Every election is important but tomorrow’s vote holds particular significance. If you are an OPSEU member this election will affect your life at home and at work.
It will affect the quality of the services every person in the province will receive over the next four years.
It will affect your wages and working conditions. In some cases, it might even influence whether you have a job at all.
So make the effort on Oct. 6 and get to the polls.
The options we face are fairly clear. Review the positions of the three major parties. The party platforms and leader statements provide the information we need to protect the many issues we’ve been fighting for over the past few years:
- Good jobs
- Strong public services (everything from hospitals to community agencies)
- A strong education system that includes Ontario’s community colleges
- An end to corporate tax cuts
- Respect for collective bargaining and the right to belong to a union
Let’s prepare ourselves prior to Oct. 6. Visit the websites of the main parties. Follow the leaders in the media and scrutinize their comments. Put a call into the campaign headquarters of your local candidates. These simply steps will help you to make your voting decision!
Most of all, contrast the party positions with your own experience as an OPSEU member. Finally, never forget the constant struggles we faced under too many years of the Harris regime.
Here is a quick checklist that should guide your voting decision:
- Which party has a platform that is open to future cuts in public spending?
- Which party intends to cut the cost of government in many sectors by two per cent annually, an amount that will result in a four or five per cent per year reduction in the wages of public employees (after inflation)?
- Which parties advocate for cuts, privatization and the contracting-out of public services?
- Which party wants to have public employees bid on their own work?
- Which party openly talks about its aim to legislate a wage freeze for all members of the provincial public sector?
- Which party (in 2010) announced a (non-legislated) wage freeze policy that has made it tough for our members’ incomes to keep pace with inflation?
- Which party hired a former bank economist to review all public services to look for programs and services to cut and privatize?
Be guided by the words and promises of the party leaders fighting to occupy the Premier’s office. Their messages are everywhere; they’re not hard to spot.
Think about the pledges that most closely represent your interests. Let your voting decision be guided by what you’ve discovered about the parties’ positions on the future of public services and public sector employment. Then, act on what you have learned.
We know that the quality of life in Ontario depends on the services OPSEU members provide. This quality of life hangs in the balance on Oct. 6.
I believe the voting intentions of OPSEU members can strongly influence the political landscape to which we awake on Oct. 7. This is why your union’s Executive Board has endorsed 28 candidates in ridings where the votes of OPSEU members will make a big difference.
Let’s see everyone at the polls tomorrow, Election Day! Make your vote count!
Warren (Smokey) Thomas