Announcement: People’s Rally on Queen’s Park — On Saturday, July 14, join with others at Queen’s Park to march to support public services, communities and All Ontarians! People’s Rally on Queen’s Park Saturday, July 14 — 11:00 am-2:00 pm Facebook
Report: Windsor Youth Empower Themselves to Dispel Myths — On June 20, participants in an after-school program provided by Windsor Women Working with Immigrant Women’s Youth Community Connections hosted an exhibition to showcase a campaign they developed to challenge Islamophobia. Islamophobia is defined as the irrational fear of Islam and Muslims. The exhibition featured a display of news articles, photos and tweets about racist attacks that have taken place in Canada which clearly showed that this is a problem in Canada and not just the United States. The students set out to directly expose Islamophobia and carry out social experiments to see what the opinion of other Canadians actually was. They presented people in the street with images showing Islamophobic signs and statements and asked them to comment on what thoughts they evoked in them, and what should be done about such things. People’s responses displayed at the event indicated that Canadians reject such racism and the targeting of any group based on their race, ethnic background or religion. Far from Islamophobia being commonplace, rejection of it was in fact the norm for those who were approached. The youth also carried out other social experiments to openly challenge myths about […]
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Views: Health Care — A Major Matter of Concern for Ontarians — The Progressive Conservative leader and now Premier-Elect of Ontario Doug Ford issued his plan for health care during the election in a May 18 item posted on the PC website: “‘My message to nurses, doctors and other frontline professionals is clear — resources are on the way and help is on the way,’ said Ford. ‘We’re going to work with our frontline health care workers, cut wait times, end hallway health care and ensure that seniors, patients and families have the high quality health care they deserve.’ “Under Doug Ford’s Plan for the People, an Ontario PC Government will invest in 15,000 new long-term care beds in five years and 30,000 new beds over the next 10 years, invest $1.9 billion over 10 years in mental health, addictions and housing supports, and provide dental care to low-income seniors. “Ford contrasted his commitment to frontline health care to the out-of-control spending, scandals and waste that have defined Kathleen Wynne’s mismanagement of the health care system. Over the last 15 years the total number of Assistant Deputy Ministers at the Ministry of Health has grown from six to 21.” A […]
Views: Transition Begins in Ontario — On June 8 Ontario Premier designate Doug Ford held a press conference where he announced that “the transition of power” with the Liberal government was well underway. He said he would be meeting with Ontario’s Lieutenant Governor where he expected to be invited to officially form a government, which he did later that day. The new government will be sworn in on June 29. He informed that he had spoken to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on election day and that he presented his priorities for the province. He also said that they spoke about relations with the United States and that he pledged to “stand united against our neighbours to the south and I’m very sincere when I say that. United we stand as a country and I’ll work hand in hand with the Prime Minister.” When asked about when he would start implementing some of his campaign promises such as claims about reduced gas prices he said, “We have to see the financial situation that’s been left behind, and over the next couple of days and weeks you’re going to hear from us, but the most important thing is getting our fiscal house […]
Views: New Government Lacks Consent of the Governed Despite Majority — Forty-two per cent of eligible voters did not cast a ballot in the June 7 Ontario election. Of the 58 per cent that did, 40.49 per cent voted for the PCs and Doug Ford. This is said to be a decisive majority which gives him a mandate to implement the measures he campaigned on. However, the vote that allows the PCs to form the government with 76 out of 124 seats came from only 23.48 per cent of eligible voters. To say this is a majority government tells us something about the state of the electoral system said to be a representative democracy. The NDP becomes the official opposition with 40 seats and 33.57 per cent of the votes cast, representing 19.47 per cent of eligible voters. The Liberals received seven seats and 19.59 per cent of the votes cast, which represents 11.35 percent of eligible voters. Together the NDP and Liberals received 53.16 per cent of the votes cast, representing 30.82 per cent of the eligible voters, which is more than what the PCs received. Once again, the first past the post method of counting votes is an […]
Report: Labour Council Meets — On June 12 the Windsor and District Labour Council held its final membership meeting before breaking for the months of July and August. Labour councils are part of the Canadian Labour Congress, the national organization representing unions across Canada. Labour councils are made up of delegates from affiliated unions. They are a venue where the unions not only report on their activities but exchange information and views on matters of concern as well as coordinate their efforts. On the minds of delegates at the June 12 meeting was the provincial election and how to prepare for the upcoming municipal election. Some delegates expressed frustration with how, despite the working people’s opposition to cuts to social programs and privatization and their experiences with governments like those of Mulroney and Harper federally and Harris provincially, the Ford government was still elected. A teacher highlighted the fact that an elementary teacher had run in the election as a teacher who stands for the rights of all. This was significant he said, given that when governments unleash attacks on workers, especially in the public sector, they often start with teachers in the hopes that they can rally the public […]
News: Windsor West, Lowest Voter Turnout in the Province — Voter turnout in Windsor West as a percentage of eligible voters in the riding was the lowest in the province at 43.83 per cent. It brings no honour to the major parties which are supposed to act as primary organizations which link the citizenry to governance. Nonetheless, the number of people who voted was higher by 2,598 than in 2014. The riding contains both the University of Windsor and St. Clair College; however given that the date of the election was moved by the Liberal government from October 2018 to June 2018 there was no possibility for a large mobilization of university and college students on their campuses which could have boosted turnout in the riding. At the time of making the change the Liberals claimed that it would contribute to boosting turnout due to better weather in June. The campaign in Windsor West was an example of how the party system operates to either completely suppress the concerns of the people or reduce them to a ping pong match where concerns are used to score points against rivals. This is how the building of a new mega-hospital was used […]
News: Results in Windsor West — The riding was won by the incumbent NDP candidate Lisa Gretzky whose vote increased by 5,278 from what it was in 2014. The Progressive Conservative (PC) candidate Adam Ibrahim received the second most votes with 11,073, an increase of 5,813 from 2014 when the PC candidate received 5,260 votes. The PCs replaced the Liberals as the second party in the riding. Ibrahim presented himself as a representative of the “new PC Party” as opposed to the party of Mike Harris. The Liberal candidate Rino Bortolin received 5,762 votes compared to the 13,976 votes that went to the Liberals in 2014, a drop of 8,716. It is likely that some of those who deserted the Liberals in the riding voted NDP on the basis of trying to stop a PC majority. Bortolin had sought to distance himself from the Liberal government during the campaign, openly telling Kathleen Wynne not to come to the riding; he was better off on the basis of his own personal “brand.” In the 2014 election Liberal cabinet minister Teresa Piruzza lost her seat to the NDP candidate at the hands of the working people of the riding by 1,022 votes. […]
Announcement: Arts Council of Windsor Shared Cultural Spaces Panel Discussion — On June 14, the Arts Council of Windsor and Region and the Downtown Windsor Community Collaborative is holding a panel discussion with guests working in different art spaces from across Ontario and Detroit to share experiences about the importance of shared cultural spaces and the need for such spaces in Windsor. “There is growing interest in understanding community-based arts institutions and their potential impact on neighbourhood revitalization. Shared art spaces function as a way to build social networks that contribute to both community revitalization and artistic development for both artists and art organizations,” they state. Panelists include: Faina Lerman — Popps Packing (Detroit, MI) Jennie Robinson Faber — Toronto Media Arts Centre/Dames Making Games (Toronto, ON) Chris Gehman — Vtape (Toronto, ON) The event will be held at 7:00 pm at The Foundry Pub, 459 Ouellette Ave., Windsor.
