. What about big business, the banks, speculators + corporate welfare for your Con friends eh Timbo? Story @ PC Red Herring

Wynne tries playing the union card for support at her by election stops in Niagara + Thornhill. Actions speak louder than words Kathleen. Quite frankly we got screwed. First there was the MOU ..... which by the way you aren't forcing the boards to implement though it sure was forced on us .... Then there's the big question mark over this year's contract talks eh? Pretty last minute in the race to be all buddy buddy now don't you think? I sense a major disconnect here. We know what happens when the OLP does that! Sure we love the unions. Now roll over while we strip your contracts! C'mon be nice! We are all friends ..... Grrrrr! More @ OLP Pro union?!?

Wynne + Niagara OLP candidate still insist they are going to win despite a 19% showing in the polls. A disconnect?! I rest my case @ Wynning?

Are the by elections setting the stage for a spring provincial election? Suppose it depends on the results + who feels they ought to roll the dice. More below but see Martin Regg Cohn's article @ The Toronto Star

February 6 +

Will Wynne roll the dice on a spring election? Depends on whether her party hawks or doves have their way! In politics optics can be everything. How does the situation look? Story @ TVO Agenda

OLP trailing in Thornhill + Niagara as by elections enter homestretch @ Toronto Star

Forum By Election Polling as of Feb 5

NDP pulling out all the stops in Niagara by election with possible victory is sight . By election wins are their forte. More @ NDP strategy

Poll shows PC's with commanding lead in Thornhill race @ Gila Martlow = 47%

Former Thornhill PCC MPP the "Shurmanator" was a formidable foe. You'd think Timbo would want him on his team but obviously not. Now Peter Shurman is slamming the party leader in Thornhill during the by election race. The Liberals are loving this @ Timbo verses the Shurmanator verses Timbo

Warren Kinsella on polling: he mistrusts Forum polling. Others would say they are in the Liberal pocket. Anyway, read for yourself. Also see Comments for some reviews of the Thornhill all candidates debate @ Forum Polls

Here's an overview of the Niagara by election were the NDP have taken the lead. OLP seems down + out in the race. Will a win encourage NDP party leader Andrea Horwath to roll the dice on a spring provincial election? Story @ Toronto Star

Thornhill debate gets heated. People's Political Party candidate arrested. PC's Gila Martow sees no need for increase in minimum wage @ Thornhill Debate

Premier Wynne heads out on province wide campaign style blitz before by elections next week. What's up? Is she in damage control mode? Story @ Wynning Strategy?

Vote! CBC's poll on Tim Hudak's "Right to Work" policy:
Should Ontario adopt Right to Work Legislation? @ Poll

Hudak Right 2 Work 4 Less [RTW4L] by-election issue is being moved to my new Feb 6 blog. I will also post earlier related links there for your erudition. RTW4L is becoming a key issue in Niagara! This could be big! Cross your fingers + hope the other candidates rub his + PC candidate Bart Mave's face in it! Looks like the Tories are running scared on this one. See my new blog @ RTW4L

Toronto Sun's Christine Blizzard claims [speculates] Liberals are hoping for a bad snow storm on Feb 13 to keep angry voters away. When the excuses get that lame you know the neo cons are getting worried. She claims Niagara looks like an NDP + PC fight, Thornhill could be an OLP PC toss up. Timbo needs at least one win or his problems escalate. As if they aren't all ready. Story @ Snow Day?

You know you are far outside Toronto when the declining honey bee population becomes a by election issue. Farming can depend upon it in Ontario's fruit basket. An Oraclepoll Research Poll [?] shows the party standings at NDP=40%/ PC=36%/ OLP=21%/ Greens= @ Niagara

Greetings readers! I am moving my Ontario by-election links here from Teacher January News + Views. Now we will have a blog dedicated just to the two Ontario by-elections being held in the Niagara Falls + Thornhill ridings on Feb 13.

These by-elections in and of themselves will not change the power of balance in the number of seats at Queens Park when the spring legislature resumes sitting. They are important however, in that they will provide a dry run for a possible spring election, should one follow. Depending on the results OLP Premier Kathleen Wynne might decide to roll the election dice, or maybe not. NDP Party leader Andrea Horwath might decide whether it is in her interest to prop up the OLP again. Or she might prefer a roll of the election dice too. PC Party Leader Tim Hudak has been quite clear he wants a provincial election asap. How well his candidates fare will without doubt effect his shaky credibility as a party leader in the eyes of the PC party faithful. That could handicap him heading into a spring election, or strengthen his hand. The party is quite divided. Maybe the by election results will create a perceived sense of momentum in the public eye for any of the three parties. That could help give them an important bump in the polls, going into a spring election, which might prove decisive as well. 

