There is something deeply wrong with the Liberal government at Queen’s Park.
The recent report from the Auditor General topped 770 pages. Nearly every page told a story of jaw-dropping mismanagement. We have problems in home care. Problems in children’s aid. Problems in long-term care. Problems with social assistance. Problems with job creation programs, where the Wynne Liberals are funneling funds to big corporations that absolutely do not need welfare.
It’s little wonder a newspaper columnist summed up what’s wrong with the Wynne Liberals in one word: everything.
Not included in the Auditor General’s report was what is happening to public employees. For more than five years, OPSEU members and others have seen wage “freezes” slash their spending power. We’ve seen our benefits attacked. We’ve experienced job cuts and workload increases.
All of this is the fault of a government that brags that Ontario has the lowest program spending per capita of any province in Canada.
This is not something to brag about. It’s something to be ashamed of.
What the Auditor General failed to capture in detail is what happens when we starve public services and stress public employees to the maximum.
When things go wrong in many public services, they go really wrong. People get sick, or sicker. People get injured. People die.
Nowhere are the risks greater than in correctional services.
As conditions worsen in our jails and caseloads get heavier in our probation offices, things are starting to crack. We’ve had two jail riots this month alone, with six correctional officers and some inmates sent to hospital. I’ve warned this government publicly, and I’ll do it again: unless something is done, someone is going to die.
As the Legislature closes down and MPPs head back to their communities, this is what we should all be telling them: it’s time to de-escalate the war on public services. It’s time to find the money to properly fund the services we all depend on. It’s time to make good management, fair treatment, and public safety the high priorities Ontarians expect them to be.
To do anything else is not simply bad. It’s dangerous.
Please tell your MPP.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas
President, Ontario Public Service Employees Union