“We’re not just falling behind, Doug is driving us into the ditch. Maybe the new licence plate he has come up with should read, 'Rest in Pieces.'" — Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President
Toronto (12 April 2019) — Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE), says that the Ford government’s rookie budget is a “betrayal” that will leave most Ontarians worse off while rewarding a small group of the Premier’s cronies and financial backers.
Ontario budget ignores serious problems
“Vic Fedeli said this would be a Goldilocks budget, but he’s left Goldilocks with nowhere to sit, no place to sleep, and nothing to eat. Vic only wants what Dougie Bear wants,” said Thomas. “There are serious problems in this province, but this budget doesn’t do a thing about any of them."
“Does it tackle the crisis in corrections? No. Does it confront the huge gaps in autism and developmental services? No. Does it address climate change? No. Does it offer support to the laid off workers in Windsor and Oshawa? No. Does it strengthen our schools, social services, or hospitals? No again," said Thomas.
“Unless you’re a Friend of Ford — or your goal in life is to drink buck-a-beers at tailgate parties — there’s nothing for you in this budget,” said Thomas. “It’s a betrayal.”
Thomas also said he has serious doubts about the government’s claims it will improve “performance” in the post-secondary sector.
“If they were really serious about improving our colleges, they wouldn’t have cancelled the College Task Force that our members successfully bargained for,” he said.
Deep cuts coming to social services, education
Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida, OPSEU First Vice-President/Treasurer, said that the budget contains deep new cuts to a variety of ministries, including social services and post-secondary education.
“They’re giving corporations billions in tax cuts, but it seemed like every second word out of the Finance Minister’s mouth was debt or deficit,” said Almeida. “Even the Ontario Chamber of Commerce has been crying foul about all the financial scare-mongering this government has been doing.”
Almeida points to the Financial Accountability Officer’s recent report that Ontario invests less in public services than any other province in the country. The Ford budget increases overall investment by a scant 0.8 per cent, barely a third of Ontario’s current inflation rate.
“We’re not just falling behind, Doug is driving us into the ditch,” Thomas said. “Maybe the new licence plate he has come up with should read “Rest in Pieces.”
Thomas scoffed at the 5-year plan laid out in the budget.
“Ford has a big surprise coming if he thinks he’ll still be around after the next election,” said Thomas. “The people of Ontario are coming Together to Win, and the first thing we’re going to do is get rid of the austerity boosters and elect a government that has the courage to build and invest.”
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 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