Toronto—“If Ernie Eves put himself in the shoes of the average Ontarian, he would realize that today’s budget does nothing to improve the standard of living of regular working folk,” says Sid Ryan, the Ontario president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).
Aside from a funding increase for health care, the budget “does little to make up for the appalling growth in inequality that the seven years of Tory mayhem, decimation and under-funding of the public sector have inflicted on this province,” adds Ryan, who is dubious of the Eves transformation from “Common Sense” foot soldier to a modern-day Robin Hood.
Ryan points out there is no influx of new money for social service programs like child care and public housing. Elementary education funding is basically flat lined. Nor is there any new money for municipalities to put back into our public services that would help grow local economies and provide essential community services to help the neediest and vulnerable. What they have given is a pittance for upgrading municipal water infrastructure, but most of that will come from private-public partnerships.
“For years, Mike Harris argued that the house needed renovations and that there would be benefits for all once the cracks were repaired. Well, the house is still leaking because the dollars this government is putting in to patch-up the cracks just won’t cover the repairs.
“Eves had a real chance to show that he is different from his predecessor. He could have announced programs to reinvest in municipalities through infrastructure funding that would help grow the economy in the long-term. He could have helped average working families, students facing increasing tuition fees and the poor by scrapping tax cuts altogether and reinvesting in people,” says Ryan.
According to alternative budget sources, tax cuts have already bled $12 – $13 billion from our social programs and 60% of the tax cut benefit has gone to the rich and powerful. Tax cuts have been so onerous that there was only enough money for them to put some monies into health care and nothing else.
For more information please contact:
Sid Ryan, President CUPE Ontario
Stella Yeadon, CUPE Communications