Morning Coffee – By Aaron Hall

Weather forecast from Friday, November 17, 2017 to Sunday, November 19, 2017

A special weather statement is in effect, as heavy rain is expected into Saturday. Learn more, here.

Today – Mainly cloudy. Wind becoming south 20 km/h gusting to 40 near noon. High 6.

Tonight – Cloudy. Rain beginning late this evening. Amount 10 to 15 mm. Wind south 20 km/h becoming light after midnight. Temperature rising to 9 by morning.

Saturday, November 18 – Rain. Amount 15 to 25 mm. Wind becoming southwest 40 km/h gusting to 60 near noon. High 12.

Saturday night – Showers. Windy. Low plus 1.

Sunday, November 19 – A mix of sun and cloud with 40 percent chance of flurries or rain showers. High plus 4.

Sunday night – Cloudy periods with 40 percent chance of flurries. Low minus 1.

Back-to-work legislation blocked, college strike continues

Legislation proposed by the governing Liberals was blocked by the NDP on Thursday, as the strike continues by faculty of Ontario’s Colleges. Also on Thursday, faculty members rejected the colleges’ latest offer by an 87 per cent total.

Reports say the legislation will be tabled on Friday, with the Progressive Conservatives supporting it, but it may take a weekend sitting of the Legislature, or possibly longer, to be passed.

Blocked legislation would have require colleges to resume operations

The Ontario government introduced legislation that would have ended the college labour dispute and return Ontario college students to the classroom.

The legislation would have required Ontario’s 24 colleges to resume operations, ensuring students are able to complete their academic studies.

Government official say this is the longest college strike in the province’s history, at 32 days as of November 16.

There are about 220,000 full-time students at Ontario colleges, including approximately 40,000 international students. Colleges also deliver approximately 1,430 apprenticeship classes for over 25,000 apprentices, about 8,520 of whom were expected to complete their final level of training this fall. All 24 colleges in Ontario are affected by the strike. The strike by approximately 12,225 faculty (composed of professors, instructors, counsellors and librarians) began on October 16, 2017, government officials say.

“We are very disappointed that the parties were not able to resolve this contract dispute,” stated Deb Matthews, Deputy Premier, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development and Minister Responsible for Digital Government, in a press release.

“It is clear that students have borne the brunt of this situation. And now after five weeks out of class, a significant number of students face the risk of not completing their academic studies if the strike were to continue. The public interest requires the government to take action to end the strike.”

If the legislation had been passed, it would require the current strike at Ontario’s colleges to be terminated, and would prevent any additional strikes or lock-outs arising from the dispute until a new collective agreement is signed.

Striking college workers would be required to return to their jobs.

“Through all of this, our focus has been on students and their learning,” stated Kevin Flynn, Minister of Labour.

“We want to see students back in the classroom as quickly as possible to continue their education. Our government respects and believes in the collective bargaining process; however, unfortunately, in this case the parties reached an impasse after a five-week strike. We must act now to get hundreds of thousands of students back in class.”

Government officials say the proposed legislation governs the labour dispute between the College Employer Council, acting on behalf of the employer, and the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) college academic unit.

All outstanding issues would be referred to binding mediation-arbitration. The College Employer Council and OPSEU would have five days to agree on a mediator-arbitrator, or one would be appointed by the Minister of Labour.

The government has also instructed colleges to establish a dedicated fund with all savings from the strike. The fund will be used to support students who have experienced financial hardships as a result of the strike and its parameters will be developed in direct consultation with students.

Wynne’s back-to-work legislation fails college students and their instructors

Andrea Horwath (Aaron Hall)

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath issued a statement, after the NDP clocked back-to-work legislation proposed by the Loberals.

“I will not support back to work legislation. I want students back in classrooms Monday, and I want that achieved through a deal,” Horwath said.

“It looks like Kathleen Wynne wanted to use anti-worker back-to-work legislation all along. She spent barely an hour at the table today, after doing nothing for five long weeks. The reason we’re in this mess to begin with is because Premier Wynne and her Liberal government have failed to properly fund post-secondary education for years, putting Ontario last in Canada when it comes to per-student funding.”

Horwath said the premier has the ability to call the legislature back, and the NDP is prepared to sit through the weekend to debate this move.

“College students across the province missed out on five weeks of class, have been put under financial strain, and have had to put their life plans on hold because Kathleen Wynne refused to lift a finger to help bring the parties back to the negotiating table,” the Ontario NDP leader said.

“Now that this has become a political problem for the Liberal party, she is ramming through reckless back-to-work legislation. New Democrats will not support any legislation that takes away the rights of any workers in this province. Kathleen Wynne is failing both college students and their instructors with her actions today. This does not solve the problem she created.”

OPSEU rejects colleges’s offer

(OPSEU)

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) is calling on Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne to disband the College Employer Council, calling it a “private club” that represents 24 public colleges in collective bargaining.

“After college faculty overwhelmingly rejected Council’s latest contract offer, we hoped real negotiations would ensue,” stated JP Hornick, chair of the OPSEU college faculty bargaining team.

