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OPSEU rejects business plan to privatize public services

Public wants quality public services, including health and education

(Toronto) — The President of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union has dismissed a new business plan to privatize public services, including health and education, as another attempt to repeat what has been a costly failure for the Ontario people

"The plan puts new words to old ideas," Warren (Smokey) Thomas said of the paper released yesterday by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and Certified General Accountants of Ontario.

"Privatization does not work, no matter what you call it. The public pays more for lower quality services. Just think Ornge, gas plants, e-Health, Highway 407 — and now, chemo drugs."

The Chamber of Commerce was instrumental in bringing about corporate tax cuts that are costing the public $1.5 billion a year. Now, they're using that lost government revenue to fuel their own argument that government can no longer afford quality public services.

"These people believe there's nothing that can't be run by business," Thomas said. "Anyone in government who even considers their ideas needs to be prepared to look a sick child or a frail, elderly person in the eye and say: 'Don't worry. I'm sure the hedge fund will take good care of you.'"

Ontario's biggest problem is growing inequality. One of the greatest levelers of inequality is a comprehensive system of quality public services that people can count on.

The Chamber's plan is to set up yet another transfer of wealth from the public to private business, said Thomas.

"Their plan will destroy quality public services, increase inequality, and cost the Ontario public more for less," said Thomas. "Those are the facts."

The Chamber's report says the goal is to "kick-start a conversation among Ontarians about the future of government in the province." That's very telling, said Thomas.

"For whatever differences we may have with government and senior bureaucrats, the public is most certainly better off with them than with businesses that want a sell-off of quality public services. "They are motivated by the size of investment return they can get in the next quarter and see as impediments those who govern for public good."

More information:
Warren (Smokey) Thomas (613) 329-1931