In the land of confusion, OPSEU is the voice of reason


Doug Ford can’t seem to get his story straight. We’ve got a deficit to tackle, but he’s handing out tax breaks to the wealthy and greedy corporations.

We’ve got a crisis in corrections, but he wants to lock up more mental health patients and throw away the key.

He says public sector workers should take a pay cut, but he’s got plenty of high paying jobs for his insider buddies.

It’s pretty obvious that Ford Nation is more like the land of confusion. But in troubling times, OPSEU remains the voice of reason. Our story hasn’t changed. We know that a better Ontario starts with respect for frontline workers and the high-quality public services that make life more affordable for all.

Our vision is based on principles, not politics, because we believe that people should always come first.

With so many fumbles straight out of the gate, Ford’s first year was a rude awakening. With no platform and no plan, he promised everything to everyone – fiscal prudence with no cuts. But after so many promises betrayed, no one’s impressed.

His popularity is in the pits, so it’s no wonder that when there’s public backlash, Ford backtracks; new money appears and he buys himself some time. Ford’s shoot from the hip style of governing isn’t smart or strategic, and it’s hurting Ontario.

But our beef isn’t just about personality. I’ve always believed in principles before personalities, but it’s become all too clear: Doug Ford has none. After a year of bad press, I can see why Ford wanted to change the channel this spring. Unfortunately, his recent cabinet shuffle proved that it’s the same old dog and pony show at Queen’s Park, and the same old tired agenda – and they have only been in power for a little more than a year.

Just this week, when Ford’s new Finance Minister Rod Phillips delivered his 2019-20 first quarter financial report, we saw more of the same: lots of rhetoric about fiscal prudence and very little substance. Ontarians are sick and tired of it. 

The Conservatives’ holier-than-thou “financial saviour” veneer is wearing off. As Ontario’s largest public sector union, it’s our job to flip that narrative on its head, because these Cons aren’t tightfisted with our money, they’re ham-fisted.

It’s why we’re building the fight-back like never before. In the spring, OPSEU launched its Together to Win campaign, which is all about engaging and mobilizing members and frontline workers. It’s about building momentum and getting active at the local level, where it counts.

It’s about breaking down the barriers and changing hearts and minds in every community and region of this province. That work has started and it will continue to grow in the coming months – just like OPSEU.

Every day more workers are seeing the importance of excellent service and representation and they’re choosing to join our OPSEU family; in the education sector, legal aid, in health care and child treatment centres.

We’re growing and we’re building a movement that’s based on unwavering principles and a clear vision.

It’s been three months since I was reelected as president of our amazing union, so please indulge me in taking this opportunity to extend my gratitude for once again giving me the privilege to continue to serve, and to work in unison with our dedicated staff to ensure we continue to build our union – and our province – up.

We’ve got our work cut out for us, but in this land of confusion, OPSEU will remain the voice of reason.

In Solidarity,

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

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