News: The Results in Windsor-Tecumseh — Windsor-Tecumseh is a working class riding in the heart of one of Ontario’s automotive and industrial centers. The voter turnout in the riding had been one of the lowest in the province at 43 per cent in the 2014 provincial election. This time it increased to 49 per cent, still 10 per cent below the provincial average. There were 43,179 valid votes cast. (The number of spoiled, rejected and declined ballots will not be published for six months.) The NDP won the riding with the vote for incumbent Percy Hatfield going up from 22,826 in 2014 to 25,221 — an increase of 2,395 votes. It was well known that Hatfield would likely win the riding again. The Liberal vote collapsed even further from where it stood following the resignation of Dwight Duncan, the former Liberal MPP and Ontario Finance Minister who led the charge for the McGuinty government against teachers and education workers and all public sector workers with Bill 115. This time the Liberal vote went from 5,605 to 3,513, a drop of 2,092 votes. The Progressive Conservative (PC) vote went from 5,485 to 11,675, an increase of 6,190 votes. This was 2,981 […]
News: Student Vote Results — Student Vote is run by elementary and secondary teachers in their schools. Students learn about candidates and parties running in the provincial election and then participate in a parallel vote in their schools. Some schools invite candidates to speak to students, while others have students do research on the candidates and parties prior to voting. How students participate is up to their particular school. As of 4:00 pm on June 7, province-wide some 2,166 schools had reported their election results, representing all 124 electoral districts in the province. In total, 280,691 ballots were cast by student participants. There were 268,091 accepted ballots, 7,103 rejected ballots, 2,562 declined ballots and 2,935 unmarked ballots. Student Vote reports that participation increased by more than 60 per cent compared to the 2014 Ontario provincial election. In that election, 173,072 votes were reported from 1,388 schools. Below are the results provided from Student Vote for the province of Ontario followed by those for Windsor area ridings, including the results in each participating school in these ridings. Political Party Seat Count Seat % Vote Count Vote % Ontario NDP/NPD 66 53.23% 86,564 32.32% PC Party of Ontario 45 36.29% 71,648 26.75% […]
News: 2018 Ontario General Election Province-Wide Results — Posted below are the overall voting results of the 2018 Ontario General Election, as of June 8, 5:46 am, with 8410 of 8419 polls reporting, as provided by Elections Ontario. Stay tuned for further news, analysis and views on the election results. Percentage of polls reporting: 99.89 % Registered Electors on List: 9,888,888 Voter turnout (Province-wide): 58.00 % Political Party Number of Seats Won or Leading Number of Votes Percentage of Votes Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario 76 2,322,422 40.49 % New Democratic Party of Ontario 40 1,925,574 33.57 % Ontario Liberal Party 7 1,123,283 19.59 % Green Party of Ontario 1 263,987 4.60 % Ontario Libertarian Party 0 42,918 0.75 % None of the Above Direct Democracy Party 0 16,186 0.28 % Independent 0 8,644 0.15 % Trillium Party of Ontario 0 8,178 0.14 % Northern Ontario Party 0 5,802 0.10 % Consensus Ontario 0 2,684 0.05 % Freedom Party of Ontario 0 2,567 0.04 % Ontario Party 0 2,310 0.04 % Ontario Moderate Party 0 2,191 0.04 % Communist 0 1,471 0.03 % Canadians’ Choice Party 0 1,234 0.02 % Stop the New Sex-Ed […]
News: Election Results for Windsor Area Ridings — Congratulations to Windsor area candidates who won tonight and a very big thank you to all of you who helped my campaign in so many ways. It was a great experience and now that the election is over, there is a lot to discuss. I invite you to continue checking this site for news, analysis and views on the election results. How to hold the new government to account is a new challenge which we can definitely tackle so long as we stay together and hold firm. This website, empoweryourselfnow.ca, will continue to post updates and reports on matters of concern so send your news, announcements, reports, photos, comments and concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org With best wishes for the continued success of our work for democratic renewal, Laura Chesnik Below are the election results for the Windsor and area ridings. WINDSOR-TECUMSEH Remy Boulbol — Liberal 3,513 Laura Chesnik — Independent 863 Percy Hatfield — NDP 25,221 Mohammad Latif — Progressive Conservative 11,675 Henry Oulevey — Green 1,907 Voter turnout: 48.20 % WINDSOR WEST Rino Bortolin — Liberal 5,762 Chad Durocher — None of the Above Direct Democracy Party 435 Krysta Glovasky-Ridsdale — Green […]
News: June 7 Voting Information — Today is election day across Ontario. Polls open at 9:00 am and close at 9:00 pm. Any Canadian citizen who lives in the riding and is at least 18 years of age is eligible to vote in the riding of Windsor-Tecumseh. If your work schedule does not already provide three consecutive hours of time off during polling hours you are entitled to three consecutive hours of time off without a reduction in pay. If time off is to be given during the work day, the time is to be determined by the employer. If you have received a voter information card from Elections Ontario in the mail indicating the poll location where you should vote then you are registered and on the voters list and only need to present a piece of ID that shows your name in order to vote. If you haven’t received the card, you may not be registered to vote. You can still vote by registering at your poll location. The location where you must vote can be found using the Voter Information Service at www.elections.on.ca or by calling Elections Ontario at 1-888-668-8683. For acceptable types of ID for those […]
Views: How Will Having an Independent at Queen’s Park Make a Difference? — All of us together know the conditions of the different sectors of the economy in which we work and in our lives and communities yet we’re blocked from making the decisions which affect our lives. This is because governments are formed by parties which set agendas according to what marketing companies say will get them elected. Once they are in power, we see the level of corruption. They serve private interests while presenting excuses which blame the people for the problems. It looks like electing an independent is useless but this is not the case. We have our own minds and voices. It would in fact open lines of communication which presently do not exist — from the Legislature to the community. At present we only find out what is happening at Queen’s Park through distorted media accounts which are often more inclined to arouse passions than inform the public. The process does not permit us to work out our own opinions on the matters and speak out publicly for positions that favour the interests of the people, not those of the rich. Our elected representatives should […]
Views: Extracts of Letters and Comments — Laura’s campaign calls on everyone to “Empower Yourself Now!” by voting for her as an independent. She brings her experience fighting for the rights of teachers and education workers for proper working conditions, which in turn affirms the right to education of the youth. She stands for the rights of all. Voting for Laura is also a way to reject the unacceptable party-dominated system of electoral politics that blocks people from having a say in all the matters that affect their lives. The issue of empowering ourselves is an ongoing issue. Come June 8, while the particular circumstances facing us will change, this fundamental issue will remain and Laura will continue to take it up for solution. A Tecumseh resident wrote: “I think it’s important to have Laura as an independent candidate in Windsor Tecumseh. Why should people waste their vote on one of the major parties, especially when they give themselves the right to do whatever they want once in office? I think voting for Laura is a way to make our vote count. That’s how I’m empowering myself now!” Another said: “The town halls, round tables and other actions held here […]
News: Windsor Casino Workers Ratify Tentative Agreement — June 4. Caesars Windsor workers ratified the third tentative agreement presented to them by a vote of 75 per cent after being on strike for over 60 days. The latest agreement was reached between their union Unifor Local 444 and the U.S. corporation Caesars Entertainment on June 2. The highlights of the three-year deal, according to an outline provided by the union, include the following changes from the prior tentative agreement rejected by the workers: pay raises in years 1, 2 and 3 respectively go from $0.75, $0.50, $0.50 to $0.75, $0.75, $0.25; retirement incentives, and a letter of understanding that the company has no plans to “close any existing food service outlet or eliminate/contract out any department within the bargaining unit during the term of the new collective agreement.” Ontario has 25 slots and casino locations employing some 16,800 people in food, hospitality, security and gaming. When workers defend their wages and working conditions and oppose contracting out in one location, it contributes to workers doing the same in the others. Congratulations to the Caesars Windsor workers for standing firm.
