TORONTO, ON – Dalton McGuinty’s announcement last night to prorogue the Ontario legislature is an affront to democracy, says Fred Hahn, President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario.
“The premier is trying to duck a scandal of his own making. He and his colleagues should have the strength of character to stand in the legislature and face the music over their costly attempt to buy votes by cancelling electricity plant contracts,” said Hahn.
Divisions within the legislature did not need to exist and were contrived by McGuinty and his supporters, Hahn added. The Liberals have taken a sharp turn to the right with a budget that cuts billions of dollars from public services, deep tax cuts for profitable corporations that have created a fiscal crisis, and Bill 115, one of the most regressive pieces of legislation in the history of the province. That right tack, combined with a hard-line approach, have made negotiations all but impossible for opposition parties, labour or citizen groups.
“At the end of the day, Dalton McGuinty and his cabinet chose a path of division. They chose turmoil and chaos over peace and growth,” said Hahn. “Make no mistake, this will not stop our fight against Bill 115 and any other legislation that seeks to strip the fundamental rights of Ontarians.”
“Proroguing to duck a scandal was wrong when Stephen Harper did it. And it is wrong when Dalton McGuinty does it,” said Hahn. “If it was negotiation and discussion he wanted, we’ve always been open to that. This prorogue has nothing to do with building consensus. It has everything to do with hiding from a contempt motion and a political scandal, and Ontarians will see right through it.”
CUPE Ontario has repeatedly presented fiscally responsible options that would balance the budget while preserving and enhancing public services and creating good, full-time jobs for more Ontarians.
“There are options other than the Liberal and Tory austerity agenda, which is killing our economy,” said Hahn. “Regardless who takes over leadership of the Liberal party, it is the policies of government which make the most difference in people’s lives. Instead of self-interested cynics, Ontarians need a government that will build and lead, create good jobs and build stronger public services.”
For more information, please contact:
Craig Saunders, CUPE Communications, 416-576-7316