TORONTO – Vague promises to stop privatizing government services will do little to provide certainty to the people of Ontario or those who provide front-line services, says the president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union.
In reaction to the June 4 Toronto Star article “Premier drops privatization,” OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas says that the government’s actions bear little resemblance to the words of the unnamed Queen’s Park sources quoted in the story.
“The McGuinty Liberals are still moving full steam ahead on the privatization of ServiceOntario, and still plan to de-regulate government oversight,” says Thomas. “Both of these measures will accomplish little more than setting up the people of Ontario for another fiasco that will make the Ornge scandal pale by comparison.”
ServiceOntario generates $2.7 billion in revenues but only costs $270 million to operate, a 10-to-1 return on investment. This must count as one of the most short-sighted and potentially dangerous decisions a government has ever made, the union says. McGuinty is willing to risk the privacy and security of Ontarians’ personal information. Annually, 48 million transactions are done through ServiceOntario, including the delivery of driver’s licenses, health cards and birth certificates.
“There is absolutely no upside to this move for anyone other than corporations who want to profit from taxpayer dollars,” Thomas said. “Yet the government is still moving ahead with a plan that will lose money and put the security of private information at risk. We have to ask who is pulling the Premier’s strings.”
Thomas demands that government immediate put a stop to the fire sale of ServiceOntario and withdraw the legislation that allows it to take place.
“McGuinty must match his actions with the words of his government officials,” Thomas said. “Until then, the report in the Toronto Star is nothing more than a smoke screen to appease the NDP and get the budget passed.”
President Warren (Smokey) Thomas, cell: (613) 329-1931