Concerns: Heat in the Schools — With the warm temperatures in Windsor, Essex County and other parts of the province, many teachers and education workers and their students are working and learning in stifling conditions. There are no temperature limits for schools or other educational institutions defined in either the Education Act, the Employment Standards Act or the Occupational Health and Safety Act. It is not uncommon for teachers, education workers and their students to receive correspondence warning of “extreme heat” and that outline the symptoms of heat exhaustion. These symptoms can include: fatigue, nausea, headache, excessive thirst, muscle aches and cramps, weakness, confusion or anxiety, drenching sweats (often accompanied by cold, clammy skin or a sensation of prickly skin), slowed or weakened heartbeat, dizziness, fainting, agitation, dehydration, fatigue, dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea or fainting. Hot temperatures in the schools is a very solvable problem. Buildings could be retrofitted with air conditioners so that teachers, education workers and their students have proper conditions for working and learning. Whether older schools should be kept open or not is not the main issue. The main issue is what conditions in the schools are required to affirm the rights of those who use them. […]
Place Names in Windsor-Tecumseh — The names of major roads in Windsor-Essex have a long history. The rivers and lakes that surround Windsor-Essex were both a vital resource, means of travel and communication for the First Nations and early settlers. There was a Huron village on the Detroit River at the end of the Huron Trail (now Huron Church Road leading to the Ambassador Bridge) and an Ottawa village on the river on east side of Windsor. (Ottawa Street which runs east to west between the ridings of Windsor West and Windsor-Tecumseh.) As the French settled along the Detroit river each family had a small frontage on the Detroit River. Running back from the river were long narrow strip farms. Today the names of streets that begin at the river reflect this pattern of settlement. Ouellette Ave., Drouillard Rd., Parent Ave., Pillette Ave., and Lesperance Rd. are all family names of early French settlers which are now major arteries running north-south through the ridings of Windsor West and Windsor-Tecumseh.
Views: What Is Happening with Teachers’ Pensions? — In conversations with teachers during this election campaign a question that keeps coming up is what the government is up to with our pension plans. Since 2016, Ontario’s Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk, an officer of the Legislature, has been raising the alarm about the government’s accounting practices. In her pre-election review of its financial projections she noted that the government is forecasting revenues from the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and insufficient pension expense for the Ontario Public Service Employees’ Union Pension Plan. Our pension funds however are not a government asset. They belong to us. According to Lysyk the pensions are not a “true asset” because the government does not have the unilateral legal right to withdraw funds from the plans or reduce future minimum contributions to the plans without the express agreement of the plans’ joint sponsors. The sponsors of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan are the Ontario Teachers’ Federation (OTF) and the Ontario government. Each appoint five members to the plan’s Board and together, they select the chair. Each Board member is appointed for a two-year term and can serve for up to four consecutive terms. The OTF is overseen […]
Concerns: The Need to Properly Fund Hospitals and Paramedic Services — Jason Fraser, Chair of CUPE Ambulance Committee of Ontario says: We want whichever of the political parties is elected to take a look at the services that Ontario paramedics provide and realize that they need to invest in paramedic services right away. They must take an overall look at health care and properly fund hospitals so that appropriate bed allocations are made to alleviate the pressures on hospitals and paramedic services. If hospitals are not being properly funded and are not receiving the appropriate bed allocations, emergency departments get backlogged with patients who should potentially be admitted to one of the floors. If no bed is available on the floor, the patient gets held up in the emergency department occupying one of its beds. When paramedics arrive with a patient on an ambulance stretcher, there is no available bed to move that patient over to. Proper funding is needed throughout an entire hospital to allow proper patient flow within the hospital as well as patient flow from paramedic services into the hospital system. As paramedic services’ call volume is increasing dramatically, they are in need of more funding in […]
Concerns: Opposition to Privatization of Public Services — Jack Jackson, President of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1572 in Mississauga says: We are pushing to have public services kept in the hands of the public. In my case it is transit, in other cases it may be health care, etc. It is not just the ATU but all the unions are pushing it. There is the “We Own It campaign” by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union as well. What we are pushing for is that politicians at all levels understand and support the keeping of public services in the hands of the public. We saw a little bit of movement with respect to Toronto recently. The Toronto City Council passed a motion which declares that transit in the municipality remains public and must continue to be operated and maintained by the Toronto Transit Commission. That is only half of a gain because at the end of the day there is the high likelihood that Metrolinx or the province may respond by saying, “You can operate it but you still have to fund it, maintain it, design it and build it” which obviously they are not in a position […]
Report: Injured Workers Affirm “Workers’ Comp Is a Right!” — June 1. A spirited action on Injured Workers’ Day took place in Windsor in front of the offices of the Workplace Safety Insurance Board (WSIB). The action was part of the province-wide Injured Workers’ Day and the campaign for workers’ compensation to be guaranteed for all workers as a right. Injured workers are some of the most vulnerable in society. The workers’ compensation system, paid into by employers, is supposed to ensure they can live in dignity despite being injured. Instead, more and more governments treat them as a cost to be reduced or eliminated. This is unjust and working people across the country do not accept this treatment of their fellow workers. This year’s action in Windsor also commemorated the late Rolly Marentette, a longtime activist for workers’ health and safety in Windsor who always called on working people to speak for themselves especially in exercise of their right to refuse unsafe work and in defending injured workers against unjust treatment by government agencies such as the WSIB. Laura Chesnik attended the event as she has each year representing her union, the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario. ETFO has […]
Concerns: Peterborough General Electric Retirees Propose Reforms to Workers’ Comp — The following “Manifesto for a Reformed, Just, and Democratic Workers’ Compensation System” was circulated at the June 1 Ontario Injured Workers’ Day Rally in Toronto by the GE Retirees Occupational Health Advisory Committee, Unifor Local 524. _____ WORKERS’ COMPENSATION IN CRISIS: Ontario’s worker compensation system is in crisis when it comes to fair and just compensation for injured workers. Not a day goes by without a news story describing serious injustices carried out by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB). Shockingly, these are just a small fragment of what workers and their representatives have been reporting about the Board’s questionable practices, designed to deny claims or cut benefits. Historically, the Board’s current practices represent a major deviation from the founding principles set out by Chief Justice William Meredith in 1914. These founding principles were set to create a “no-fault workers’ compensation” system, to assist workers injured or made sick from work. WHAT’S IN A NAME? A great deal! Workers’ compensation has evolved into a system that largely serves the interests of the employers. This is reflected in the change of name from “The Workers’ Compensation Board” to a […]
Campaign: Electors in Windsor-Tecumseh Empower Themselves! — Go all out on June 7 to elect an independent MPP in Windsor-Tecumseh!
