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Time to rein in privatization, OPSEU President tells Premier

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TORONTO – Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne should take immediate action to save public dollars and improve public services by “getting privatization under control,” the president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union says.

“When it comes to value for money, there is no public policy of the last 20 years that has a worse track record than privatization,” Warren (Smokey) Thomas said today. “Privatization’s real purpose is to transfer wealth from the 99 per cent to the one per cent. It is completely at odds with Kathleen Wynne’s stated goal of being ‘the Social Justice Premier.’”

OPSEU has documented the failure of privatization over the last 20 years in its recent publication, Epic Fail: A Short History of Privatization in Ontario, as well as a new video of the same name. Both are available at www.opseu.org/epicfail.

Thomas called on Wynne to take three steps to rein in privatization. Thomas said the Premier should:

  • “send a signal that she is serious about transparency” by requiring that all individuals and companies providing services or financing to government be covered by the Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act.
  • adopt a clear, transparent process to determine beforehand whether privatization of a particular service or asset is likely to provide a net benefit for Ontarians;
  • expand the mandate and membership of the government’s advisory council on government assets (chaired by bank CEO Ed Clark) to permit it to review past privatizations and recommend which assets and services should be returned to the public sector.

“Seventeen months ago, OPSEU members rallied outside the Ontario Liberal Party’s leadership convention to urge delegates there to ‘vote for the 99 per cent,’” Thomas said. “If Premier Wynne is serious about social justice, she’ll revisit her policy on privatization.”

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