I spent all of today at the Ontario Legislature as a guest of MPP Rod Jackson. We met before the session began and I shared some of my research- including how the UN Special Rapport for Torture got involved when an American school started using remote control electroshock weapons on autistic kids. Jackson was very enthusiastic about stopping Ontario schools from using martial arts blocker pads against these kids. I enjoyed meeting him, and have great respect for the issue he took to the floor today.
Jackson introduced a private members bill to ban the use of the blocker pads. Usually private members bills don’t go very far- but this bill was so obviously needed that it had very few objections. In fact, not a single member of the legislature could deny it was needed.
I was seated in the lower gallery, about two meters away from where the MPP’s sit- right beside the NDP contingent. The first couple of hours were focussed on debating and discussing the placement of slot machines at racetracks. There was a funny thing I noticed about that debate- when referencing the slot machines, all of the MPP’s used the word ‘gaming’. But, when mentioning the government shutting them down, they would call the government’s actions ‘gambling’. It is so obvious many of them are gaming on the side of the gambling companies. Sad.
Anyhow, Jackson introduced bill 102 very well, and it was obvious from the start that the other MPP’s were behind him. That should be expected- because, how could any reasonable person (outside of a union leader like Sylvanna Petersen) think it is acceptable to use martial arts gear against children!
There were a few very excellent points made from the floor. First, if parents used the same tactics at home against their kids, they would probably have their kids taken away. Next was that while worker safety is important- the dignity of the children should always come first.
Monique Taylor, an MPP for the Hamilton Mountain riding did an interesting speech on behalf of the NDP. She was between a rock and a hard place- she had to show as much support for the unions as possible without continuing OPSEU’s assault on the children. So, she framed her speech on the fact that we need to pay more money to the Educational Assistants (EA’s), and that they need to hire more of them.
I can’t disagree with her on the ratio of students to EA’s, but I’m not sure how raising their salaries is going to help. The right kind of EA’s aren’t taking the job for the money, but because they have an inherent need to help special needs students.
In the end, the bill was passed- though, it will be going into committee for some adjustments to the wording- Jackson’s assistant assured me that this means the bill will pass once it goes through the committe. That said, there’s still the opportunity for the NDP to try and tie the bill up in the committee. But, I’ll be watching- and, if they dare, the whole world will be watching.
Today, Rod Jackson is my hero. Let’s hope the NDP stays afraid of being seen as not wanting to support the end of this shameful chapter in Ontario’s history…