“It’s kind of boring to go to school now,” said William Dorais, 10, as he and his fellow students from Ecole élémentaire catholique St-Viateur, their parents, and others gathered Sunday afternoon at the corner of Limoges Road and Des Pins Street, with placards and signs, to hold a rally in support of the teacher unions and their strike action against the provincial government.
Dorais is both the instigator and the organizer of the March 8 event in his home village. He had the idea for a protest rally two weeks ago while at school.
“Because I was tired of all the consequences of the negotiations between the government and the teachers,” he said, about his reasons for organizing the rally.
Before doing anything with his idea, he first talked it over with his parents, Steve Dorais and Andréanne Leboeuf. They agreed to support him and he began making plans to stage a rally in the village.
Part of his plan included using social media, including a Facebook page, to promote and explain what he wanted to do and gather supporters. He expected to have several dozen take part in the one-hour rally, which began just before one o’clock Sunday, over the March 7 weekend.
The teachers’ unions have had a series of rotating strikes and all-day pickets for the past several weeks, as negotiations on news contracts have dragged on between the unions and the provincial government. The main focus for the teacher unions in the negotiations is to get the provincial government to rethink some of its planned cost-cutting policies for Ontario’s schools, and also give up plans for increasing class sizes while reducing the number of teachers, and also making e-learning mandatory for some courses.
Dorais supports the teachers. But the unions’ strategy means missed school days for him and his fellow students, and also cancellation of various activities outside of their classroom studies.
“We’re not learning as fast as we could,” he said. “There are no school trips, no hot meals, no clubs or sports after class.”
Besides organizing Sunday’s rally, Dorais has also sent a letter to Doug Ford, asking the premier to meet with the unions, listen to them, and negotiate in good faith to find a solution. He also sent a letter to Glengarry-Prescott-Russell Liberal MPP Amanda Simard.
“I’m not just doing this for my school,” Dorais said, “but for all schools.”
To read this article in French, see page 3 in Le Reflet News March 11 2020 edition at