Concerns: New Windsor Hospital Instead of Not in Addition to Existing Hospitals — The Ontario Health Coalition issued a Briefing Note on June 1 concerning the plan for hospital amalgamation in Windsor and the building of a new hospital in the region. Below is the introduction: It appears that a significant proportion of Windsor residents have been confused by the public relations messaging regarding the hospital. The new Windsor hospital is not planned in addition to the existing hospitals. It is instead of them: it is not an “add on”; it is a take away. Windsor will go down from its two remaining hospitals to one. Despite the rhetoric of “mega” hospital used by the hospital CEO and PR people, the hospital is planning to open no additional bed capacity with the opening of the new hospital and already this number of beds is too few to meet the community’s need. Please note: the body of evidence from across Ontario is that new hospitals always have fewer beds than projected, so we are deeply concerned that the so called mega-hospital will in fact be smaller, in terms of patient capacity, than the existing hospitals. To be clear, the plan for […]
Campaign: Empower Yourself Now Banner — Empower Yourself Now banner on Tecumseh Rd., just east of Clover Ave. in Forest Glade. This area of the city includes a number of polls where the abstention rate was 75 per cent or higher in the 2014 election. “I want to make sure people know there is another option in Windsor-Tecumseh,” the homeowner said. With an independent candidate these working people have an alternative to vote for.
Campaign: Laura Chesnik Speaks on YourTV — Laura Chesnik, Independent Candidate for Windsor-Tecumseh, recently spoke on local cable channel YourTV Windsor about her campaign — Empower Yourself Now. Please share the video with friends and family. Your action can ensure more electors in Windsor-Tecumseh can cast an informed vote! Instructions for Sharing To share, you can copy and paste the video’s link by right-clicking on it and selecting “Copy video URL,” then paste this into an email or on social media. Or, select the share icon on the top right hand corner of the video and select a social media platform to use.
Concerns: Importance of the Arts in Society — The following are answers to questions submitted to independent candidate in Windsor-Tecumseh Laura Chesnik by the Arts Council of Windsor and Region. Arts Council of Windsor and Region: What is your background in the arts? Laura Chesnik: I am a teacher. Teachers must teach the arts as part of the Ontario curriculum. However having it in the curriculum does not ensure it is a right and that the youth are getting the arts education society requires. One of my first teaching experiences was a temporary long-term position in a grade 7 class where the teacher I was replacing was a fine arts major. The quality of her students’ art and their confidence was amazing. This really showed me that to have the arts play the important role that they should in society, of giving expression to the human condition and inspiring people, it cannot be left up to chance or a family’s wealth or background. Having access to the arts and arts education is a right of humanity and governments must affirm this right. This means more than just writing it into the curriculum. Everyone is not equal in ability. Ensuring arts […]
Concerns: The Need for Investment in the Arts — A newly formed movement called Ontarians for the Arts is calling for increased investment in the arts and speaking out in this election to promote the benefits of the arts “in every city, community and reserve in every corner of the province.” They have issued a call to action in the election to whomever forms the next government. Among their priorities, Ontarians for the Arts requests that the following recommendations be implemented in short order, ideally by Budget 2019: “Create an infrastructure investment program that facilitates Ontarians’ access to arts and culture, and helps leverage federal investments, with a $30M annual base allocation for the next 10 years. “Follow through on the current increases planned for the Ontario Arts Council (OAC) to $80M base by 2020-21 and commit to increasing the OAC’s funding base to $160M by 2025-26 to ensure greater accessibility to the arts for Ontarians, while adapting to changing demographics. “Advocate with Federal counterparts to ensure that Ontario’s leadership role in Canada’s vibrant arts and culture scene is reflected in federal policy and funding decisions. “Set achievement and development guidelines to ensure the arts education curriculum is prioritized and […]
Report: Labour Council Honours Activists — May 28. The Windsor and District Labour Council held its third annual Gary L. Parent Labour Activist Awards Reception at which nine members and retirees of its affiliated unions and a community partner were honoured for their contributions in different spheres. This year’s award winners were: Richard (Ric) Coronado – UNIFOR 444: Environment Maureen Curtis – United Way: Community Partner Mike Kisch – UNIFOR 2458: Clifton Grant Health & Safety Award Christine Maclin – UNIFOR 195: Human Rights Michelle Johnson – Canadian Union of Postal Workers 630: Political Action Rian Fortier – Greater Essex Elementary Teachers’ Federation: Public Education Advocacy Shelley Smith – UNIFOR 2458: Public Services Catherine Owen – Canadian Union of Postal Workers 630: Social Justice Darlene Jacobs – UNIFOR 2458: Women’s Tracie Edward – Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario, (formerly with Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation District 9): Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OCHOW) Rolly Marentette Health & Safety Award The contributions made by each activist show that working people are most concerned with defending the rights of all and in so doing they uphold the highest standards for the well-being of the society and its members and the environment.
Concerns: What Is Taking Place with Teachers’ Pensions? — In conversations with teachers during this election campaign a question that keeps coming up is what the government is up to with our pension plans. Since 2016, Ontario’s auditor general Bonnie Lysyk, an officer of the Legislature, has been raising the alarm about the government’s accounting practices. In her pre-election review of its financial projections she noted that the government is forecasting revenues from the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and insufficient pension expense for the Ontario Public Service Employees’ Union Pension Plan. The pension funds however do not constitute a “true asset” for the government according to Lysyk because it does not have the unilateral legal right to withdraw funds from the plans or reduce future minimum contributions to the plans without the express agreement of the plans’ joint sponsors. The sponsors of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan are the Ontario Teachers’ Federation (OTF) and the Ontario government. Each appoint five members to the plan’s Board and, together, they select the chair. Each Board member is appointed for a two-year term and can serve for up to four consecutive terms. The OTF is overseen by a Board of Governors made up […]
Report: Working People Speak Out on Matters of Concern — Working people across Ontario are fighting every day for their rights and pressing that their demands be met. During the election, more than ever, they are holding meetings, town halls, round tables and other activities to ensure they have an independent voice in the election and argue out how to intervene to make sure their concerns are heard. Discussion on How to Intervene in the Election in a Manner that Serves the Interests of the People Regular meetings in Hamilton have been held since January to discuss the issues facing working people and how they can empower themselves to defend their rights and the rights of all. Laura Joins Workers in Hamilton to Discuss Concerns Independent candidate for Windsor Tecumseh Laura Chesnik joined the lively discussion held in Hamilton on May 20. She exchanged views and experiences on matters of concern with steelworkers and informed them about her Empower Yourself Now campaign. Meeting in Sault Ste-Marie Demands Restoration of Rail Passenger Service The NorthEastern Ontario Rail Network (NEORN) held a summit in Sault Ste. Marie on April 19 to focus on their demand for the restoration of passenger rail service […]
Report: Workers’ Round Table in Windsor Discusses How Decisions Are Taken and by Whom — On May 27, a Workers’ Round Table was hosted by the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation District 9 and the Greater Essex Elementary Teachers’ Federation. Something that came up repeatedly was how decisions are taken by bodies that are not representative of those directly affected by the decisions. Local historian and activist Terrence Kennedy spoke of the fight of people living in Sandwich Town, west of the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor’s west end, against the schemes of the provincial and federal governments and the U.S. owner of the bridge to build a second span alongside the existing one in the heart of their community. Around 17,000 people live in what is called Sandwich Town, a historical settlement going back to the period before Europeans arrived in North America. Residents say locating a second bridge in their neighbourhood will cut the west end of Windsor off from the rest of the city even more than it already is. The Ambassador Bridge carries approximately 25 per cent of all trade between the U.S. and Canada. Because of air pollution in part due to the heavy truck and […]
