CUPE Ontario president says province needs growth and good jobs, not austerity agenda.
SUDBURY, ON – Ontario needs to steer clear of the deep program cuts being pushed by Dalton McGuinty and his hand-picked advisor, Don Drummond, said Fred Hahn, president of CUPE Ontario, today in Sudbury. The government’s agenda is a recovery killer that will hurt all Ontario, and hit Northern Ontario particularly hard, he said.
Hahn made the remarks during a presentation to the Commission on Quality Public Services and Tax Fairness.
“The premier’s austerity agenda will kill thousands of jobs and stall the province’s economic recovery. It will likely push us back into recession. It’s an agenda that economists around the world are now warning against,” Hahn said. “We think there’s a better option. Build the economy by investing in education, services and programs that will create jobs and get Ontario back to work.”
The deep public service cuts being proposed by bank economist Don Drummond will not only stall the economy, but will also prevent people from getting the help they need to weather these tough times. Departmental cuts of up to 33 per cent will mean thousands of jobs lost, and longer wait times for essential services.
Drummond is expected to recommend some 400 cuts that will hurt child care, road maintenance, environmental protection and other services Ontarians rely on every day.
Instead, Hahn proposed investing in job creation to build the economy and the province’s revenue base. He also proposed strategic revenue measures to help reduce the deficit in the shorter term.
“The North has been particularly hard hit and needs a budget that will make life better, not worse,” said Hahn. “We already saw the government send the GO Transit maintenance contract out of Northern Ontario. We can’t keep letting that happen.”
In addition to infrastructure and the GO rail corridor, Hahn’s proposals included:
- An “Ontario First” procurement policy
- Greening of public buildings to create jobs and save money in the long term
- Community control over wood production
- Broadband and IT infrastructure to allow economic diversification
- Better passenger rail service to and within the North
- Maintain the Northern freight rail system
“I think this government needs to start a budget consultation process and start listening to practical solutions like these,” said Hahn. “A hand-picked banker who was only allowed to look at service cuts? That’s not a budget process. That’s not what democracy looks like.”
For more information, please contact:
Fred Hahn, President, CUPE Ontario, 416-540-3979
Craig Saunders, CUPE Communications, 416-576-7316