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Liberals out of touch with Ontarians on budget priorities, OPSEU’s Thomas says


TORONTO – Ontario’s Liberal government is out of touch with the priorities of most Ontarians on what should be in the 2016 budget, the president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union says.

“I talk to regular people very day,” Warren (Smokey) Thomas told the budget committee of the legislature today. “What I’m seeing is a serious disconnect between what Ontarians need and what the government is doing.”

As evidence, Thomas pointed to the government’s own pre-budget web site, which asks Ontarians for their budget ideas.

“Ontarians want their government to properly fund health care and not privatize Hydro One,” he said. “So what is this government doing? It’s starving public health care and privatizing Hydro One.”

Thomas said having the lowest overall program spending per capita of any province in Canada was nothing to be proud of.

“The Liberals brag that we have low, low program spending, which covers everything from correctional services to environmental protection to colleges, he said. They should be ashamed instead. We should be striving to have the best public services in Canada, not the cheapest.”

Thomas said Liberal-friendly corporate CEOs like ex-banker Ed Clark, whom Thomas called the “Acting Premier,” now control the broad themes of the provincial budget and continue to demand privatization, cuts to public services, and cuts to corporate taxes.

“This has got to end,” he said. “The next Ontario budget must include significant revenue increases to breathe some life back into our public services. And those revenues must come from the individuals and corporations who have profited so handsomely from their perch at the top of the food chain.”

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Warren (Smokey) Thomas