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Toronto-Heading a government that is sinking miserably in the polls, losing by-elections to the NDP and Liberals and with the police killing of Dudley George and the deaths of seven people in Walkerton haunting him personally, Premier Mike Harris can see whats on the horizon. He knows the tide is turning on the Tories and he is leaving politics because he cant weather the storm, says Sid Ryan the Ontario president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

CUPE represents 180,000 front line public sector workers who are dealing daily with the devastating effects of the Harris government policies on public services and on the lives of all Ontario residents.

With recent polls showing that the Tories would lose the next election, Harris has finally admitted the economy is in the dumper and the days of the mantra of tax cuts just wont cut it anymore. Walkerton, Ipperwash and now September 11, have made Ontarians think about the important role government plays in our lives and how crucial quality public services are to ensuring our safety and security.

Ryan points out that under Harris, public services in Ontario have been gutted, poverty and homelessness have increased and the policies and decisions of his government are directly implicated in the death of unarmed native protestor Dudley George at Ipperwash Provincial Park and the seven people in Walkerton, who died from drinking contaminated water.

Harris legacy is that many hurtful, bad things happened on his watch. The reality is that he is responsible for leaving this province in a rotten mess and that he mislead Ontarians. He knows that the agenda of his government is no longer appealing for the people of Ontario. And now that the chips are down, he is deserting. By my standards thats not leadership, says Ryan.

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For more information please contact:
Sid Ryan , President CUPE Ontario
(416) 209-0066
Stella Yeadon, CUPE Communications
(416) 578-8774