OPSEU News Press Releases banner

Thomas: Ending privatization would be a truly ‘smart initiative’ for the Ford government

Warren (Smokey) Thomas in a blue suit standing at a podiu

Toronto – OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas says there’s nothing smart about Treasury Board President Peter Bethlenfalvy’s “Smart Initiative” to privatize more public services.

“If the Tories are looking for a truly smart initiative, I’ve got one for them: dump Ford and find a leader who actually cares about something other than boosting his backers and his ego,” said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “His Bay Street cabinet ministers can use all the corporate buzzwords they want, but it doesn’t change the fact that they’re actually talking about hurting everyday Ontarians with more privatizations.”

According to the government’s release about the “smart initiative,” Bethlenfalvy’s “transformational plan will change the culture of government” and “improve customer experience.”

“Customer experience? For one thing, we’re citizens, not customers,” said Thomas. “And for another thing, Bethlenfalvy was a financial services high roller before entering politics. The experience of most bank customers is of being gouged by service charges and mutual fund fees.”

OPSEU First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida urged Bethlenfalvy and Ford to take an honest look at privatization’s terrible track-record in Ontario.

“Mr. Bethlenfalvy says he wants to ‘bring the language of business to the business of government’ and ‘focus on outcomes,’ but just look at the terrible outcomes when governments tried that in the past,” said Almeida. “Privatized snowplowing went bankrupt. Rates went through the roof when hydro was privatized and they’re about to go up again.”

“And as a correctional officer, I can tell you that when Ontario tried a privatized jail in the early 2000s, it was a disaster that led to more dangerous conditions and higher recidivism rates.”

Thomas said the Ford government would be smart to keep in mind that Ontario voters just rejected the federal Conservatives and their business-focused platform.

“Most people in Ontario understand that the best way to help businesses isn’t to pander to them, but to make sure that we all have some money to spend on their products and services,” said Thomas. “Instead of cutting and privatizing, focus on ensuring people have a good education, decent wages, and housing that they can actually afford.”

For more information:

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 613-329-1931