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‘Reverse Robin Hood’ Liberals stealing from public to pay off rich friends

Toronto – With polls indicating the Liberal government’s days are numbered, Kathleen Wynne seems to be trying to make the most of the time she has left to pay off debts to the wealthy insiders that have bankrolled the Liberals over the past decade, the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) says.

Today’s news that the right to sell beer, wine, and cider has been given to an additional 76 grocery stores comes only a day after the announcement of the sale of a further 20 per cent of the shares in Hydro One. Taken together, a clear pattern is emerging, OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas said.

“The Liberals see the writing on the wall, and so do the corporate insiders that have supported them over the years,” said Thomas. “Now these wealthy insiders have come to collect on what the Liberals owe them – and the Liberals are paying them off with the public assets that belong to all Ontarians.

“Whether it’s Hydro One, the sale of which will cost Ontarians $500 million a year in lost revenue, or the LCBO, which last year provided more than $2.4 billion in revenue to pay for public services, at the end of the day Ontarians are the ones losing out.

“The Liberals are pulling a reverse Robin Hood – they’re stealing from the public to funnel money to their rich friends.”

The chair of the OPSEU bargaining team for LCBO workers said that the latest expansion of alcohol sales, coming while the LCBO and its workers are at the negotiating table, undercuts any trust that management wants to reach a negotiated deal.

“One of the most important issues facing workers is the threat of the loss of this public asset to piecemeal privatization,” said Denise Davis. “We’ve been clear on that from the start. Yet at the exact same time that we’re discussing this issue at the negotiating table, the government is pushing ahead with further privatization.

“Actions speak louder than words. When this is happening, how are we supposed to trust anything the LCBO is saying at the table?”

For more information: Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 613-329-1931; Denise Davis, 905-767-6867