'Sadly ... it can’t go away as long as our world is driven by the quest for profit.' - Warren (Smokey) Thomas.
Toronto (19 July 2010) - The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE) says the fight against privatization must continue despite the Ontario government's decision to drop the idea of selling shares in Crown assets through a "supercorporation."
OPSEU president Warren (Smokey) Thomas says the "supercorporation" proposal was a major threat to the interests of Ontario residents because it would have had the following result:
- The Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO), Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG), Hydro One, and Ontario Power Generation (OPG) would become a single company.
- The McGuinty Liberals would have sold a 20% stake to private investors.
- The Liberals would then have used the proceeds to finance their re-election campaign in the fall of 2011.
Thomas gave members of OPSEU's Liquor Board Employees Division (LBED) much of the credit for forcing the government to drop its privatization plan.
"The Division reached out to the public. It hosted a national meeting of liquor unions," Thomas noted.
"It worked with our executive board to picket a Liberal cabinet meeting. It forged strong ties with the Society of Energy Professionals (SEP), a sister union in the electricity sector," he noted.
"Together, OPSEU and the society funded focus groups and polling. We laid the groundwork for a major campaign. And we sent a clear message to the Liberals that Supercorp was a fight they could not win."
However, Thomas adds, the privatization threat will never go away.
"Sadly ... it can’t go away as long as our world is driven by the quest for profit. Private companies will keep asking government for more 'opportunities' and they will keep funding the politicians who will provide them," he says.
"We will always be fighting privatization’s attack on our jobs and the public services our communities need. For today, though, let’s celebrate a victory."
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