Readers’ Questions: How Will Having an Independent at Queen’s Park Make a Difference? — Laura responds: All of us together know the conditions of the different sectors of the economy in which we work and in our lives and our communities, yet we’re blocked from making the decisions that affect them. This is because governments are formed by parties that set agendas according to what marketing companies say will get them elected. Once they are in power, we’ve seen the kind of corruption that takes place. These parties serve private interests while presenting excuses, even going so far as to blame the people for the problems. It may seem like electing an independent is useless, but this is not the case. We have our own minds and voices. Having an independent in the Legislature would in fact open lines of communication that presently do not exist — from the Legislature to the community and back. At present, we only find out what is happening at Queen’s Park through distorted media accounts that often end up getting people worked up rather than informing them so they can calmly consider the issues. This does not permit us to work out our own […]
About Windsor-Tecumseh: Chief Tecumseh — The namesake of the town of Tecumseh in the riding of Windsor-Tecumseh is Chief Tecumseh. Chief Tecumseh was leader of the First Nations Confederacy that was formed to resist U.S. encroachment on aboriginal land in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Tecumseh’s entire life was spent resisting this encroachment. His people had been forced to move five times. His father and brother had been killed in fighting the U.S. military and settlers. Betrayed by broken promises and dishonest treaties, Tecumseh believed that only by joining together and returning to traditional values could his people be saved. Tecumseh united the tribes based on his conviction that the land and the people were one; a people cannot be alienated from their ancestral land. Their hereditary rights are also inalienable. An inalienable right means you cannot lose it, no matter what. It belongs to you by virtue of your being. In June 1812 the United States declared war on Britain. For his entire life Tecumseh had regarded the U.S. as the natural enemy of his people. He believed that joining forces with the British offered a chance for his people to regain their land. During the war, […]
About Windsor-Tecumseh: Recreational Soccer — In the riding of Windsor-Tecumseh there are three main recreational soccer clubs, where recreational means that everyone can play regardless of ability. They are: the Windsor Soccer Club, the Tecumseh Recreational Soccer Club and McAuliffe Park Sports (which also offers recreational baseball). The Windsor Soccer Club has been around since 1971. The Tecumseh Recreational Soccer Club was formed in 1999. The Windsor Soccer Club provides recreational soccer for kids aged 4 to 18 at the Ford Test Track, a facility owned by the City of Windsor previously owned by Ford Motor Company’s as its track for testing vehicles. The Tecumseh Recreational Soccer Club has its games in multiple locations in and around the town of Tecumseh. McAuliffe Park Sports plays at its namesake. In recent years clubs have indicated that they are having trouble finding coaches. They are forced to send out multiple appeals to parents of registered kids that if they do not find coaches teams could fold or multiple age levels will be amalgamated based on the number of coaches available. The government should be affirming the right of young people to recreational sport. It should assist the schools to provide sports and […]
Injured Workers’ Day, June 1: Demand Workers’ Compensation as a Right! Windsor Injured Workers’ Day Rally Friday, June 1 — 4:00 pm WSIB, 2485 Ouellette Organized by Windsor and District Labour Council The right to workers’ compensation is an issue for all of society — anyone could be injured at work, affecting their ability to provide a livelihood for themselves and their family. A campaign has been underway since last fall to affirm that workers’ compensation is a right — it must be there when people need it so that they can live in dignity when they have been injured or made ill at work. The attempts by the Workplace Safety Insurance Board (WSIB) to marginalize injured workers and deprive them of their just compensation is unacceptable and must be ended. The demand that workers’ compensation is a right will be heard at Injured Workers’ Day rallies across Ontario on June 1. Join the rally at the Windsor offices of the WSIB on June 1. Workers’ Compensation Is a Right! Make the Demand Heard in This Election!
Concerns: Unacceptable Poverty Levels in Ontario — It is estimated by Statistics Canada that over two million people (14.3 per cent) in Ontario live in poverty. This figure is based on a poverty level established at 50 per cent of the median Canadian household income and is called the Low-Income Measure. Among the poorest of the poor are people on social assistance. The two main social assistance programs in the province are Ontario Works (OW) and the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP). OW is described by the Ontario government as providing income support to people requiring financial assistance to cover costs of basic needs and providing employment assistance. It is considered a punitive program which is hard to access and whose recipients are harassed and deprived of benefits when they do not participate in government employment programs. Individuals on OW are forced to participate irrespective of their concrete situation. The ODSP program provides financial assistance and health-related benefits to people with disabilities who need help with living expenses. As of March 2018, there were 453,366 beneficiaries of OW benefits and 502,650 beneficiaries of ODSP benefits, a total of over 955,000 individuals. A single person on OW receives $721 a month, […]
Report: Injured Workers’ Bike Ride in Northern Ontario — The Ontario Network of Injured Workers’ Groups (ONIWG) kicked off the first leg its annual Justice Bike Ride in Northern Ontario on May 25 in Elliot Lake. The ride and related events continue in the region until May 28, leading up to Injured Workers’ Day events across the province on June 1. ONIWG began a campaign “Workers’ Comp Is a Right” last fall to defend the rights and dignity of injured workers and the right of all Ontarians to just compensation should they be made ill or get injured at work, to make sure this fight for rights is front and centre during this election. The problem of compensation for injured workers is not a problem just for injured workers and their families. It is a problem which concerns the society itself. Marginalizing injured workers and making them fend for themselves to get treatment and the compensation they need is not acceptable. Injured workers reject the unjust denial of benefits and impoverishment imposed on them by the Workplace Safety Insurance Board (WSIB) while it goes to great lengths to reduce premiums for the employers. ONIWG members have been very active in […]
Report: Mississauga Town Hall Says “Keep Public Services Public!” — May 22. Concerned Mississauga residents attended a town hall on Public Services and Privatization. Speakers gave examples of the deteriorating and even dangerous conditions privatization has caused in the hospitals, health care clinics and provincial jails, for snow removal on roads and highways, and for water purification. As the government cuts services and public sector jobs, it pays private companies to do jobs that end in failure, one speaker at the Mississauga event said. The super jail built in south Etobicoke by private investors, using a U.S. design and hardware, ended up with mould growing between the walls in just over a year and a lock-up system that could be sprung simply by pouring any liquid on the electronic locks. The government so far has not required the contractors or investors to pay for the repairs to the jail. According to one speaker, the private snow removal company the province hired failed to keep the roads clear while running up huge maintenance bills with local garages and service stations. The government not only bailed them out, paying all the outstanding bills, but paid the contract in full. A woman attending […]
Report: Barrie Injured Workers Hold Speak-Out — May 17, the Barrie District Injured Workers’ Group hosted a “Speak-Out on Matters of Concern in the Ontario Election.” The meeting was introduced by Christine Nugent, co-ordinator of the Barrie District Injured Workers’ Group, followed by Dianne Baddeley, Vice-President Central Region of Ontario Network of Injured Workers’ Groups (ONIWG) to explain the importance of ONIWG’s work to end the marginalization of injured workers. Peter Page, Executive Vice President of ONIWG, highlighted his organization’s campaign to see that workers’ compensation is enshrined as a right and that the underhanded methods used to unjustly deprive injured workers of their just compensation are ended. Peter is now in Northern Ontario taking part in the 2018 Justice Bike Ride. Rolf Gerstenberger, past President of USW Local 1005 of the Stelco steelworkers in Hamilton recalled the experience of dealing with fraudulent bankruptcies at Stelco/U.S. Steel. He said that the workers, by regularly discussing the problems they faced, always kept their calm so that they could find solutions despite all the difficulties and pressure they faced. Denis Nugent and Christina Chase-Nugent, teachers in the Simcoe County School Board spoke of the critical situation facing those working with at-risk and […]
