Toronto’s 39-day strike is over as politicians approve new labour contracts
July 31 close call vote came after a heated all day debate at city hall
By Kris Scheuer
(Written for the Town Crier July 31.)
Council’s final decision to vote for the new union deals was a squeaker at 21-17.
Another seven councillors were absent from the vote or had to sit out because of conflicts of interest during the all-day debate July 31.
Don Valley East councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong voted against the deal.
“I’m standing up for this city and my constituents because they stood up for Toronto (during the strike),” he said during the debate that began at 9:30 this morning.
Etobicoke-North councilllor Rob Ford also voted the deals down. “The average person out there doesn’t get to bank sick days,” the outspoken councillor said. “The mayor said negotiations were a matter of give and take. The mayor was giving and the unions were taking.” Eglinton-Lawrence councillor Karen Stintz is a lead critic of the mayor and a member of the unofficial opposition they call the Responsible Government Group.
She called the deal unaffordable and said it did not achieve the goal of ending the sick bank immediately.
“We can not stand here today and tell the people we do not have a choice. Because they sent us here to make choices on their behalf,” said Stintz who voted against the deals. “They sent us here to stand up here and defend their interests.” St. Paul’s councillor Joe Mihevc said there was a Zen approach to how to vote. “We need to focus on the key issue,” Mihevc said. “For me it’s important for me to focus on what is that important question before us.”
“For me the question is this. ‘Is voting yes for this deal (now) going to mean a better city tomorrow or is voting no going to mean a better city?’”
For Mihevc the answer was to vote for the deal and end the strike.