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Ontario Premier Ernie Eves has finally called a provincial election. On October 2, every CUPE member will have the chance to reverse the Tory tide of destruction.

Its about time, says National President Judy Darcy. Whether its P3 hospitals, school funding cuts or hydro deregulation and privatization, the Eves government has been a disaster for our members and our communities. Its time they were chucked out of office.

Working on campaigns to defeat the Tories and getting out to vote on election day are the two most important things CUPE members can do over the next month, says CUPE Ontario president Sid Ryan, who is running as the NDP candidate in Oshawa.

CUPE members have lived the reality of cutbacks and downloading for eight years under the Harris and Eves Conservatives. Like all other Ontario residents, CUPE members send their children to underfunded public schools, endure long waits for health care, make do with limited home care for their elderly parents and bear with Conservative government excesses like the $206,000 spent on the Magna budget. From Walkerton to the recent Hydro blackout, the damage has been done.

All of those service cuts also threaten CUPE members livelihoods. The axe has fallen in every sector from water treatment to custodial and maintenance services in schools and hospitals, from arenas and other public facilities to social services. The Tory solution to every problem is to privatize or create another P3 opportunity.

If the Tories are re-elected, they will proceed with a platform to prevent unions from running campaigns, take away the right to strike and privatize even more hospitals, universities and other services.

The stakes are extremely high in this election, Ryan said. Both CUPE Ontario and CUPE National are putting all the resources we can into defeating Ernie Eves and the Tories.

Thanks are due to CUPE staff for agreeing to drop all but the most urgent business in order to dedicate their time to election campaigns across the province and to locals for their tolerance as some work is delayed, Ryan said. He urged all local executives and members to put in as much time as possible on local campaigns and getting out the vote.

Changing the government is as easy as marking a ballot, he said.

Besides Ryan, the following current and former CUPE members are running as NDP candidates:

  • Terry OConnor, former CUPE Ontario Secretary-Treasurer, North Bay
  • Murphy Browne, CUPE 4400, Don Valley East
  • Chris Charlton, CUPE 3903, Hamilton Mountain
  • Ric Dagenais, CUPE 503, Ottawa-Orleans
  • David Laird, CUPE 2316, Burlington
  • Ross Sutherland, former member of CUPE 3932, Hastings-Frontenac-Lennox & Addington
  • Liam McCarthy, CUPE staff, Nepean-Carleton.