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OPSEU delivers some ‘big bold ideas’ to Premier Doug Ford

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas in the Queen's Park media gallery.
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Toronto – OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas was at the Ontario legislature today to give some “big bold ideas” to Premier Doug Ford on the future of public services.

Thomas is alarmed by Monday’s release of EY Canada’s report on Ontario’s finances and fears the government is using it as a pretext to make devastating cuts in the public and broader public sectors.

Thomas said frontline workers have ideas that are the answer to the province’s fiscal woes, and he is happy to present them to Ford.

“The Premier put together a survey inviting frontline workers to give him some so-called ‘big bold ideas,’ but since OPSEU speaks for 155,000 public sector employees, I thought I’d save him some time,” Thomas told a news conference.

Thomas presented four big bold ideas that will put Ontario’s public services on a path to stability and health:

  1. End privatization and costly public-private partnerships that have been an $8-billion dollar disaster.
  2. Stop the expensive and unnecessary expansion of senior and middle management.
  3. Hire enough frontline workers to ensure Ontarians have access to quality public services.
  4. Meet with OPSEU, the voice of the majority of workers in Ontario’s public service.

Thomas says premiers dating back to Bob Rae have either underfunded or cut public services, but Ontario continues to run deficits. Yet the EY report takes the same approach, but on a potentially much bigger scale, warned Thomas.

“EY’s recommendations go way beyond shuffling deck chairs, they want to have Ontario ram the iceberg,” Thomas said. “Ontarians will end up with low-quality services that in some cases might put their health at risk.

“But OPSEU is sure that once the Premier sits down with us, he’ll see the logic and the good sense in our position that properly funded services make for a better Ontario.”

Thomas also noted the EY report nudges the province in the direction of more failed privatization schemes.

“The report sets the stage for more privatization, but that’s just a breeding ground for cronyism and pork barrel politics,” he said. “Look at the fiscal carnage that Highway 407 inflicted on Ontario taxpayers.”

For more information: Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 1-613-329-1931