Campaign: Young Workers Raise Concerns About Their Working Conditions — May 25. Independent candidate Laura Chesnik was invited to attend a social with local youth after they broke fast for Ramadan. The youth had questions about the elections and what it means to be an independent candidate. A number also raised concerns about their working conditions and the effects of government legislation on these conditions. Laura said that the most important thing is who decides our wages and working conditions. She explained that, like her campaign and those of working people fighting for the right to health care, education and other crucial matters, speaking for ourselves and organizing to work out solutions which are favourable to the people’s interests is what is most important. Young workers like other workers have to organize to speak for themselves about what they require and the kind of society and world they want. The government is creating a situation where it appears that people can get justice if they deal with the government directly and rely on it to defend their interests. Like everyone else — workers, women, seniors — the youth have to organize themselves in their collectives. The youth cannot afford to […]
Views: Credibility Crisis of Party System of Government — An issue in this election is how fed-up people are with the system of party government called a representative democracy. People don’t see themselves represented at all! The so-called major parties decide what are called election issues based on marketing strategies put forward by agencies that hire themselves out to parties around the world. To disguise anti-social aims and make sure people do not organize to speak for themselves, these “election issues” distort how things actually pose themselves or use scaremongering all to get these “major” parties elected at all costs. It is all done to disempower the people and instead meet demands of supranational interests. “Election issues” are fabricated on the basis of manipulative poll questions, focus groups and other private self-serving endeavours. Random individuals and groups are asked to express preferences which are mysteriously transformed into “what the people want” and the alleged majority opinion of the polity. I think people should reject this and vote for small party or independent candidates as a way to express this rejection. A teacher in Windsor
Get Involved: Join the Campaign for an Informed Vote and People’s Empowerment! — The electoral system and the monopoly media privilege the parties in the Legislature by providing millions of dollars from the public purse and free advertising to run their campaigns. Meanwhile, independent candidates like Laura Chesnik or small parties are treated as second class and deliberately hidden from the electorate. This status quo blocks the people from decision-making and is increasingly distasteful to the polity. In the 2014 provincial election, 57 per cent of eligible electors in Windsor-Tecumseh abstained from voting, to say nothing about those that held their noses and voted for what they considered to be the “lesser evil.” Let’s make a break from these politics of disempowerment and affirm that there are alternatives to the current state of affairs and direction for Ontario. Laura’s campaign is based on the principle that we as working people can speak for ourselves and must have a say in the affairs of our community, city and province. Join in this work for an informed vote and people’s empowerment. Laura’s team is out flyering in Windsor-Tecumseh during the day and every evening from 5:45-7:00 pm from now until June 6 […]
Concerns: Ending Privatization of Hospitals and How to Fund Social Services — Privatization of hospitals through public-private partnerships (P3s) is a serious concern for people in Windsor and across the province. At the Windsor and Essex County All Candidates’ Meeting on Health Care on May 22, Laura Chesnik pointed out that P3s are not only a problem in the construction of new hospitals, but also in how they are used to bring in new arrangements including contracting out and private managers. Laura called attention to how the overall aim of the parties that champion private interests for the health care at this time is how to use services within the system to hand over billions from the public treasury to private interests. “Take the issue of pharmacare and pharmaceuticals for example,” she said. “Both the Liberals and NDP have come out saying they will provide pharmacare to the population in Ontario. But what does this mean when these industries are not public and are used to make huge profits? Will they now be doing so from the public treasury?” “Why isn’t the government taking on pharmacare as an industry for itself where research can be done in public universities and […]
The Need to Fund the Electoral Process and Not Political Parties — One thing many Ontarians would be shocked to know is how much the political parties in the Legislature act to ensure their activities are funded by the state. These parties unanimously amended the Election Finances Act in December 2016 to give themselves state funding to compensate for a ban on corporate and trade union political contributions and limits on contributions from individuals. Even before this, these parties made sure they were reimbursed for their 2014 election expenses to the tune of $2.1 million while their individual candidates received a total of $3.1 million. The provision of state funding to political parties based on their performance in the previous election is patently unfair. It further destroys what is supposed to be a level playing field with everyone standing as equals in the exercise of their right to elect and to be elected. If state funds are to be provided to political parties and candidates, democratic principle would require all to be funded equally or none at all. To do otherwise only aggravates the crisis in the political system where fewer and fewer people consider themselves represented by the so-called […]
Concerns: E-Learning, an Important Matter for Teachers, Staff and Students — In speaking to teachers and education workers in this election, I am impressed by everything they are doing to find out what is taking place at their schools and how it affects their students, parents and, of course, their own teaching conditions. A concern a number are raising is how e-learning is being implemented and what is its aim. E-learning has emerged as very lucrative for private interests that see it as a way to make profit from the public education system. One example is the Waterloo-based company Desire 2 Learn (D2L), that has been given millions by the Ontario government in handouts to develop e-learning platforms and sell them abroad. They are also being paid through school boards across Canada and around the world who use public funds to pay for licenses. Former Premier Dalton McGuinty who was instrumental in bringing in this direction for Ontario’s education system went to work for D2L, lobbying governments, after he resigned. A major issue for teachers is that e-learning as a supplement to face-to-face classroom instruction, or what is called “blended learning” is being transformed almost completely into on-line instruction for […]
News: People’s Need for Decision-Making Power in Health Care — May 22. A coalition of social organizations held an all-candidates’ meeting at Windsor’s School of Social Work to provide a venue for candidates to address the public’s concerns on the state of health care, how funding for the system should be increased and how the system can be made to function to serve the people’s needs. The meeting was well-attended, with pointed questions and discussion coming from the audience. Speaking to the Windsor Star, Philippa von Ziegenweidt, spokesperson for Citizens for an Accountable Mega-hospital Planning Process (CAMPP) said the organizers’ aim was to make sure the public was informed about the stand of the candidates and who the candidates are. Notably, counter to the spirit of the event and the need for an informed electorate, the Windsor Star’s report only mentioned by name one NDP candidate, three Liberals and a PC, along with a passing reference to two nameless Green Party candidates. Independent candidate for Windsor-Tecumseh Laura Chesnik was also present at the meeting. Some of the most vigorous applause of the event came in response to Laura’s remarks when she reiterated that one of the biggest problems facing health […]
Workers’ Round Table to Ensure Workers’ Voice Is Heard in the Election Sunday, May 27 – 1:00-4:00 pm OSSTF District 9 Greater Essex 547 Victoria Ave., Windsor Hosted by OSSTF District 9 Greater Essex Facebook Working people in Windsor are holding another round table so that they themselves can speak about their concerns and how they think solutions can be implemented for problems they face. Join In!
