Pages Navigation Menu

Canadian Youth About Politics

Help students get back their extracurriculars! Scroll down to sign our petition!

Help students get back their extracurriculars! Scroll down to sign our petition!

As many of you have heard, on September 11, the Ontario government passed Bill 115, legislation that would freeze teachers’ wages, reduce their benefits, and ban teachers’ strikes for the next two years.  Frustrated by what has happened, but unable to strike due to the ban, teachers’ unions across Ontario have recommended that teachers do not volunteer with extracurricular activities as a sign of protest.  This means that many students across Ontario will lose their sports, clubs, and social events.

Students are understandably upset.  But frustration should be articulated in respectful manner, one that will cause the Ontario government and teachers’ unions to regard student opinions with respect, not disdain.  To help articulate students’ opinions, CANYAP has created a petition, an open letter, that you can sign to make your disapproval evident to both the government and teachers’ unions.  Students should not be the victims of a conflict they have no part in.  Students need to speak up.

And the time to speak up is now.  

14 Comments

  1. This is a good cause, but I feel that this article and the title of the article was extremely biased in that the bill was not the direct cause of the cancellation of extracurriculars but rather a voluntary move by the teacher’s union to use it as leverage in their discontent. Although the article does go on to explain that both the teachers and government are at fault, to say “speak up against bill 115″ is to put the government at blame for the student’s loss of extracurriculars, which is incorrect.

    • Hi Sam, thank for your reply. The clause of Bill 115 which prevents teachers from striking is the root cause of all this. That is what led them to use students as a bargaining chip, and although that’s not the right course of action, it still points to Bill 115 as the cause of all this. Revoking Bill 115, as some other petitions have demanded, is not the right course of action. That’s why we believe asking teachers unions and the government to put students first is the right course of action.

      • I agree with Sam. CANYAP should strive to be non-partisan. This petition comes much too close to taking sides.

        The language of the open letter suggests that the government is responsible for the actions of striking teachers. That is extremely misleading, as teachers are certainly not lacking agency.

        While I can appreciate that this issue is complicated and nuanced, some of the language in the open letter is a bit questionable from a non-partisan stand point.

        • I would argue that the petition is not partisan. First of all, it notes that wage cuts are a necessary and understandable measure, and does not ask the government to give teachers back their sick days but rather urges for further negotiations to take place. If the petition truly sided with the teachers, it wouldn’t point out that teachers are using students as a “bargaining chip”. I feel that this petition is going in the right direction. Some of the other petitions in the student realm are trying to revoke Bill 115, which of course will be difficult. This one puts students first by telling teachers unions and the government to put their differences aside for students.

          As for saying that the ban on strikes is unconstitutional, I don’t believe that suggests that the petition supports the teachers at all. The right to strike is something that teachers unions, among others, have had for years, and to take it away, as many critics have noted, is unconstitutional. CANYAP should be non-partisan, but not to the point of being sterile, and I think this petition does exactly that.

          • I think it’s important to let the courts decide what is and what is not constitutional.

            “Teachers should have the right to collectively bargain and protest what they feel is unjust.”

            This, in my opinion, indicates an actual position on an actual issue. I wouldn’t have a problem with the petition if it was calling for more youth involvement in discussions, or something along those lines. However, making declarative statements such as ” I understand that Bill 115 is a necessary measure to curb Ontario’s massive debt, but the banning of strikes held by teachers is unconstitutional” is definitely a statement which takes a particular position on this issue.

            I appreciate that the language within the petition was meticulously crafted. I think that it is inappropriate to lend throw this organizations weight behind any particular position on political issues which are currently in play.

            Why doesn’t the petition simply encourage the inclusion of students within discussions? Wouldn’t that accomplish the same goals without appearing to have partisan goals?

            CANYAP doesn’t need to be seen as taking activist positions. The optics don’t look good in my opinion. I understand that the petition was not designed to appear to be partisan. However, the language of the petition is too strong, and takes too many positions.

            I didn’t sign it.

        • Hey Mitch, I’ll try to reply to your last comment year (since the space for text is becoming increasingly narrow). I agree with you when you say that this petition has taken a position. But having a petition that just encourages youth inclusion in the events – what would that entail, specifically? The creation of a committee of youth that works as a liaison between teachers unions and the government? That’s unrealistic.
          CANYAP as a whole is about involvement in politics, but such a petition would be pointless because there’s a tacit understanding now that being involved is important – and for those who don’t understand, putting it in writing isn’t going to change a thing.

          Students (including me) are upset about losing their extracurriculars. Not everybody blames the same person, but everybody blames someone. From what I’ve seen, this petition has been commended in the student realm (in the numerous Facebook groups of students who have been created in response to the event). It’s gained support across a spectrum of views, from groups who believe teachers are at fault to groups that believe that the government is at fault. It embodies what most students feel and actually has a firm stance (though I still wouldn’t say it supports the teachers), something that students can hold on to.

          CANYAP could as easily have created a petition like the one you outlined, but I doubt it would get many signatures – it would be too ambiguous. By that, I’m not implying that this petition, at this moment, is successful (the more radical ones have got 1000+ signatures). I can understand and respect why you didn’t sign, but conversely, a petition you would have signed would not have been signed by many others.

          • No, I don’t think a student run organization would make an effective liaison between gov’t and teachers. That being said, encouraging the formation of political organizations and clubs promotes a healthier level of representation for those who have the most at stake in this whole debate. The message of the petition should be that the voice of students needs to be heard. They are the primary stakeholder in this whole thing.

            Simply condemning both sides for disagreeing with each other seems ineffective to me. There is still the issue of CANYAP’s position on the constitutionality of the bill.
            How did CANYAP come to the conclusion that the bill was unconstitutional?
            To me, a petition signed by a few hundred students that asserts such a thing is less likely to be taken seriously than a petition which condenmns neither side while calling for the primary stakeholders (the students) to have a louder voice in the matter.

            I’m not expecting to change the world with one petition, but I think that it is a purer message that adheres more closely to my understanding of what CANYAP is supposed to be about. If we can get the youth involved, they have the agency to make these types of decisions themselves.
            CANYAP should be promoting political awareness, and in turn, agency.

        • Well Mitch, it looks like they took your advice to heart.The content of the petition seems to have been revised.

    • I will tell you right now if this bill isnt stopped kids al over canada will drop from school quick it will make everything much worse than it is already

  2. this is needed! How dare teachers use us students as bait for the government?! taking away all of your clubs and sports basically makes the school a school and takes away everything that represents our school. i attend BCSS, without sports we’re just a school, not a family we call the BUCKS. teachers are selfish to do this to us due to the fact they make more than police oficers! This needs to stop, i NEED my prom and our schools NEED sports and clubs.

    • Your teachers only obligation is to teach you. Everything that they do outside of classes is voluntary…don’t forget that. Were they selfish for all those years leading up to BCSS? No…they did it coz they cared. The government has given them no alternative but to protest in this way. It’s the government that you should be upset with, not your teachers. Look at rhe big picture. PS. They don’t make more than cops!

      • The government took away teacher’s rights. Therefore, took away all extracurricular activities. If they were to blame, they would of done this while ago.

  3. Um there is a typo. It says “As a student, I urge the Ontario government to engage in further negotiation with the teachers’ unions concerning the issues covered by Bill 15.” Its bill 115 right? Bring back our teachers!

Leave a Reply