Selling assets like the LCBO not in public interest | National Union of Public and General Employees

Selling assets like the LCBO not in public interest

'The only beneficiaries of privatization will be the people who can afford to spend $950 a plate to see Dalton McGuinty give a speech, as they did two weeks ago.' - Warren (Smokey) Thomas.

Toronto (10 March 2010) - Selling shares in profitable Crown corporations like the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) is a bad idea that is not in the public interest, says the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE).

The LCBO has made billions of dollars in profits for Ontario taxpayers and the amount of money it makes grows larger with each passing year.

“Financially, the idea of selling off parts of the LCBO or the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) is short-term gain for long-term pain,” says Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU president.

“As far as social responsibility, a private corporation that has a responsibility to boost profits above all else is never going to take social concerns, like keeping liquor out of the hands of minors, as seriously as one that is publicly-owned.”

Thomas made his comments in response to recent speculation that the McGuinty government is considering a sell-off of some Ontario public assets to help deal with massive deficit problems caused by the global recession.

The new throne speech in the legislature this week confirmed that a review of government business enterprises will be carried out with a view to using "proceeds" for other priorities.

“I truly believe that partial privatization now would lead to total privatization within 10 years,” Thomas said. “If that happens, all the profits will go to investors, and none of them to taxpayers.”

He also argued that any private sector board running a Crown corporation would try to drive down workers’ wages to boost returns to shareholders.

“The only beneficiaries of privatization will be the people who can afford to spend $950 a plate to see Dalton McGuinty give a speech, as they did two weeks ago,” he said. “The rest of us will be left trying to pay for public services with even less funding than we have now.”

NUPGE

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

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