Why do the by elections matter to teachers? Teachers are unionists. The PC party platform declares all out war on both teachers and on the public unions. Under Right to Work for Less [RTW4L], the unions would be decertified. Wages, benefits and pensions would be drastically cut. With the widespread member apathy + lack of credible leadership today, I wouldn't be too surprised if a large number, if not a majority of the members might not voluntarily sign a union card nor opt to pay fees. It could be a massive setback for our profession and workers everywhere across the province.

Unfortunately teachers have been attacked by all three main Ontario political parties at one time or another; by the NDP during the Rae days, the PC's during the Harris years, and the OLP at the end of the McGuinty government. We also have provincial contracts to negotiate this year. It would be foolish at best to support any Liberal candidates in either of the Niagara or Thornhill ridings. The teacher problems under the Wynne government, despite some fine words, have not shown any real improvement. Indeed with the MOE's hesitancy to forcefully insist that the school boards implement the MOU agreements, on important teacher issues like the gratuity buyouts and sick day plans, it would be sheer lunacy.

On the other hand the NDP, while ostensibly being pro union, has been quiet on a lot of the issues affecting us, downplaying its image as a union friendly party to hedge its bets with a reluctant electorate. It is dubious whether they even are a socialist left wing pro union party anymore, perhaps more so they are just Liberal Lite. Also, their polling numbers, despite a strong performance in the QP legislature over the last year continue to languish, suggesting they might not be able to carry any wins with or without union support. It will be most interesting to see how the teacher union "leadership" responds to these situations and decides what it would be best to do under the circumstances. It could also be very telling as to where their party political allegiances truly lie.

I will be adding more up to date links here very shortly. Meanwhile see below:

February 2 -

The OFL is organizing a union canvas for NDP candidate Wayne Gates on Saturday Feb 8th! Details @ By election time!

Wayne Gates Website is @ NDP

OSSTF D9 teachers brave cold in Niagara to remind voters of OLP attacks on worker rights!

Here is the 3 party candidates position on Right 2 Work 4 Less in Niagara @ WTR4L

Nanos Poll shows new, quite different figures: OLP Leads=36%/ PCS=28%/ NDP=27% Greens=8%. Hudak has also hit rock bottom in the percentage of voters who trust him him too. The party percentages remarkably vary quite a bit from Forum's [see below] and it is quite interesting to see the NDP and PC's virtually tied running neck to neck. Haven't seen that before, not in a loooong time as far as I can recall. More @ Nanos Poll Crunch the numbers for yourself with the full Nanos survey report @ Nanos Site

An upcoming Feb 11 union sponsored all candidates forum in Niagara Falls will discuss healthcare issues @ Details

January 27 -

I believe the teacher affiliates are all agreed on supporting the NDP in Niagara. Can you help?

Forum Poll [released January 29] shows PCs' lead reduced somewhat: PC=36%/ OLP= 33%/ NDP=26%/ Greens=4%.

Support for the PC's RTW4L policy is also down. Article @ Bouncing numbers

Timbo + the Thornhill Gila: Make the poor pay?! Who needs a minimum wage hike anyway????

RTW4L: Hudak reaffirms his support for the policy among possible election jitters flip flop. Has he just bought the silver bullet to bring him down next provincial election? Better hope so! At 38% in the polls he's moving towards majority government numbers, though he has yet to break that ceiling. Interesting analysis @ Timbo's silver bullet?

Wynne balks at a minimum wage hike to $14 but expresses interest in a new report suggesting it be tied to the inflation rate. Could prove a by election issue. NDP hasn't been getting much press. Maybe Kathleen will want to keep it that way? More details on the report in my Teachers January News + Views blog. Latest from Wynne @ Minimum Wage Issue?

There's also speculation Wynne will agree to tie the minimum wage to the inflation rate. If so it will require a vote in the legislature. Tim's big business buddies probably won't like the idea one bit. Although the legislature is not in session, it could become a by election issue. I wonder though: Being against it will certainly make Timbo seem like the Big Blue Meany again in the eyes of a lot of common folk. An announcement is expected Thursday Jan 28. Story @  Which will it be?

See: PC Thornhill candidate Gila Martlow denounces talk of a minimum wage hike as a "feel good vote buying" tactic. Since no definite plan has actually been announced yet, might we surmise she is against any raise and just sees it as an election gimmick?!? Does she think low wage working people don't need it???? @ The Gila Monster speaketh!

Would the gay rights issue help the Green Party make public school funding a big issue in the next provincial election? Well, it sounds like they are working on it all ready in Niagara @ Catholic School Issue?

January 20 - 26

Premier Wynne vows she's going to run a clean campaign. Isn't she taking pot shots at the NDP +PC's though?!? Story @ Wynning strategy?

