TORONTO – The Drummond Report released today is an “austerity” plan that will kill Ontario’s economic recovery, delay balanced budgets and put thousands more Ontarians out of work, said the president of Ontario’s largest union.
“If Ontario’s economy is sick, then this report is bad medicine,” said Fred Hahn, president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario. “When someone is sick, you help them get better. Drummond’s approach is to throw them out of bed and kick them.”
Premier McGuinty hired Drummond, a former bank economist, to look for ways to cut public services. The report, which contains some 400 recommendations, is part of an austerity agenda that, if implemented, will gut public services such as child care, health care and education. Its release follows months of controlled leaks clearly intended to ready the public for McGuinty’s cuts, necessitated, in part, by billions of dollars of corporate tax giveaways, Hahn said.
“Those corporate tax cuts didn’t create jobs. They just took money from ordinary Ontarians and put it in the pocket of CEOs,” Hahn said.”We need economic growth and jobs, not another Caterpillar.”
Hahn says McGuinty is hiding behind the Drummond Report just like Rob Ford hid behind KPMG in Toronto, and the strategy will ultimately fail for the Premier, too.
“Using third-party expert reports to justify unnecessary public service cuts didn’t fool Toronto and won’t fool Ontario,” said Hahn. “McGuinty needs to show real leadership. The next budget needs to be a plan for economic growth that protects public services by introducing some necessary, and widely supported, revenue generation.”
CUPE Ontario’s submission to Drummond detailed new revenue sources including increased taxes on banks and corporations and new tax surcharges on individual incomes over $300,000 and $500,000 annually. Recent Angus-Reid polling shows Ontarians overwhelmingly support such measures.
CUPE Ontario says its proposed changes would increase revenue by more than $9 billion a year, reducing the current provincial deficit by more than 50 percent.
“At the end of the day, the only Drummond recommendations that people need to worry about are the ones that show up in McGuinty’s budget,” said Hahn. “Instead of putting thousands of people out of work and destroying public services, we need a budget that invests in jobs and growth.”
CUPE Ontario is the province’s largest union, representing more than 230,000 workers in five main sectors: health care, municipalities, school boards, social services and post-secondary education.
For information, please contact:
Craig Saunders, CUPE Communications, 416-576-7316