York back-to-work legislation: Day 2 - Macleans.ca

York back-to-work legislation: Day 2

Minister calls for speedy passage; NDP continues to delay

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The New Democrats say they won’t agree to a marathon debate in the Ontario legislature that could see legislation aimed at ending a long strike at York University passed more quickly.

The Liberal government says it’s willing to debate the back-to-work bill until midnight at the Opposition’s request, but the NDP says it will oppose a night sitting.

NDP Leader Howard Hampton says he’s not playing games by refusing to go along with the legislation.

He says he wants to debate the bill because Ontarians need to know about the chronic underfunding of the province’s universities and colleges.

The Progressive Conservatives slammed the Liberals in the legislature for failing to take action sooner to help end the 12-week strike.

With the premier absent from the legislature, it was up to Colleges and Universities Minister John Milloy to call on all parties to pass the back-to-work legislation quickly.

The Liberals and Progressive Conservatives had hoped for speedy passage over the weekend but the New Democrats voted against the bill.

The strike has kept about 50,000 York students out of classes since early November, but about 5,000 students have been allowed to return under a special deal with the university.

The government says it’s unlikely students will return to school this week unless the New Democrats have a change of heart.

The Liberals say Thursday is the earliest the legislation could be passed – so the school likely won’t reopen before Feb. 2.

— The Canadian Press