You will now have heard that this evening (October 15, 2012) Dalton McGuinty resigned as premier and prorogued the Ontario Legislature. This means that all legislative business comes to a halt and all legislation currently being considered dies on the order paper. When a new session of the Legislature is eventually convened, it will be a new session of parliament, accompanied by a Throne Speech. All legislation that was previously being considered will have to be re-introduced, along with any new legislation.
We do not know when the Legislature will meet again. The Liberals will be preoccupied with a leadership convention, and will likely not want the Legislature to be in session for a significant part of that period. A prorogued legislature will give the Liberals time to elect a new leader, present itself as a “new and refreshed” party, and gear up for an election — which could very well take place in the Spring, with a new budget.
In his resignation speech, the Premier also said that during the period that the Legislature is prorogued, the government would like to discuss a negotiated wage freeze with its labour “partners”, and failing that, with the support of at least one of the opposition parties, bring in wage freeze legislation. As he put it “two tasks lay ahead — first to negotiate wage freezes with public sectors unions; second, to work with the opposition to form a legislated plan that can pass the minority government. When the House returns we’re going to either have negotiated agreements in hand or a legislative plan supported by the opposition,” he said.
We will be seeking more information from our contacts in government, opposition parties and the bureaucracy on what the process may be going forward, and its implications. What will this mean for the draft “Protecting Public Services Act”, for the higher education initiative, for pension proposals? We don’t know at this point — but it is likely that a Liberal government with a new leader will still pursue some form of wage restraint (legislated or negotiated), pension reform designed to reduce costs and promoted “efficiencies”, and some higher education “reforms”.
At the OCUFA Board meeting on October 27, OCUFA’s Education and Mobilization plan will be discussed. It is now being redrafted to take account of the changes that were announced this evening and will be sent to you by the beginning of next week. And the October 26 pension workshop will also take into account the implications of the changes announced this evening.
We will keep you informed as more information comes available.
Mark Rosenfeld, Ph.D
Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations
83 Yonge Street, Suite 300
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5C 1S8
Tel: 416-979-2117 x229