“People earning minimum wage will get a tiny tax cut, but it will be peanuts compared to what they would have received if the government hadn’t canceled the $15 minimum wage. It’s disgusting that they’re trumpeting themselves as champions of ‘the little guy’ while stealing from their pockets.” — Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida, OPSEU First Vice-President Treasurer
Toronto (16 Nov. 2018) — Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE), says the Ford Conservatives’ fall economic statement is yet another broken promise and a confirmation that Ontario is in danger of becoming less democratic by the day.
Ontario Conservative government protects its friends
“There’s only a few people who benefit from today’s announcement: the wealthy, landlords, and Conservative Party insiders,” said Thomas. “Everyone else is going to wake up needing a beer or a toke to ease the pain."
“During his speech, the finance minister said his government’s rush to reward the rich is ‘non-negotiable,’” said Thomas. “They promised they’d govern for ‘the people.’ Now it's clear which people. Promise made, promise broken.”
The government unveiled a number of measures that will benefit only the wealthiest Ontarians, including
- an income-tax cut that will give the province’s highest earners nearly a third of a billion dollars a year;
- an end to rent control on new housing, allowing landlords to rapidly increase rents;
- a return to cash-for-access fundraising, allowing the rich more influence over public policy.
"On Wednesday, we had to tune into a sordid soap opera about the Conservative family, today we get a trailer for a horror movie coming soon to a theatre near you,” said Thomas. “OPSEU’s 155,000 members are going to do everything we can to change the channel.”
Most vulnerable will suffer the most from Ontario's economic statement
Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida, OPSEU's First Vice-President/Treasurer, took aim at the supposed relief given to low-income workers.
“People earning minimum wage will get a tiny tax cut, but it will be peanuts compared to what they would have received if the government hadn’t canceled the $15 minimum wage,” said Almeida. “It’s disgusting that they’re trumpeting themselves as champions of ‘the little guy’ while stealing from their pockets.”
Thomas pointed to a number of other troubling moves in the statement, including the elimination of watchdogs and commissioners for the environment, children, and French language services.
He also said the government missed the boat in its decision to force Broader Public Sector employers to get government approval on their collective bargaining mandates before going to the table.
“It’s time for Ford to fess up to what we all know: Broader Public Sector employers already take their marching orders from government,” said Thomas. “It’s time to end the charade and treat all public service workers the same. With dignity, respect and fairness. Fairness is what ‘the people’ expect. These announcements failed that test miserably."
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