By Gerry Barker
Posted October 27, 2015
It is interesting to note that right here in Ontario, there are two trials going on.
One, is the drawn out trial of Senator Mike Duffy charged with 31 counts of conspiracy and bribery over his expenses as a senator. The 46-day trial was postponed until after the federal election and resumes this week.
The bribery charge against Duffy is accepting a $93,000 cheque from Nigel Wright, former chief of staff to then Prime Minister Stephen Harper. It was paid to shut down the growing scandal that threatened the Conservative government.
The prosecution is composed of lawyers employed by the Ontario government because the alleged offenses occurred in Ottawa.
In his new role of Prime Minister designate, Justin Trudeau would be wise to ask Premier Wynne to call off her legal hounds and wrap up the Duffy trial. Turn it back to the Senate for adjudication where it belonged in the first place.
The second trial is an avalanche of facts posted by the media totaling $7.1 million given to three teachers unions, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) locals who support the education system and the school boards.
Premier Kathleen Wynne has termed the practice “normal.” Minister of Education, Liz Sandals, MPP, Guelph, and her feckless response paying union negotiation costs was “actually has nothing to do with anything.” That sounds like a line from Seinfeld, “It’s a show about nothing.”
Those Looney Tune responses besmirch the offices of both women displaying a high degree of arrogance.
So, tell me, what’s the difference between Duffy charged with getting $93,000 to pay his travel expenses, and the government paying $7.1 million to settle demands of the teachers and support unions?
It’s like 50 Shades of Grey. In this case it’s the taxpayers and democratic principles that are getting royally screwed.
When all else fails, bribe them
The Wynne government has continually bribed the unions with special payments to settle contracts. It’s a practice that started three provincial elections ago.
It was only just revealed by the Globe and Mail last week when it obtained a secret, 42-page document detailing the bribes. Bribes totaling $2.5 million, given to the Ontario Secondary Teachers Federation, ($1 million) the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association (OECTA), ($1 million) and the French teacher union des enseignantes et des enseignantes franco-ontario (AEFO), ($500,000)
New evidence reveals that these same unions, receiving millions since 2007, have paid some $6.1 million supporting the Ontario Liberals in the last three elections.
The byzantine system of paying only the Liberal party and its candidates but it also included the teacher’s union-sponsored organization, Working Families of Ontario. It produced anti-Progressive Conservative TV ads aimed particularly at P.C. leader Tim Hudak in the 2014 provincial election.
In fact, the OSSTF largesse included giving money to three candidates in the 2013 Liberal Leadership race with $10,000 each to Kathleen Wynne and Eric Hoskins and $5,000 to Gerard Kennedy.
The teacher unions have steadfastly supported the Liberals and not the New Democrats who traditionally are supported by the labour movement.
In all these revelations, the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario (ETFO) has not received any negotiation funding from the government and refuses to accept it.
As a bloc, the members of the teachers unions have actively participated in political elections, supporting the Liberals but not only with money but on-the ground organizational help. With more than 100,000 members in three teacher’s unions, it presents a formidable political powerhouse.
Activist targets Guelph
For our Guelph readers, the recent claim by political activist Susan Watson about GrassRoots Guelph being a third party in last year’s civic election, pales in comparison in what the Liberal Party of Ontario has paid to education unions over the years to settle contracts.
Watson’s costly and fruitless exercise cost Guelph taxpayers $11,400. Tell us Susan, how much did your union friends contribute to the Farbridge campaign and her council supporters? Didn’t you argue that third party support in provincial and federal elections is not allowed?
The similarities still add up to bribes.
It has cost the Ontario government thousands of dollars to prosecute Mike Duffy for criminal charges.
As in the Duffy case, when do the police charge the Premier, the Minister of Education and the union leaders for conspiracy to bribe and thwart long established principles of avoiding such a serious conflict of interest?
In our opinion, there are two things that need to happen.
The first is to appoint a Royal Commission to investigate the circumstances of these millions of taxpayer dollars that have been spent both by the government and the unions for self interest. There is no separation of the source of these funds; it all came from the taxpayers.
Second, Minister Sandals should resign before she embarrasses herself any more than she already has. For her part, the Premier should apologize to the people of Ontario for being a party to these obvious illegal occurrences. That apology includes asking the legislature to approve forming a Royal Commission.