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Thomas to Fedeli: ‘It’s time to start listening to the people’

OPSEU/SEFPO President Warren 'Smokey' Thomas

Toronto – In an Open Letter to Vic Fedeli, Ontario’s Minister of Finance, OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas says it’s time to start listening to the people of Ontario, and change course while there’s still time.

With the Fall Economic Statement slated for release next week, Thomas indicated that OPSEU, and the 155,000 frontline workers it represents, will not sit idly by waiting for drastic and dangerous measures to be rolled out as part of some shoddy government plan to tackle Ontario’s deficit.

“These guys have painted a bleak financial picture on purpose,” said Thomas. “It’s part of their strategy; say the sky is falling to justify a hidden agenda of deep public sector cuts and privatization. Well Minister, we aren’t going to sit by and wait for the fallout. We’re ready to fight.”

In his letter, Thomas challenged the government’s position that Ontario has a spending problem, and took the opportunity to remind Fedeli that Ontario has among the lowest program spending per capita, of any province.

“Every other province does better than we do,” said Thomas. “We’re right at the bottom when it comes to funding public services – that’s hardly the sign of a spending problem. If the PCs are serious about governing for the people, they’d cut the rhetoric and recognize that deeper cuts and privatization aren’t going to do it. They wouldn’t repeat the mistakes of the past.”

Thomas also responded to Fedeli’s statement that the days of attempting to balance budgets through one-time revenue schemes are over.

“That’s good to hear, and we’ll hold him to it,” said Thomas. “But I’m concerned that this government has other privatization plans in mind; other failed strategies from an outdated Conservative playbook.

“They keep talking about their moral imperative to pay down the debt,” said Thomas. “But what about the moral imperative to meet the needs of the people, by investing in public services? It’s about time these guys took a fresh approach; it’s time to start listening to the people of Ontario – and that can start by talking to OPSEU.”

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