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Bethlenfalvy dead wrong on privatization

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas

The following letter from President Warren (Smokey) Thomas was published in the May 11 edition of the Toronto Star in response to an Opinion-Editorial on privatization from Treasury Board Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy. 

I was disappointed but not surprised to see that Peter Bethlenfalvy has become the latest member of the Ford fiction writers’ club.

His hysterical sky is falling article on the province’s debt published in this newspaper on May 7 is just another example of the steady stream of fake news we’ve seen since this government was elected almost a year ago.

Nobody was a harsher critic of Kathleen Wynne than I.  Although she paid lip service to being socially progressive, she squandered billions of dollars on half-baked and failed privatization schemes.

Although Ford is quite happy to bash the Liberals, he seems determined to take the same failed route that Wynne did, in fact he’s willing to go a few better when it comes to boneheaded mistakes.

We don’t have to look any further than the hairbrained ideas of expanding beer and wine sales into convenience stores and placing cannabis sales into private hands.

Wynne dabbled in that pool as well, but at least she understood that the LCBO fills provincial coffers to the tune of $2-billion a year and provides Ontario with a responsible retail model that is very popular with consumers.  Revenue for services like health and education would have increased with cannabis sales that the Liberals entrusted to the LCBO.

Ford has picked Ontarians’ pockets by taking away cannabis sales from the LCBO and handing over a good chunk of revenue from beer and wine sales to the private sector.

It’s revenue that is the key to the problems with Ontario’s finances because despite Ford’s fake news claims we don’t have a spending problem, we have a cash flow problem.

Ontario spends far less per person on public services than any other province and that is partly because individuals and businesses in Ontario pay less income and corporate tax.

Last month’s budget just pitched away another $3.8-billion in corporate tax cuts.

Peter you have to ask yourself this question: Would “the people” rather have that 3.8-billion spent on health care and education or spent lining the pockets of the Thomsons and the Westons of this world?

Between some pipsqueak MPP sicking the cops on senior citizens who have temerity to protest cuts to library funding and Ford fixing to turn Ontario into his own personal man cave, no wonder public opinion polls have consistently said the Premier is taking Ontario in the wrong direction. 

Peter you write that government debt is an issue that is close to your heart. What I’m worried about is that you and your government’s policies are driving a stake through the heart of “the people” and their public services.

Warren (Smokey) Thomas