Government must stand up for Sears Pensioners and College Faculty

 

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(Paul at a rally with the Local 1005 to demonstrate support for Sears Pensioners)

 

Hello friends and neighbours,

October has been an eventful month. Over the past few weeks I have had the opportunity to get to know you all that much better at many events throughout our riding. Among the events I had the chance to participate in, was a rally with Local 1005 to show support for Sears employees. This is an important issue. Our province and country continue to allow pensioners and their families to suffer as wealthy millionaires walk away from pension failure scot-free.

The Ontario Government must boost the Pension Benefit Guarantee Fund so that all pensioners across Ontario are covered up to at least $2500 a month in the event that their pension plans go ‘belly up’. Kathleen Wynne also needs to put pressure on the Federal Liberals in Ottawa to make changes to the Companies’ Creditor Arrangement Act as well as Bankruptcy and Insolvency laws so that pensioners are paid in the order they deserve to be. This would be in line with my friend NDP MP Scott Duvall’s Private Member’s Bill, to be released this fall.

Along with the ever intensifying Sears problem, over the past few weeks our province has also borne witness to a heated labour dispute across Ontario college campuses. Many of you reading this may have been affected or know someone who has. There are certainly staff and students affected at Mohawk College’s Stoney Creek Campus.

For someone just tuning in to see this strike unfold, they might assume that the tension between college faculty and the colleges have only just arisen. However, these issues have been a problem for years.

Faculty and students have both been feeling the pinch. In the lead up to this strike, class sizes were growing out of control. As well, over 75% of professors teaching in the college system are part-time, and these professors are underpaid and over-worked. To top it off, resources are not adequate. How can students be getting the optimal learning experience learning in these conditions?

Both faculty and students want a fair deal to be hashed out so that they can get back to the classroom as soon as possible. I, along with my staff, have talked with many of you affected and I want to assure you that both groups have my full support.

If there is one politician to point a finger at for this strike, I know just who it should be. To give you a hint, her last name is Wynne and she is currently premier of Ontario (at least for now). The problem is that Ontario continues to have is a chronically underfunded college system.  This has become the norm over the 15 years that the Liberals have been in power.

If our province is really going to see change, it is up to this Ontario government to commit the necessary funding to make it happen. We need a reasonable, fair, and equitable solution.

Paul Miller

MPP Hamilton East-Stoney Creek

(Paul at a protest in front of Queen's Park alongside members of CUPE and OPSEU to support College Faculty and Students)

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