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Pay for Service – Not for Profit

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Greetings Friends

When OPSEU speaks, people of influence listen.

On December 9th, Ontario’s Auditor General (AG) Bonnie Lysyk released her annual report. It was in sync with OPSEU. We agree! Privatization is, has and always will be a disaster for the people of Ontario.

Just think to when our mantra was “government is for the people”. We shouted from roof tops that corporations have no business in public services. We presented the facts about this in a report called “Privatization an Epic Failure.”

OPSEU has always maintained that the public sector delivers results that are better, cheaper and fairer for everyone. We even adopted these words as our theme for OPS bargaining.

Now, the AG, Ontario’s watchdog for fiscal accountability, has concurred. Her report set out the results, when the business sector gets involved in public service delivery, tax payers and citizens are taken to the cleaners.

Liberal P3s and privatization resulted in billions of dollars being siphoned from services. The wages and benefits of staff that provide the services suffered. The dollars picked from these pockets went straight to the coffers of private business and transnational corporations. We should not blame business. That’s what it is supposed to do. We all know the private sector is good at making loads of profit for its owners, shareholders and senior managers.

So who should we blame? Responsibility must rest with politicians who sell Ontario’s common wealth at bargain basement prices to political and corporate pals. They are more interested in feathering their nests than delivering results for constituents.

Greedy and self-promoting politicians now form Ontario’s government. Let’s cry shame at their talk of accountable, transparent and progressive government as they move in a very different and deceitful way.

From the time of Mike Harris, government has been reduced to being just the “middle man” in this process. This has not served the public interest. Worse yet, even with past disasters, this continues as the direction of government today.

The proof is in the AG’s report that shows how billions of our public dollars ended up with corporations and the managers, lawyers and accountants in our new and growing “privatization industry”. Billions of tax payer dollars are wasted as important public services are underfunded and undermined. It is a slap to the faces of the Ontario population and the dedicated public service workers who care about their work and the welfare of the province.

The Wynne government refused to accept the tough criticisms of the Auditor General. Her Energy Minister said the Ontario power sector was “too complex” for the AG. (Wow, considering Lysyk worked for 10 years as a senior manager with Manitoba Hydro.) This is not responsible leadership. Actual leaders would instead respect the report of the AG, a public officer mandated to identify financial problems so things can be improved.

How do the politicians and corporations keep getting away with this? The answer: deceit and spin. It’s enough to make you dizzy. Even when they get caught, they seldom pay a price. What happens? There is another election after which computer files are deleted and documents shredded.

So, let’s be clear. Privatization is based on false claims, heard over and over again in the media. Its promoters claim government should be run like a business; that the private sector is more efficient; and that public sector workers are lazy and overpaid. There is not a stitch of truth in any of it.

Just think, would you want your government to run like a bank, cell phone company, airline or a car maker? NO. Business is for profit. Government should serve people.

Our Premier should accept this simple truth. Government policy should benefit all Ontarians. That includes the 60% of voters who didn’t cast their ballot for Liberals. Her government should focus on delivering accessible and accountable high quality public services while respecting the women and men who work hard every day to do this.

Ontarians are with OPSEU. Together we will hold our government and Premier to account. OPSEU has an impeccable track record of telling truth to power. Together we will protect Ontario’s public services from the scoundrels that are trying to steal it from us.

We agree with our AG, Bonnie Lysyk: it’s time to stop the Premier and her red get-away car.

In solidarity,

Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida
First Vice-President/Treasurer, OPSEU

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