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Ontario minister tells Trudeau to put students' interests ahead of his own

TORONTO — Ontario’s education minister says Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau should put the interests of children in the province ahead of his own political self-interest.

Stephen Lecce made the comments after the Canadian Union of Public Employees announced that its 55,000 education workers are preparing to go on strike Monday.

Trudeau said earlier this week that Premier Doug Ford should spend as much time focusing on children’s education as he does on helping his federal counterparts.

Ford has repeatedly said he is staying out of the federal election.

Lecce says the education bargaining process needs to be depoliticized, and no one should be injecting needless partisanship.

The CUPE workers, including custodians, clerical workers and early childhood educators, started a work-to-rule campaign this week.

Custodians have stopped cleaning hallways and emptying garbage cans outside schools, clerical workers have stopped finding replacements for absent staff, and education workers have stopped working overtime.

The union says it is willing to return to the bargaining table to avoid a full strike.

The Canadian Press