Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told Ontario Premier Doug Ford on Wednesday that his previous use of the defiance clause in the law to keep education workers from going on strike was “wrong and inappropriate.”
“The Prime Minister stressed the importance of protecting the rights and freedoms of Canadians, including workers’ rights.” Trudeau told Fordaccording to the bulletin of the call provided by the Prime Minister’s Office.
“He made it clear that the pre-use of the notwithstanding clause of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms was wrong and inappropriate, and should only be used in the most exceptional circumstances.”
Ford’s Officemeanwhile, the prime minister told the prime minister that allowing education staff to strike would have an “unacceptable” impact on students after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic.
“He also reiterated that Ontario is determined, if necessary, to pass legislation to keep classrooms open and provide certainty and stability for parents and students now and in the future,” he said. newspaper provided by the province.
The union representing 55,000 affected education workers in Ontario says it still plans to hold a strike starting Friday and it will continue indefinitely, although new legislation is expected. to pass on Thursday would make it illegal.
The act says the government intends to invoke the defiance clause – which allows the legislature to override parts of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms for a period of five years – to keep the final law in place. enforceable despite any potential constitutional challenge.
The Liberals criticized the Ford government this week, with Trudeau previously describing the law as completely “wrong”.
Earlier on Wednesday, Trudeau said his government was reviewing its options in response to Ford’s use of the defiance clause.
He made brief comments in French outside the House of Commons shortly after NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh called for the federal government to do more.
Singh told reporters Wednesday afternoon: “We are seeing a clear attack on workers, on vulnerable workers and on workers’ rights. A response is needed. “, Singh told reporters.
“We’re open to putting any solution on the table and assessing if it works and if it helps workers’ interests.”
Federal Attorney General David Lametti did not question earlier Wednesday about possible options on the table.
“I’m not going to discuss options here,” he told the Liberal caucus, although “there are a number of different things one can do.”
Lametti said previous use of the term was “very serious” and “anti-democratic.”
“It’s Canadian democracy,” he said. “It means the Charter doesn’t exist.”
An NDP MP, Matthew Green, has called on the House of Commons to hold an urgent debate on the matter on Wednesday afternoon.
He called Ford’s government “authoritarian” and accused the prime minister of being a “liar” who was misleading the people of Ontario about the impact of choosing to use the disregard clause.
“This particular case could set a precedent for provincial governments across the country that could seek to use this to further undermine workers’ right to collective agreement,” Green told reporters. pill earlier in the day.
The deputy speaker of the House of Representatives rejected the request, saying that the conditions for an emergency debate had not been met.
Green also called on the House of Commons to unanimously condemn the Ford act on Wednesday afternoon, but several Conservative MPs voted against his proposal.
Trudeau and others have called for the federal Conservative Party to respond, but MPs en route to the Conservative Party caucus on Wednesday morning declined to comment.
The Employees’ Association of Canada, which represents workers, issued a counter-offer Tuesday night in response to contractual provisions imposed in the law but did not provide details on the proposal.
Ontario’s education minister has hinted that there won’t be much movement at the bargaining table this week and stressed that any new offer from the union must include the cancellation of the strike.
This report by the Canadian Press was first published on November 2, 2022.