Concerns About Health Care: Megahospitals vs Health Care Services Accessible to the Region — In the opinion of Laura Chesnik, the issue of the proposed megahospital in Windsor is one of who should decide what happens in health care and what’s needed. This is what she said to a meeting on May 22 which took up the discussion of health care needs. Laura gave the example of Citizens for an Accountable Megahospital Planning Process (CAMPP). “Those involved in that initiative are demanding that they be listened to, that they have something to say. However, what avenues are available to turn the discussion into action? Despite becoming very informed of the needs of the community and how the location of the current proposed site for the megahospital serves neither the city nor the county and despite organizing to inform members of the decision-making bodies about these issues, what they have to say has fallen on deaf ears. Why? Because the decision has already been made. Its not in our hands.” “This is a major problem,” Laura said. “How can it be that those who know the problems aren’t the ones making the decisions?” She also gave the example of the Local […]
Windsor Casino Workers Reject Second Tentative Agreement — On May 19 workers at Caesars Windsor casino and hotel rejected a second tentative agreement with a 53 per cent majority. The 2,300 Caesars’ workers are represented by Unifor Local 444. They launched their strike on April 6 after they rejected a previous tentative agreement by a majority of 59 per cent on April 5. The workers have the support of other working people seen in donations as well as visits to their picket line and participation in public rallies. The striking workers give a variety of reasons for the latest rejection including the wage package, increasing contracting out of restaurants and services within the casino which eliminates unionized jobs, concerns over security in retirement, working conditions and the lack of respect from their employer. Pitted against the workers’ claims on the oodles of money brought into the casino through gambling and concerts are the claims of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG), the City of Windsor, the U.S. corporation Caesars Entertainment which manages the casino and hotel, and other contracted-out enterprises within the casino. Representing these claimants, Kevin Laforet, regional president of Caesars Entertainment, after the vote rejecting the second […]
All Candidates’ Meeting on Health Care Tuesday, May 22, Doors open — 6:00 pm, Meet and Greet — 6:30 pm, Meeting starts at 6:30 pm, School of Social Work, 167 Ferry St. (at Pitt) The meeting is intended to inform voters and spur new dialogue about responsible and equitable plans to address the health of Windsor and Essex County, organizers say. Come to the meeting! Give your views and listen to what others have to say! The meeting is organized by a coalition consisting of the following organizations: Canadian Federation of University Women — Windsor Chapter; Citizens for an Accountable Mega-hospital Planning Process (CAMPP); Council of Canadians – Windsor-Essex Chapter; Ontario Council of Hospital Unions/CUPE (OCHU); Ontario Health Coalition — Windsor-Essex Chapter; Mega Hospital Mistake; Voices Against Poverty; WOW – Windsor on Watch. Questions Q1. In the last two decades, Ontario has built our new hospitals using a privatized “P3” private-public partnership model in which private multinational consortia fund and build our hospitals. According to Ontario Auditor General reports, the costs of P3s are much higher than if our hospitals were publicly funded. Billions of dollars could have been saved to date. Will you commit to stopping the P3 privatization […]
Record Number of Candidates Nominated to Contest Ontario General Election — May 19. Nominations in the 2018 Ontario General Election closed at 2:00 pm on May 17: 793 candidates are representing 28 registered political parties. In addition, there are 32 independent candidates and candidates with no affiliation for a total of 825 candidates. The Greens, Liberals, New Democrats and Progressive Conservatives all have candidates in each of the 124 electoral districts. The Libertarians have 117 candidates; the None of the Above Party 43; the Trillium Party 26 and the Ontario Moderate Party 16. Twenty other parties met the threshold of at least two candidates. The number of candidates is a record high. In 2014, there were 616 candidates representing 21 parties in 107 constituencies. Fifty-six per cent of NDP candidates are women; while 52 per cent of Green candidates, 46 per cent of Liberal candidates, and only 33 per cent of Progressive Conservative candidates are women. While the ballot lists the candidates’ party affiliation, information on how the candidates make their living is not readily available. From the ballot paper, a voter has no information as to the occupation of the candidate; whether they are a steelworker, nurse, teacher, a […]
Candidates in Four Windsor Area Ridings for June 7 Provincial Election — WINDSOR WEST Rino Bortolin — Liberal Chad Durocher — None of the Above Direct Democracy Party Krysta Glovasky-Ridsdale — Green Party Lisa Gretzky — NDP Adam Ibrahim — Progressive Conservative WINDSOR-TECUMSEH Remy Boulbol — Liberal Laura Chesnik — Independent Percy Hatfield — NDP Mohammad Latif — Progressive Conservative Henry Oulevey — Green ESSEX Kate Festeryga — Liberal Chris Lewis — Progressive Conservative Taras Natyshak — NDP Nancy Pancheshan — Green CHATHAM-KENT–LEAMINGTON Jordan McGrail — NDP Rick Nicholls — Progressive Conservative Margaret Schleier Stahl — Liberal Drew Barry John Simpson — Independent Mark Vercouteren — Green
May 17 : Nominations Close Today — Today at 2:00 pm nominations officially close for candidates in the June 7 Ontario election. Check back here tomorrow for a full listing of all candidates running in the four area ridings of Windsor West, Windsor-Tecumseh, Essex, and Chatham-Kent-Leamington.
Door-to-Door Work in Windsor-Tecumseh — May 17. Door to door work is always interesting. Residents speak their minds and provide many insights into how the party system of government affects their lives. Mostly, they are sick of parties coming to power and being able to do as they please once elected. Some are thinking they have to vote to block what they consider to be the “greater evil” from getting elected. Others see the significance of having an independent candidate and like the idea. They see how a government, comprised of people elected from amongst their peers who are known for defending their rights against the abuse of those with privilege, is an alternative to party government in the service of private interests. If anyone is interested in joining the door-to-door work in Windsor-Tecumseh with my campaign let us know! Laura@empoweryourselfnow.ca
How to Vote? Dilemma Facing Working People in Windsor — In the door-to-door work one of the issues raised most often has been the dilemma people are facing about how to vote. Many of the people we have spoken with have no confidence that any of the political parties will keep electoral promises if they form the government. Nonetheless they feel they have to vote for one of them to make their vote count. This then goes back to the original dilemma, how to vote to make your vote count? What criteria should be use to decide? Send in your views! Laura@empoweryourselfnow.ca
Many Teachers Happy to See Laura Run — Many of Laura’s teacher and education worker colleagues have responded with enthusiasm that one of their own is participating in the election to defend their rights and the rights of all. A number of teachers came forward to get Laura’s nomination papers signed and help distribute flyers. Laura represents our own fight for working conditions that correspond to the jobs we do and in opposition to arbitrary government dictate. Our teaching conditions are students’ learning conditions. It is a matter of concern for all parents as well. To date, no matter which government has been in office in Ontario, agendas are set by what serves a neo-liberal agenda of privatization of education and disenfranchisement of unions and school boards and others with decision-making power and influence. A vote for Laura makes a statement that we need those who are known to represent the people’s concerns in office because they will not conciliate with the dictate which serves private interests. A teacher in Windsor
Laura Joins Palestinian Commemoration Rally — May 15. See photo. Laura joined over a hundred others at a commemoration rally organized by university youth to permit the community to speak for themselves on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the expulsion by force of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homeland. This anniversary is known as Al Nakba (the catastrophe).
