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Provincial OSSTF/FEESO Election Readiness Conference

Brand image for Toward 2022 and beyond—Election readiness

In preparation for the 2022 provincial, municipal and School Board Trustee elections, the first ever virtual provincial OSSTF/FEESO Election Readiness Conference took place on October 29 and 30. The Friday evening agenda was kicked off by an opening address from our president Karen Littlewood, who spoke to the over 160 attendees about the importance of getting involved in the upcoming provincial election; Karen’s message was clear: as an organization, we must work diligently and collectively to unseat the Ford Conservatives, and ensure that we have an education-friendly government elected.

The conference’s keynote speaker was Eric Grenier, the author of The Writ (a website dedicated to elections in Canada) and the CBC’s Polls Analyst for seven years. Eric walked the attendees through a thoughtful, measured, and insightful look at the current political landscape in Ontario, while drawing upon statistics from the past to illustrate how there is indeed a path to unseating the Conservatives.

The evening concluded with a panel consisting of Sandra Huh, an active parent advocate for publicly-funded education with York Communities for Public Education, Arlene Slocombe, the Executive Director of the Wellington Water Watchers, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection, restoration and conservation of drinking water in Ontario, and Samantha Krishnapillai, the founder of the ON Canada Project, which is a grassroots initiative that invites young Canadians, through social media connections, into critical discourse discussions around engaging as a collective community. The three panelists spoke about their experience with building, engaging and mobilizing communities through their own, separate lenses and lived experience, and then addressed questions from both the moderator and audience.

Saturday’s agenda saw attendees participating in Zoom-style workshops and breakout sessions on such topics as ‘outreach to allies and local groups’, ‘promoting the OSSTF/FEESO education platform’, and ‘organizing your members, growing, starting, and investing in your local Political Action Committee and preparing for the election’. The engaging and informative workshops were facilitated by our election organizers, Bill Hewitt, Jared Hunt, Mark Kissel, Pawel Mazurek, Rose Lepage, Susan Rab, Tim Mathewson, and Vanessa Stoby, with assistance from members of the provincial Communications and Political Action Committee.

A big thank you to everyone who had a hand in organizing and running this important, well received conference. While we can never fully replicate the excitement and energy of an in-person conference in a virtual space, the Election Readiness Conference definitely delivered the absolute next best thing.

About Daryl Jerome
Daryl Jerome is the chair of the Communications and Political Action Committee (CPAC) and the Teachers’/Occasional Teachers' (T/OT) president in District 21, Hamilton-Wentworth.

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