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Come with me to the G-20 Summit

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Dear sisters and brothers:

Later this month, leaders of the world’s biggest countries will be in Toronto.

They will rush downtown in motorcades. They will meet for two days.

Top-ranking business leaders will also meet. These men – they call themselves the “B-20” – will sit down with the finance ministers of the G-20 countries. They will tell them what big business wants.

As working people, it’s our job to give world leaders a different perspective. It’s our job to tell them: put people first.

That’s why I am inviting every OPSEU member to join me iat Queen's Park on Saturday, June 26 at 1:00 p.m. We’re going to send a strong message to big businessmen and the politicians they control.

In the last two years, G-20 taxpayers have spent trillions of dollars to rescue the corporate gamblers who treated our economy like their personal casino. These gamblers were happy to rake in the chips when their scams were working. But when they went broke, they came to government with their hands out.

Now that they’ve got their money, global business says it’s time for a “fiscal exit strategy.” They want big cuts to public spending – in every country. They want layoffs and lower wages for public employees. They want us to slash public services for everyone who needs them.

Big business leaders say public sector cutbacks will help “calm the markets,” but what are markets?

“The markets” are not things at all, but people. At the level of global finance, they are the highest-paid bankers, stock brokers, CEOs. They are the grey men who only care about their own bank accounts.

When they say that “tough decisions are needed,” they don’t mean the decisions will be tough on them. They were rich before and they will stay rich. They mean the decisions will be tough on others.

They don’t care about the neglected child, the worker without a job, the mother without health care, or the kind of planet our kids will inherit.

Well, I care. And I know OPSEU members care. That’s why we’re backing important new ideas like the Robin Hood Tax, a neat idea that won’t hurt a bit but will raise hundreds of billions to build a better world. On June 26, we’ll be on the streets of Toronto in an orderly march and rally to send a progressive message to G-20 leaders – and to our friends all over the world.

I’ve talked to lots of business people over the years. I tell them I believe we can build a world where all people can have a decent life. And I tell them business can be productive and profitable in such a world.

They never disagree with me. So why won’t our leaders take action to make the possibility a reality?

See you at the Summit.

In solidarity,

Warren (Smokey) Thomas
President, Ontario Public Service Employees Union

P.S. There are some great – and hilarious – videos out there in support of the Robin Hood Tax. Watch some of the best at these links:

The Banker featuring Bill Nighy:

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Song a day #419: The Robin Hood Tax:

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The Banker 2 featuring Ben Kingsley:

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P.P.S The first 300 OPSEU members to arrive at the OPSEU truck at Queen's Park on June 26 will receive a free Robin Hood Tax t-shirt.

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