A pair of opinion surveys released today demonstrates that the Liberal government in Ontario is recklessly out-of-step with the wants and needs of the public, said the president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union.
Citing a Forum poll which shows the Liberals lagging well behind the Progressive Conservatives and the NDP, and a second poll by Hill + Knowlton that finds only 16 per cent of respondents support the privatization of Hydro One, OPSEU president Warren (Smokey) Thomas said it’s time Premier Kathleen Wynne hit the pause button and recalibrate her positon on the privatization of public assets.
“The numbers make it clear that Premier Wynne and the citizens she serves are not on the same page when it comes to critical public policy issues,” said Thomas. “She may enjoy majority status inside Queen’s Park, but outside that bubble she has very few followers. The ham-fisted approach she’s adopted is a recipe for disaster – both electorally and for the people of Ontario.”
With Forum’s numbers putting the NDP at 36 per cent (up from 24 per cent in its previous survey) and the Liberals plunging to 24 per cent (from 29 per cent), Thomas said it’s clear to him that left-leaning Liberals – a group which carried the day for Wynne in last year’s election – have abandoned the Liberal ship in favour of Andrea Horwath’s NDP.
The polling numbers contained in the Hill + Knowlton survey should also serve as a wake-up call to the premier. They showed that only 16 per cent of respondents approve of the government’s partial sell-off plan of Hydro One, while nearly three-quarters (74 per cent) believe the plan will have harmful effects on families through higher electricity rates.
“Hill + Knowlton captured the public mood perfectly when it reported: ‘…the government’s most transformational policy initiative is being built on very shaky political ground,’” said Thomas. “I couldn’t agree more and it highlights the need for the government to put into place a province-wide public consultation process. Anything less would amount to an abrogation of its responsibility to the people of Ontario on such an important public policy.”
Thomas also noted that federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau must be deeply concerned by the damage being done to the Liberal “brand” caused by Wynne’s privatization agenda.
“I can’t imagine Mr. Trudeau is pleased by what is unfolding in Ontario today. The policies Ms. Wynne is pursuing represents a direct attack on the very same middle-class voters that her federal counterpart is counting on to get his party elected this October.”
Warren (Smokey) Thomas