TORONTO — The president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union has congratulated Kathleen Wynne on her victory in the Ontario Liberal Party leadership race and is calling on her to make fairness the guiding principle of her government when she becomes the province"s first-ever female Premier.
"Our message to Liberal delegates going in to the Convention yesterday asked them to "Vote for the 99 per cent," OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas said. "We sincerely hope they did. We look forward to working with Premier Wynne to rebuild public services, restore respect for democratic rights, and deal with the province"s economic and fiscal problems in a way that is fair for everyone."
Provincial Liberals can learn a lot from the precipitous downfall of outgoing Premier Dalton McGuinty, Thomas said.
"Historians may say spending scandals ended the McGuinty era, but what really brought Mr. McGuinty down goes much deeper," he said. "His response to the 2008-09 recession was to punish the public sector — even though Ontario program spending per capita is the lowest of any Canadian province — while transferring more wealth to Bay Street and big corporations through corporate tax cuts, the HST, and uncontrolled privatization of things like air ambulance and electricity generation.
"The legislative excesses related to collective bargaining were merely the logical outcome of the overall direction of the last four years."
Ontario has an opportunity to address many of its problems quickly if guided by fairness, Thomas said.
"The idea that a school board worker in Sudbury trying to raise three kids on $37,000 a year needs to take a pay cut while the most profitable corporations in the country are boosting bonuses for top executives is, I believe, obscene," Thomas said. "Our members have already demonstrated a commitment to being part of the solution, but we have not seen any such commitment from those at the top of the heap."
OPSEU represents 125,000 working Ontarians and has members serving every community in the province.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas: (613) 329-1931