OPSEU is proud to support Poor No More, a groundbreaking new film about poverty in Canada and what we can do about it.
The film features OPSEU Local 165 member Vicki Baier. Vicki works for the LCBO in Stratford. In the film, her story of fighting breast cancer – without benefits and without paid sick leave – is tied to the stories of other Canadians who have faced job loss, wage discrimination, and poverty. Then Vicki and construction worker Durval Terceira take a trip with the film’s host, Mary Walsh.
In Sweden, they discover an amazing fact: There is another way.
The “Swedish model,” as it’s called, is a partnership among business, labour and government that puts people at the centre of the economy. Poverty rates are low and living standards are high. There are no “working poor.” Daycare is universal. Public services are strong.
Sweden works for everyone.
Unfortunately, other countries don’t. For the last two years, governments around the world have been spending money they didn’t have to fix a problem they didn’t cause. And now, regular people are being forced to pay. They’re paying to clean up a mess made by high-rolling investors and giant investment banks.
The European Union’s bailout of Greece, for example, is really a bailout of the French and German investors who hold 80 per cent of Greece’s debt. Those investors were happy to buy high-interest Greek bonds. They knew those bonds were risky. But when the crunch came, they wanted someone else to bear that risk.
It won’t be just Greek public employees who pay. It’ll be citizens right across Europe.
Here at home, our problems are mild in comparison. But just the same, public sector workers are being told to sign up for a four per cent wage cut. Meanwhile, corporations keep getting major tax breaks and paying big bonuses.
Poor No More shows how the world could work instead. It’s 53 minutes long and suitable for showing at home, in your local, or in your community. Why not arrange a screening?
Warren (Smokey) Thomas
President, Ontario Public Service Employees Union
P.S. Copies of Poor No More will be available to borrow from OPSEU regional offices after May 13.