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What Leadership Is – And Isn’t

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After another Liberal fundraising event Premier Kathleen Wynne is sounding less like the conciliator she portrays herself to be. Her hard edge is emerging. And it’s no wonder.

Popular theory amongst political types holds that a good offense is the best defense. And, taking this advice, it begins. Wynne first paints the Hudak Tories as a reincarnation of Mike Harris and his crew, with their slash and burn and cuts to the bone. On that point she is right.

Then, while not mentioning Andrea Horwath directly, the Liberals say the NDP is” too risky” for Ontario. While gas plants, E-health or ORNG were Liberal scandals, Wynne boldly states that there is risk with giving any power to the NDP.

For good measure the Liberals release results from a party poll that indicates potential breakthroughs in NDP ridings. The Toronto Star then prints the results as a meaningful measurement of public sentiment. It is nonsense, just as is the new Liberal slogan: “What Leadership Is”.

Based on their record we should look at that nonsense statement and set out what leadership isn’t.

  • It isn’t targeting retirees who have completed a lifetime of public service with unilateral health insurance cuts.
  • It isn’t scapegoating front- line public sector workers for political gain.

As the possibility of an election looms OPSEU is getting ready to bargain over 300 collective agreements. This gives us a time and place to face the challenge before us. It’s a good thing that, as an organization we have been preparing for this election for the past year. Remember, our goal is always to bargain settlements not strikes; still I would be letting you down if I didn’t warn that the political backdrop could mean difficult times at the bargaining table.

This is why I want to talk to you about individual action in the coming months. To go through and remember, just use the mnemonic O – P – S – E – U.

  • Organize your personal finances.
  • Prioritize payments in order of significance.
  • Simplify by approaching your financial institution with a contingency plan should a work stoppage occur.
  • Educate friends, family and neighbours about what the real issues are at the bargaining table. Tell local businesses that you will not be able to spend money until a fair collective agreement is in place.
  • Unite with family and friends and stand in solidarity to empower your bargaining teams and proposals.

A coordinated strategy, individually and collectively, is the key to success. Let’s be prepared during the pre- election, during the election campaign and most of all in the post- election period. Members, staff and our elected leaders will reach critical goals by acting together as one. We have paid our fair share in past, during times of economic trouble. It’s now time to step up for what is right and fair.

This is what leadership is all about. Listening; coordinating and providing the resources needed to get the job done.

The next few months are going to be hectic with bargaining, the OPSEU convention, analysis of the Ontario budget and a possible provincial election. Be assured that we are ready. Leaders act by preparing for the tough times.

What we must all do now is band together in solidarity as one. That is the OPSEU way to face challenges.

And in changing times it’s also the best way forward. Forward is where we are going. It’s time.

In solidarity

Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida
1st Vice President / Treasurer

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