Government revenues can only be restored by creating good paying jobs that allow workers to pay taxes to the province, says OPSEU president Warren (Smokey) Thomas.
Toronto (12 Jan. 2010) - The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE) says the best way to tackle the province's $24.7 billion projected deficit is to focus the next provincial budget on jobs.
OPSEU president Warren (Smokey) Thomas says the message from all OPSEU members and their families to Ontario legislature members should be, "We don’t need cuts. We need communities that work. The next budget must be all about good jobs."
Privatization and wage cuts will not help and should not be considered by the province, says Thomas. "Both approaches will hurt Ontario. Both approaches are the wrong way to go. Here’s why," he says.
"First of all, Ontario’s overall program spending is the second-lowest in Canada. It’s so low it’s embarrassing. To take just one example, Ontario ranks 54th out of 64 jurisdictions in North America when it comes to per-student funding of our schools. And Mr. McGuinty calls himself the Education Premier!
"Second, selling off profitable assets like the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) is a money-loser, not a money-maker.
"Third, the province is currently spending $32.5 billion over two years 'to stimulate economic growth and to preserve and create jobs across the province.' This is a great idea. But if we are spending billions to create jobs, it hardly makes sense to cut billions out of public services and cut public sector jobs. It would be like driving with one foot on the gas and one foot on the brake."
Thomas says spending cuts now will prolong the crisis because the main cause of the deficit is the fact that too few people are working and paying taxes.
"We are in deficit because too many people can’t make ends meet on part-time, temporary low-paid jobs. As a result, they can’t pay taxes," he adds.
"This recession is not over when the stock market rises. It is not over when housing sales pick up. It is over when people are making a decent living. That’s why good jobs – not the deficit – must be government’s number one priority, not just at Queen’s Park but on Parliament Hill as well."
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE