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Treasury Board Minister should focus on rugs, not wardrobes, for Ontario’s economy

TORONTO – The President of the 135,000-member Ontario Public Service Employees Union says that Treasury Board Minister Deb Matthews is concentrating on the wrong cleaning program when it comes to resolving Ontario’s deficit.

Warren (Smokey) Thomas said that instead of Matthews trying to distract Ontarians with her “spring closet cleaning” analogy, she should instead tackle the dirt the Liberal government is sweeping under the rug with the billions wasted on private companies and private contractors.

“Matthews is hoping everyone forgets the Auditor General’s report that showed the Liberals have wasted over $8.2 billion on private construction projects,” Thomas said. “There are thousands of ways the people of Ontario could have benefitted from that money. Now, the government wants to cover their tracks by slashing public services and pretending they’re fiscally responsible.”

OPSEU represents 35,000 frontline Ministry (OPS) employees who work directly for the Ontario government that are currently in bargaining with the Ontario Government for a new contract. The previous agreement expired Dec. 31, 2014.

“We have tabled a Five-Point Plan to protect quality public services that will provide transparency and public consultation in how the government privatizes or contracts out public services,” Thomas said. “So far, the government refuses to even entertain it. They want to continue to work in secret, waste billions on back-room deals then treat vital public services like an afternoon organizing project.”

Thomas was also mystified at Matthews’ statement regarding a modest wage increase for OPS employees when all signals to date are that the government is trying to trigger an OPS strike.

“If what Matthews says is true, it flies directly in the face of what her negotiators are saying at the bargaining table,” Thomas said. “Maybe instead of using buzzwords and analogies, Matthews and Premier Kathleen Wynne should try to figure out why there is such a horrifying disconnect between the elected officials and their bureaucrats at the bargaining table.”

For more information:

Warren (Smokey) Thomas: 416-443-8888