Out of Step With Ontario is an initial look at the Drummond Report. A staff team worked through the day yesterday (and part of the night) to uncover key areas of concern from the Drummond Report for OPSEU members. These areas are of equal concern to the people of Ontario given that they are tied to the public services we all rely on.
OPSEU members are a cross section of the province. We provide the services many rely on. Without strong public services the quality of Ontario life would rapidly drop. The Drummond recommendations, if adopted, form a strategic plan to destroy the social fabric of the province. Most go against basic Ontario values. Ontario would change rapidly from a supportive and caring place to a harsh competitive environment. That type of province would be a cruel place that would exclude many.
Drummond, based on his mandate and political philosophy, has adopted an approach that is one sided, focusing on cuts and spending reductions. This contrasts with the balanced approach most people are looking for.
This is why, in coming weeks, we must all work hard to lobby politicians to set aside or modify many of these recommendations. These politicians will soon debate and pass the 2012 Ontario budget. As confirmed by the Premier and the Finance Minister, the (minority) governmentÕs budget is critical. After all, they are the deciders!
This is why we must grab their attention now, working with our community partners.
Together we must stand for budget measures that ensure quality public services; greater income equality (rather than disparity); fair taxation and government programs directed at prosperity, not austerity.
That is our challenge. OPSEU members will meet this challenge, just as we have in the past. We will, working with others, ensure that the public services we provide remain strong. This is what the people of Ontario expect. This will also build a stronger province and through this secure our employment.
There are choices to be made when confronting the deficit. Don Drummond has made the wrong choices. With a minority government, sustained action on our part and public opinion supporting many of our arguments we can shape the budget to reflect the values of the majority rather than the views of the privileged.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas (President)