The office of Ontario's Labour Minister was vandalized on Tuesday night shortly after Doug Ford's Conservative government announced it would repeal a number of labour reforms, including a planned increase to the minimum wage.
Photos supplied to VICE by the premier's office show several broken windows and flipped furniture strewn about Laurie Scott’s office in Kawartha Lakes. In addition to the damage, a spraypainted message was left on the wall, reading “Attack Workers We Fight Back $15.”
Premier Doug Ford wrote in a tweet that police were investigating the incident.
"Last night in Kawartha Lakes, the constituency office of Minister of Labour Laurie Scott was broken into and vandalized,” he wrote. “These actions have no place in our democracy. Thank you to the local police officers and the OPP, who are now investigating this very serious incident."
The graffiti, and thusly the damage to the office, are seemingly done as a response to Bill 148 and the freezing of the promised $15 minimum wage hike at $14—the one dollar increase was supposed to be implemented at the start of the new year. Bill 148, subtly called the “Making Ontario Open for Business Act,“ will roll back the labour reforms brought about by the previous Wynne government, including the aforementioned minimum wage freeze, paid sick days, and the right to refuse a shift 96 hours beforehand.
Labour groups are already organizing in response to the changes. The Fight for $15 campaign has organized actions in Oakville, Ottawa, North Bay, Waterloo, London, Whitby, Toronto, Peel, Kingston, Scarborough, and Hamilton which will take place over the next two days. In a press release Pam Frache, coordinator of the Fight for $15 & Fairness Campaign, said she thinks Ford is turning his back on workers.
“Millions of workers voted for Ford because they believed him when he said he would stand up for the little guy,” said Frache.“By attacking our new labour laws, Ford has betrayed the voters of Ontario and they will not forget.”
Minimum wage hikes and labour laws weren’t the only things that the Ford government took an axe to this week. Three university satellite campuses that were going to be set up in the GTA, had their government funding pulled. The three in total were set to receive over $300M. The campuses were to be set up in Brampton, Milton and Markham.
On Wednesday morning during Question Period, Ford and Ontario's economic development minister, Jim Wilson, claimed that they both have received death threats over the proposed labour changes. In a press conference on Wednesday, Laurie Scott told reporters that she also received death threats.
“This type of vandalism—crossing the line—is not going to be accepted by anyone,” Scott said. “I need to protect the workers in our office from this intimidation and bullying."
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