The story of Scrooge is a familiar tale this time of year: a cold-hearted and greedy businessman who cares more about the bottom line than his fellow citizen. Unfortunately these days, it sounds more like Ontario’s political landscape than the plotline of a Charles Dickens novel.
But Doug Scrooge should take a lesson from that story: when you try to scrooge the people it doesn’t end well. A better future starts by investing in people and in public services today.
As OPSEU’s Treasurer I understand this well. I know what it takes to balance books, spend responsibly and prepare for the future, and it’s not Doug Scrooge’s “penny-wise, pound-foolish” approach that our province needs. In fact, he’d be wise to listen up: it doesn’t make sense to cut services for women, workers, children and francophones when you’re throwing away billions in handouts to the wealthy.
The people voted for change, not more of the same, Mr. Scrooge.
Just like the tale, our province has its own ghost of past mistakes, and it’s called austerity. If austerity worked, you’d think that after 25 years, we wouldn’t be in the same old mess. Ontario’s deficit wasn’t caused by public sector spending; it was deep cuts and costly privatization schemes that got us here. While the Scrooges have been getting richer, the people have suffered.
If Doug truly cared for the people, he should change his tune before he’s visited by the ghost of destroyed political careers, like Kathleen Wynne.
It’s why the Conservative plan to reinvent our past and rebrand the outdated privatization playbook as “modernization” is so dangerous. Targeting minority rights to pay for corporate tax cuts isn’t just bad bookkeeping, it’s fundamentally cruel.
We don’t need another humbug in the halls of power, Mr. Scrooge.
That’s why it’s our job as workers and OPSEU members to flip the current narrative on its head. We’ve got to build the fight-back in our communities, and mobilize like never before. The road ahead is going to take stamina, strength and laser focus, but our work is already underway. We’ve got to be strategic and smart; we’ve got the resources to do it and we’re up for the challenge.
Doug Scrooge can mark my words: OPSEU puts its money where its mouth is. We know that investing in our members makes our union stronger, just like investing in our public services makes our province stronger.
Ontario is our home and we believe in taking care of one another. It’s why we have universal public health care and education, and a strong social safety net. It’s why we’ve got to fight hard to protect our public sector so that it doesn’t become Doug Ford’s Scrooge-like nightmare.
As cracks in the Conservative veneer start showing, we’ve got to keep pushing harder. By working together, we are only going to get stronger in the face of adversity.
Only time will tell if Doug Scrooge can learn his lesson in time: to invest, not cut; to do what’s right, rather than undo what’s been gained; and to build our province up, not tear it down.
So in the spirit of giving, I’ll give Doug some advice: it’s time to listen to the people before you scrooge yourself.
To all our members, I wish you a restful holiday season. Let’s get ready for the year ahead.
Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida
First Vice-President / Treasurer
Ontario Public Service Employees Union