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Thomas to Ford: heed the lessons of Grey Gables

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas wrote to Premier Doug Ford following Ford’s visit to the Grey Gables long-term care home on Feb. 2. 

Here is the text of that letter:

Dear Premier Ford:

I was pleased but not surprised that you enjoyed your recent visit to the Grey Gables long-term care home in Markdale. Our union represents nearly 300 workers at Grey Gables, and they couldn’t be more proud of the excellent care and services they can provide at a publicly owned and managed home.

In fact, our members played a vital role in saving the home from a secretive scheme by some Grey County councillors to privatize Grey Gables and force its residents to move farther away to a privately managed home.

With the support of residents and local community members and allies, we kept the privatization scheme in the spotlight by packing public meetings, knocking on doors, handing out leaflets, and inundating councillors with unhappy emails and phone calls.

The more publicized the scheme, the more the opposition grew. At one point, a group of more than a dozen former Grey County wardens co-signed an open letter denouncing the privatization, about which they said: “Something smells.”

You should take heed. The privatization scheme became a central issue in last fall’s municipal elections. Many of the councillors who ignored the will of the people and continued to push the scheme found themselves voted out on Oct. 22. The new councillors quickly killed the scheme.

As I’ve said before, politicians who push privatization are politicians who don’t get re-elected.


Warren (Smokey) Thomas
OPSEU President