Laura Chesnik Officially Nominated — May 14. Laura Chesnik was officially registered with Elections Ontario as an Independent candidate in the riding of Windsor-Tecumseh! Photo below.
May 15: Laura Informs Chrysler Workers She Is Running for Election — Laura went to Chrysler’s Windsor Assembly Plant to inform workers that she is running for election in Windsor-Tecumseh (see photo below). Workers readily took the flyers with several taking extra flyers to distribute inside the plant. This is not the first time Laura has gone to the Chrysler plant gates to distribute literature which supports workers’ rights.
Thursday, May 17, 5:00-6:00 pm, Riverside Public Library, 6305 Wyandotte St. E. Discussion on the Ontario election as well as Laura’s campaign. Bring your questions, concerns and opinions. Everyone is welcome!
Democratic Voting at the Casino — With another election coming up, we’re once again heading with some degree of foreboding to another round of well rehearsed rhetoric from a whole host of eager candidates, all loaded up with well groomed predictions for our future if we’ll only vote for them. With so many irrelevant details, cheap shots and second rate commercials aimed at demeaning other candidates in the eyes of the electorate, elections have become something of a frustrating annoyance; all laced with carefully engineered ambiguity about one particular party’s plans for our future. It’s quite disheartening to see many candidates operate on the premise that the voting public is so lacking in common intelligence that they can be won over by simply making other candidates look foolish with tasteless, debasing remarks and frivolous, irrelevant details, often dug up from the distant past by uncouth candidates in a desperate effort to win at all cost. It appears that one of the rules in the “honourable” profession of politics is that it’s quite permissible to crudely drag some other guy through the sewer in hopes, I assume, the voters will suck it up; the rhetoric, that is. With all this said, […]
June 7 Ontario Election: Basic Information — The Ontario general election will be held on Thursday, June 7. Nominations for candidates close May 17 at 2:00 pm. Electors can vote by special ballot at the returning office in their riding from the day after the writ is dropped, May 10, until 6:00 pm on election day. Voters may also cast their ballot at the advance poll locations noted on their Voter Information Card. There are currently 107 seats in the Ontario Legislature: Liberals, 55 seats; PCs, 28 seats; NDP, 18 seats; Independent, 2; vacant, 4. (MPPs Jack MacLaren and former PC leader Patrick Brown were both kicked out of the PC Party caucus and sit as independents). There will be 17 new ridings in the June 7 election, for a total of 124. This necessarily changes the composition of many existing ridings. In the previous election a majority required 54 seats, which the Liberals attained at that time by winning 59 seats. Achieving a majority on June 7 will require 63 seats. The increased number and reorganization of ridings is due to legislation passed by the Liberal government to align provincial ridings with changes made to federal ridings in Ontario, […]
Workers Lead Discussion on the Direction They Want for Ontario — In this election, working people are leading an effort to hold forums, panel discussions, open mics and other activities where they themselves speak about their concerns and how they think solutions can be implemented for problems they face. Photos below.
Views: Urgent Need to Renew the Democratic Process — Today, a big problem faces the polity because of the way political parties come to power and how they make decisions and enact all kinds of legislation which goes against the interests of the people and their society. People are so opposed to the decisions taken, over which they exercise no control whatsoever, that the system called a representative democracy is in crisis. Government no longer appears to have the consent of the governed. Laura’s campaign for election as an independent who fights for the rights of all is a breath of fresh air. A retired autoworker
Views: Pre-Election Debate Underscores Fraud that Election Is “Free and Fair” — On Monday, May 7, City TV televised an Ontario leaders’ debate featuring the leaders of the Progressive Conservatives, the NDP and the ruling Liberal Party. The debate was aired before the election was officially called on Wednesday, May 9. It was aired before any of the leaders were officially registered as candidates and to the exclusion of the other political parties that are running in the June 7 general election. The decision of City TV to air a leaders’ debate before the official launch of the election campaign and its announcement that in tandem with Pollara Strategic Insights and Maclean’s magazine it will track the popularity of these three parties, illustrates contempt for a reasonable understanding of what constitutes “free and fair” elections. All candidates and political parties must present themselves for election within a strictly controlled regulatory system. This gives rise to a notion that they are equal. Amongst other things, candidates are not supposed to incur any expenses, nor accept any contributions, until the day they are officially registered. They can face prosecution if they put out lawn signs before they are officially registered or if […]
Views: Thinking Back to the 2014 Election — In the 2014 election, a disinformation campaign promoted Kathleen Wynne as the alternative to Tim Hudak. It declared the Liberal budget to be progressive and Andrea Horwath as betraying NDP values for forcing the election by turning down a ‘progressive’ budget. All the measures taken by the Liberal McGuinty/Wynne governments as concerns the privatization of social and public services and continuous pay-the-rich schemes magically disappeared and were attributed to the Hudak PCs. These Liberal government pay-the-rich schemes greatly contributed to the destruction of manufacturing in Ontario. Its attacks on the wages and working conditions of teachers and education workers, health care providers and other public sector workers, as well as against the most vulnerable, including injured workers are tearing apart the social fibre of the province, wrecking the economy and pushing down the living and working conditions of the working class. The disinformation campaign turned the reality upside down creating a singular spectre of Hudak as the enemy and presenting the Liberals as the saviours of Ontario working families. A kind of Stockholm Syndrome gripped these Liberal social forces within the workers’ movement. They promoted affection for the Liberal government, which just […]
Laura Chesnik has taught for 10 years at all levels from Junior Kindergarden to Grade 8. She currently teaches Grade 1 at Giles Campus French Immersion School with the Greater Essex County District School Board. She is a member of the Greater Essex Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario and union steward at her school. Laura was born and raised in Windsor. While in high school she worked at the St. Cyril’s Slovak Centre, attending to weddings and other functions and also worked at Tim Hortons. She was the top wrestler for her weight class in Southwestern, Ontario. Laura attended the University of Windsor (Bachelor of Arts 2004) and the University of Ottawa (Bachelor of Education 2007). At U of W Laura was elected Vice-President of University Affairs of the Students’ Alliance and student Senator to the University’s Senate. She played on the varsity rugby team. To put herself through university and teacher’s college, Laura worked on the assembly line at Chrysler, at Nemak’s aluminum castings plant, at Met hospital and in Chrysler’s call centre. To finish paying off her student debt she taught university students in China. She is an active member of the Windsor Peace Coalition and of the […]
Press Release May 10, 2018 Laura Chesnik – Independent Candidate in Windsor-Tecumseh Elementary teacher Laura Chesnik will be an independent candidate in the June 7 provincial election in the riding of Windsor-Tecumseh. She has informed her peers and fellow citizens in Windsor that she is running so that the people of Ontario can put MPPs in the Legislature who actually represent what people need and are fighting for. She represents what teachers and education workers have been fighting for and is known for that. “Our fight for our rights comes head to head with government dictate in the service of private interests,” Laura says. “It’s time we end this situation and affirm the right of all Ontarians to a high quality public education. This can be done by affirming the rights of teachers, education workers and students who are directly affected by the lack of required funding and privatization.” Laura explains: “Teachers have been fighting to affirm their right to have a say over their working conditions for some time now. We faced the dictate of the Liberal government supported by the PCs to impose contracts, to strip billions out of education and use this to pay the deficit […]