“We’ll fight fear with fearlessness. We’ll stand together to win. We’ll unite for a fair Ontario.” — Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President
Toronto (10 April 2019) — In the face of Doug Ford’s government by cuts, chaos, and crisis, Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE), is calling on the people of Ontario to stand together to defend the values upon which our province was built: caring, compassion, and co-operation.
Ontarians are being tested by provincial government
“Sometimes, you don’t know how strong you are until you’re tested,” said Thomas. “Well, we’re being tested now by Doug Ford and his unelected back-room cronies. But, I have incredible faith in the people of Ontario, and if we stand together, we’ll be more than strong enough to beat back these greedy, cynical attacks on working people."
“We’ll fight fear with fearlessness,” said Thomas. “We’ll stand together to win. We’ll unite for a fair Ontario.”
Ford's government creating chaos across province
Thomas points to the growing list of chaotic pronouncements and decrees issued by the Premier’s office:
- cutting nearly 4,000 teachers from our public schools’ already overcrowded classrooms
- slashing a half-billion dollars from OHIP coverage, including sedation for colonoscopies and many MRIs
- threatening to undercut the Constitution by imposing wage caps on public sector workers, which will inevitably lead to wage cuts for private sector workers
- paying a patronage appointee an outrageous $1,000/day salary to carry out an irresponsible and unpopular scheme to sell alcohol in corner stores
- spending nearly $100,000 to redo the province’s Trillium logo because it looks too much like “three men in a hot tub”
- co-opting millions of licence plates as his own personal billboards, slapping a Conservative political slogan on them.
People need to work together for a better province
“Ford and his cronies have spent the last week blitzing us with nonsense, hoping to keep us off balance,” said Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida, OPSEU First Vice-President/Treasurer. “It won’t work. In less than a year, he’s driven his approval down. He got elected with 40 per cent of the vote, but now 70 per cent of the people say he’s gone off the rails.”
Thomas said that if the law doesn’t catch up to Ford — his government and party are the subject of at least 2 known police investigations, for data theft and illegal lobbying — democracy will.
“Ontario can do better. Much, much better,” said Thomas. “We deserve a government that moves quickly, but carefully. A government that respects the public, consults the public, and listens to the public. By standing together, that’s exactly the kind of government we’ll get.”
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