Wynne vows to protect Catholic school system in the current "One School System" debate during her speech at a Niagara Falls high school. Hmmmm. How do you spell OECTA MOU Roadmap? Story @ Catholic school issue

50% give Kathleen Wynne a thumbs down as Premier in the latest Angus Reid poll. Let's face it: these by elections have little to nothing to do with the candidates. It's all about the leaders. parties + a possible spring election! Story @ Not Wynning!

Hudak evokes former NDP Premier Bob Rae and the OLP/NDP "government union" coalition in his opening volley @ Pre Harris

Now Hudak seems to be floating a trial balloon that he might dump his anti union Right To Work For Less [RTWFL] Policy. A Globe + Mail article suggests it's to make him more palatable to voters. I'd be soooooooo careful of this one. Has BS written all over it @ Sees the Light?! No!

Support OPSEU in the good fight! T-shirt available in men + womens' styles @ OPSEU Store

A snake in the grass? At the same time this story appears Timbo fires a PC candidate for speaking out against his RTW4L platform @ Can't have it both ways ... or can he!

Dave Brister Fired? Follow the twitter trail for some telling Tory intrigues @ Tweet! Tweet!

Former PC candidate Dave Brister speaks out on how he was fired by Tim Hudak because he was against the party RTW4L policy. He says voters have a right to know what they are getting with Tim Hudak. Here's the CTV news video Timbo would rather you didn't see @ Timbo: You're Fired!

Hudak's PC Party: No free speech allowed! Hmmm. Sounds familiar to us as grass root teachers eh?! Story @ Blister

Scott Stinson weighs in. Timbo left out Right to Work 4 Less in his Million Dollar Man speech at the Empire club last Tuesday as the by elections kicked off in earnest. It's good timing from his perspective to play down the unpopular issue and steal some union thunder, but it hardly means RTW4L is out for the count. Story @ Globe + Mail

Is Hudak softening on RTW4L? Make no mistake it's an by election ruse! All signs are Timbo thinks the Rand formula will make the perfect wedge issue in the next provincial election @ Star's Cohn

Backgrounder: RTW4L only passed by 53% at last September's PC Policy Convention. Tim has stuck to his guns even though the party is quit obviously badly split on the issue. I suppose he could do an about face now, or more likely just say he is, but what would his US puppet meisters think?!? Story @ 53% PC support

Even Toronto Sun Hudak booster Christine Blizzard admits Timbo's off to a rough [read: bad] start this year losing star MPP's, firing a candidate and facing a no win decision about bad boy Doug Ford's future with the party @ Bad News Boy!

Have you heard the latest PC "Schoolyard" radio ad? @ Here!

Are the unions using Tim Hudak's anti union policies as an external threat to help rally their badly divided membership solidarity after last year's concession bargaining? Sure it's possible. Watch if any of our teacher unions start evoking it to justify an OLP endorsement they might make, like in Thornhill. Will be insightful. Or have I got this wrong? Far fetched? You can comment below. Story @ OFL

OECTA member confirms the union will endorse the OLP in Thornhill, and the NDP in Niagara. See Comments below. Thanks for this. I had heard so but not seen the President's notes yet. If anybody has a copy could you please forward to us.? You could repost in Comments below? Or maybe I will call to ask.


Premier Wynne calls 2 Feb 13 by-elections in Niagara Falls + Thornhill @ Winter campaigns

Candidates? Riding voter trends? Here are the 308 riding projections for each race based upon most recent Forum Polls:

OK pundits! Ready, steady, go! Here's how both ridings voted in 2011 @ The Numbers Game

308 looks at the recent polling numbers to comment on Wynne's re-election chances. Maybe yes, maybe no @ 308

BTW: Be aware that early polling projections often turn out to be incorrect. From now to February 13th is a couple of life times in politics! Anything can + will happen! Also each polling firm has it's political biases.

Is new Liberal Health funding in Niagara Region an attempt to buy an upcoming by-election. Oh no, not this again! Story @ "buy-election"?

