“It looks like Ford is setting the stage to go on a rampage that will make Mike Harris look like a choir boy.” — Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President
Toronto (26 Sept. 2018) — Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of the Ontario Public Service Employees' Union (OPSEU/NUPGE) is warning the Ford government not to embark on a reckless round of cutbacks in the name of tackling a budget deficit.
Ontario government says deficit is higher than expected, warns "sacrifices" must be made
Thomas expressed skepticism on September 21 at the government’s release of an audit report that contends the previous Liberal government has left a $15-billion deficit.
"It’s no surprise that the Ford government is trying to send the Liberals to the political gallows,” Thomas said. “But if the Liberals committed such outlandish financial sins, then will the government be calling for a criminal investigation?”
Thomas was also concerned about Finance Minister Vic Fedeli’s warning that everyone will have to make sacrifices and that the Ford Conservatives will “reinvent” government to reach a balanced budget.
“I’m worried about what kind of sacrifices the Conservatives have in mind,” said Thomas. “It looks like Ford is setting the stage to go on a rampage that will make Mike Harris look like a choir boy.” Thomas also reminded Ford that the Conservative leader promised during the election that no frontline public sector workers would lose their jobs."
“The Premier was talking about the province’s financial situation during the election, so he knew what he was getting into,” Thomas said. “If he thinks we’re going to let him weasel out of one of the handful of promises he made during the election, he’s got another thing coming.
First step to save money is to stop privatization of public services
“If he wants to stop waste, he should end costly public-private partnerships. The Auditor General has agreed they cost $8 billion more than they should have," said Thomas.
OPSEU/NUPGE, which represents 155,000 workers in the Ontario Public Service and across the broader Public Service, has expressed concern with the commission ever since the appointment of former B.C. Premier — and infamous privatizer — Gordon Campbell as chair.
“We know Ford is prone to making rash and costly decisions,” said Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida, OPSEU First Vice-President/Treasurer. “With Campbell at the commission’s helm, this exercise was nothing more than a political game of charades to justify deep public-sector cuts and costly privatization schemes."
“Ford’s been saying the cupboards are bare for months,” said Almeida. “But if he cares about the people, then it’s time to do things differently. It’s time to restock the cupboards, not tear down the whole kitchen. It’s time for some financial responsibility, because more of the same is putting us further behind.”
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