OSSTF former Prez weighs in on Coran controversy

Paul Elliot

Malcolm Buchanan

MalcolmBuchanan (above right) , former Provincial OSSTF President and General Secretary, has given  permission for the sharing of this e-mail that he sent to Paul Elliot, the new Prez of OSSTF.

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Paul Elliot
President
Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation
60 Mobile Drive
Toronto, Ontario.
M4A 2P3

July 11, 2013

Dear Brother Paul,

Congratulations on your election to the position of President of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation [OSSTF].

As President you will be confronted with many challenges.

Unfortunately, Ken Coran has presented you with a major problem that may define your presidency. If you wish to maintain the support and integrity of the OSSTF membership and the trade union movement you and members of the provincial executive must publicly distance yourselves from Ken’s misguided quest to become a Liberal MPP for the riding of London West.

Ken has every right to seek elected office as a Liberal MPP. However, his decision has created serious doubts in many current and retired OSSTF members minds as to his loyalty to Federation positions, policies and principles, especially the principles of free collective bargaining and democratic rights of members.

If the Federation does not publicly distance itself from Ken and the Liberal Government, the Federation will be viewed as being complicit in his self-serving endeavours. The optics for the Federation are terrible given the Federations and members opposition to Bill 115. Ken has stated that he was asked by Premier Wynne to accept the nomination in London West on behalf of the Ontario Liberal Party and that this is a ‘new’ Liberal Government. Remember, Kathleen Wynne is on record as strongly supporting Bill 115. She is also on record as saying that public sector compensation increases for the foreseeable future will be limited to no more than 1% if that.

What is also problematic is that Ken, while still President, endorsed the candidacy of the NDP candidate for London West by-election. This has further undermined Ken’s credibility.

I have been informed that many OSSTF members in the London area are dismayed by Ken’s decision to seek elected office as a Liberal MPP given the Federations opposition to Bill 115. Many have volunteered to work for the NDP candidate.

OSSTF has a proud history of being a progressive union. It has been supportive of the OFL and CLC campaigns to protect the democratic and collective bargaining rights for all workers. OSSTF has been the champion for building and maintaining a strong public school system.

This proud record is on the line.

It is essential that the Federation publicly states that it does not support Ken Coran’s campaign and will encourage OSSTF members not to support him.

Good luck in your Presidency.

Fraternally,

Malcolm Buchanan

OSSTF Life Member

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Coran moves on

Coran_McGuinty-birds of feather

Early this morning, July 1st,  I sent this e-mail to Paul Elliot, new OSSTF President, and the other members of the Provincial Executive. Paul’s reply was prompt as was mine to him.

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Dear PE members

The news of Ken Coran’s potential career move to become a Liberal MPP has either shocked many ordinary OSSTF members or has confirmed them in their already growing cynicism. Maybe a bit of both.

A group of OSSTF activists in the GTA would like to meet with you to discuss the impact of this decision. Among the things we’d like to talk about are:

  • the possibility of the PE issuing a statement disassociating themselves from Ken’s move; the purpose of such a statement would not be to make a personal condemnation of a former leader but to counter the cynicism and disaffection that is growing in the ranks;
  • Making a clear statement for the upcoming by-elections that any political intervention from OSSTF, whether through offering financial or human resources, shall not be directed to Liberal candidates.

60 Mobile Drive would be a convenient place to meet. Please suggest a time, preferably in the morning. Thanks for your time.

In solidarity

Tim

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Good morning Tim,

I’m sure this won’t come as a surprise to you, but the PE does not have a protocol  established to meet delegations from districts or bargaining units. I’m sure that you would  understand that with over 60,000 members the bylaws of OSSTF have well established protocols for the calling of Provincial Council meetings where the concerns of locals may be addressed. I suggest that your issues are raised through the regular channels of working with your local bargaining unit.

Paul

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Paul

With all due respect, this is a bullshit response. If you don’t want to meet with a group of disaffected members, fine. But don’t tell me to go through the “regular channels”. We are in summer mode. We are talking D 12. There are no regular channels!
At least give me the courtesy of taking up the political points in my e-mail, particularly the issue of how OSSTF is going to intervene (or not) in the forthcoming by-elections.
In solidarity
Tim