Timbo yammers about the upcoming by-elections taking pot shots at the OLP + NDP @ Hudak

Martin Regg Hart speculates on the Feb 13 by-elections. They could go any number of ways + weigh heavily on the prospects for a provincial spring election. Consider them a dry run @ Toronto Star

Is Wynne's strategy with by-elections + the Rob Ford "snub" actually a plan to postpone a spring election, perhaps even for another year? Sun News thinks so @ Spring Election

Federal Liberal Leader + Son Of PET Justin Trudeau is campaign for Thornhill Liberal candidate January 16 2:30 pm, the Niagara one then next day @ details

"Youth Informer" toots Premier Wynne's accomplishments in 2013 for the party faithful @ Overview

Wynne has a new jogging video on the power of positive thinking. Yeah. She's going to need it. See @ Trying to be positive

OLP cancels this month's AGM conference. A lot seems to be riding on the newly rescheduled Toronto March AGM, which could coincide with a spring election. Maybe, but have they been following the polls? We could well be looking at another minority government. Story @ Toronto Star

The Globe + Mail Adam's Radwanski claims the change of conference location, from London to Toronto is very significant. He expects London riding, like all of South Western Ontario to be a battle between the NDP + the PC's with the OLP standing on the sidelines without a chance of any wins. Deb Matthews too?!? So are the Liberals then effectively trying to cut their losses by relocating the AGM back to their perceived safe haven in Toronto? Toronto has been an OLP election stronghold since 2003. Story @ OLP on the run?

Tim is him. Him of course, is Mike Harris. You should be VERY worried as a teacher. It's a message that is often lost on the majority of today's new generation of teachers who don't remember the horrible battles we went through during the Harris years, the last time the PC's formed the government. However, all is not well in the Tim Hudak camp. It is a situation well worth monitoring during the by-elections to see where it will all lead. Remember the PC infighting last summer? I wrote about Hudak's secret Harris cabinet with news links and so on in a summer blog. A refresher course might be in order! Don't doubt Mike Harris' hand is none too subtly at play with the policies and direction the loyal Hudak Conservatives are following. This does not necessarily play well with Tim's QP caucus nor with a lot of PC supporters though, who doubt they will ever form a government if the party stays the Harris course. See @ Behind the PC Scenes!

Hudak anti union election hijinks are on their way!



Anonymous said...

The NDP has moved to the center but is still pro labour. However they cant come out for labour all the time because they get scorned in the media and the unions end up supporting the Liberals anyway. Who can blame their strategy under Horwath. Niagara is going NDP, OECTA is endorsing and in Thornhill will be a toss up Lib or Tory win. OECTA is endorsing the Liberal there to stave off HUdak which is off course disgusting especially since the by election is inconsequential to the balance of power but hey thats OECTA for yah. Dont believe Forums polling. They are Liberal true and true as is the Tor Star Regg Cohn. Fight the good fight David.

Kulture Kult Ink said...

Thanks! Reader punditry here is heartily encouraged. Any interesting info + insights appreciated! Have your say folks!

Anonymous said...

Why is that the police and firefighters get a pay raise and we teachers brace for another ass kicking/ The pounding we took from the Liberals has been far worse than Mike Harris ever considered. Why are we back licking Liberal Boots?
Get rid of the bums.

Anonymous said...

OECTA endorsing the Liberals in Thornhill will only further divide the teacher Unions...if OECTA participates in the Working Families Coalition that will be the signal to all unionists that the current OECTA leadership continues to endorse the MOU and all it stands for...and unless the OECTA membership rises up then their silence makes them complicit in the crime as well.

Anonymous said...

David, thank you for keeping track of all this, for busy teachers! You definitely keep us in the know....and are a light shining in the darkness! Please keep your beacon burning bright as a lot of people need direction out there!!!

Kulture Kult Ink said...

Ear to the ground? I'm pretty sure OECTA is planning to endorse the OLP in Thornhill. It's not official, who am I to say? However I think it's a REAL bad idea, + yup! It will be very insightful if/when it happens! Wynne has all ready been blowing kisses OECTA's way with her statement on Catholic schools in Niagara Falls. Now the hard core butt kissing begins! It will not be a pretty sight. Ugh! Hope, hope, hope I'm wrong. See blog.

Anonymous said...

Hey what's up with the new OECTA peel off membership card. It's sticky on one side! Just sayin'. Please explain why OECTA went to this type of membership card?

Kulture Kult Ink said...

A sticky side? Maybe so you can wear it on your lapel to win friends + influence people?!? No. I don't think that's it. ;-} Hmmmm. Anybody?

Anonymous said...

In the President's Update sent out yesterday, Ryan confirmed OECTA was endorsing the NDP in Niagara Falls and the Grits in Thornhill.

On the Working Families Coalition, expect ALL of the unions to jump in this time no matter what the teacher Federations do. Hudak's anti-labour platform has really spooked people.

Anonymous said...

It is because the Liberals count on the unions being "spooked" that feel confident they can abuse us without any consequence. The teacher unions have got themselves in the same cycle that victims of spousal abuse are trapped in...abuse, apology, afraid to leave bad situation for the unknown, stay only to be abused again. Until the leaders of the federation are prepared to break this cycle and stand on principle we are powerless and we are unions in name only.
OECTA by endorsing the Liberals in Thornhill are only perpetuating this cycle.

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