“But in a joint meeting this afternoon with the Premier and Advanced Education Minister Deb Matthews, it became clear that, of the three parties in the room, only two were concerned with saving the semester for hundreds of thousands of students. One of those parties, the College Employer Council, refused to accept that their approach to bargaining had failed, and refused to do anything to get our students back to class.”

In voting this week, 86 per cent of faculty voted to reject Council’s November 6 offer. Ninety-five per cent of the 12,841 people on the voters’ list voted.

In talks late Thursday afternoon, Hornick said, Council refused to remove the “poison pills” in its offer and made no move toward a settlement – even when faculty offered to send a key item, academic freedom, to arbitration.

“When our team made a last-ditch effort to get students back in class on Monday, the colleges dug in even further,” stated OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas.

“If there is going to be legislation, it should include measures to disband the College Employer Council altogether. Council is a private club that is accountable to no one. It is a small group of privileged people that asked for 30 to 40 per cent wage increases this year but are more than happy to make work more and more precarious for the frontline faculty who make education happen. Council is a shadowy agency beyond the reach of freedom-of-information and salary disclosure laws, yet it is funded entirely by public dollars and students’ tuition. It exists for no other reason but to enrich its directors, and it should be outlawed.”

Upcoming events

– The annual St. James Anglican Church Christmas Bazar and Luncheon is being held on Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. All are welcome to come out and do a little pre-Christmas shopping at the bazar and then relax and enjoy an $8 lunch, which will include a bowel of soup, sandwich and dessert. The event will be held at the 719 James St. church in Wallaceburg.

– The Chatham Santa Claus Parade starts on Friday night at 6 :30 p.m. The Parade will be staged on Thames Street, travel over the 3rd St. bridge and down King St. to the Wish Centre. Santa will be at the Wish Centre to greet the children.

– The Knights of Pythias are holding their annual Santa Claus Parade in Wallaceburg on Saturday, November 18, at 2 p.m. The route for the parade will stay the same as previous years starting on Arnold Street, down Dufferin and the downtown core, up Nelson and finishing on Elgin. Register beforehand to take part in the float judging.

– The Chatham Phoenix Cheer team is holding a Christmas toy drive for the Children’s Hospital in London. The team will be collecting toys along the route of the Wallaceburg Santa Claus Parade as well.

– Canada Post workers will be collecting ‘Letters To Santa’ during the Wallaceburg Santa Clause Parade, and Chatham-Kent firefighters will also be gathering up non-perishable food donations as well.

– ‘Breakfast with Santa’ will take place on Saturday morning at the K of P Hall on Nelson Street in Wallaceburg. It starts at 8 a.m. and runs to 11 a.m. Cost is $6 for adults and kids that are 12 and over, children 11 and under are free.

– The Dresden Kings are holding a dinner and dance on Saturday at the Dresden Arena Hall. The event will feature music from the Jessika Rabbitt Band. Tickets are $35, Doors open at 6 p.m. with the dinner running from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., and it is catered by Burn’s. The dance runs from 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. Call Dave at 519-359-8982 for tickets.

– Home & Cottage Interiors is holding their Annual Christmas Open House this weekend at their shop, located just west of Wallaceburg at 1964 Dufferin Ave. They will be open on Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and again on Sunday from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.

– A craft sale is taking place at the Port Lambton Community Hall on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Stained & fused glass, goat milk soap products, hand crafted cards, and musch more will be available to purchase.

– The 7th Annual fundraiser for Trinity’s Mission & Outreach Committee is being held form 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Trinity United Church in Wallaceburg. Come on out and shop the Christmas Marketplace. Soup and chili will be available, as well as slices of delicious homemade pie.

– The Salvation Army is having an open house starting at 5 p.m. on Saturday, then an anniversary dinner starting at 6 p..m at the Church at 46 Orangewood Blvd. in Chatham. Tickets available for $15.00 each or $40 for a family. The tickets can be purchased at the church office.

– A Christmas House Tour hosted by the Catherine McVean Chapter IODE in Dresden is taking place November 19. The event starts at the Dresden Legion and runs from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Cost $15. Six houses are included on the tour, including one decorated by children and one of historical significance. Call 226-972-1818 for more details or to reserve your tickets.

– Looking ahead to next week, a blood donor clinic is being held at the UAW Hall in Wallaceburg on Thursday, November 23 from 2:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. For more information or to book an appointment call the Canadian Blood Services at 1-888-236-6283 or visit blood.ca.

– The ‘Late Night Christmas Shoppin’ under one roof’ event is taking place in Dresden at the Old Czech Hall on Thursday Dec. 7. it will run from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. There will be 20 different vendors and there will be 50 swag bags for the first 50 people tom come through. Santa will alos be there. All proceeds will go to back to the Czech Hall.

– And finally, the Dresden Santa Claus parade, with the theme “A Truly Canadian Christmas” is taking place on Dec 9 at 6 p.m. It will coincide wth Dresden’s ‘Christmas Night Market’ running from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Downtown Wallaceburg BIA Holiday Open House fun

It was busy in downtown Wallaceburg for the annual Holiday Open House put on by the BIA on Thursday night.

Here are a couple of photos at Foster’s Meats:

Here are a few more photos from the BIA:

World news

If you have a suggestion, story idea, column idea, or if you want to say hello… drop me an e-mail at aaron@sydenhamcurrent.ca.

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