Am­bu­lance pe­ti­tion gains mo­men­tum

The Glengarry News - - Front Page - BY SCOTT CARMICHAEL News Staff

A South Glen­garry mo­tion to pe­ti­tion the provin­cial govern­ment to des­ig­nate para­medic ser­vices as a full essen­tial ser­vice has re­ceived strong sup­port from mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties across On­tario.

The mo­tion, that would pre­vent paramedics from go­ing on strike, was in­tro­duced by Coun. Trevor Bougie and en­dorsed at the Septem­ber 4 reg­u­lar coun­cil meeting and for­warded to Premier Doug Ford, Stor­mont-Dun­das-South Glen­garry MPP Jim McDonell, the Min­istry of Labour, AMO (the As­so­ci­a­tion of Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties of On­tario), and all the prov­ince’s mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties.

The United Coun­ties of Stor­mont, Dun­das and Glen­garry re­jected the mo­tion – pend­ing an over­haul to the prov­ince’s ar­bi­tra­tion sys­tem – at its reg­u­lar meeting of Septem­ber 17.

How­ever, the mu­nic­i­pal­ity had re­ceived a to­tal of 17 re­sponses, as of the Oc­to­ber 15 reg­u­lar coun­cil meeting, with all but four choos­ing to back the mo­tion/pe­ti­tion.

The ci­ties of Belleville, Hamil­ton, St. Catharines and Strat­ford did not sup­port the mo­tion.

St. Catharines coun­cil “di­rected no fur­ther ac­tion,” Hamil­ton re­ceived the cor­re­spon­dence, in Strat­ford “if coun­cil de­cides to take ac­tion in the fu­ture, we will ad­vise,” Belleville ad­vised South Glen­garry that city coun­cil passed a res­o­lu­tion to “‘re­ceive’ your cor­re­spon­dence... but will take no fur­ther ac­tion re­gard­ing this mat­ter.”

If paramedics are des­ig­nated “essen­tial,” they could not legally go on strike, sim­i­lar to full­time firefighters and po­lice of­fi­cers. Their union could, how­ever, opt to send a bar­gain­ing dis­pute to ar­bi­tra­tion.

De­spite the strong sup­port for the town­ship’s res­o­lu­tion, Mayor Ian McLeod re­it­er­ated that he has reser­va­tions about its po­ten­tial fi­nan­cial im­pact.

“Un­til leg­is­la­tion is brought in, with the abil­ity to pay, we don’t want to be in a sit­u­a­tion where we’re pay­ing Toronto rates for paramedics and essen­tial ser­vices here in South Glen­garry,” said Mayor McLeod.

“It has hap­pened across the prov­ince where ne­go­ti­a­tions have gone to ar­bi­tra­tion and that has been the re­sult... Just a word of cau­tion.”

East Hawkes­bury, Rus­sell, Ad­ding­ton High­lands and Rideau Lakes town­ships, Goderich and Thes­sa­lon, are among the On­tario mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties that have passed res­o­lu­tions sup­port­ing South Glen­garry’s pe­ti­tion.

The mo­tion was adopted in the wake of a three-week strike in May by Stor­mont-Dun­das-Glen­garry paramedics.

RICHARD MA­HONEY PHOTO

TREA­SURES: Ar­chiv­ist Al­lan MacDon­ald with one of the 74 ex­hibits that drew a huge crowd to the Trea­sures of Glen­garry show Sun­day in Alexan­dria. More in­side.

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