Rather than cajole Ontarians to ‘shop ‘til they drop’ or try to solve the current financial crisis on the backs of working people, the McGuinty government must show vision and strength and put forward an economic investment stimulus package for the province, according to the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario.
In a deputation at the provincial Finance Committee’s pre-budget consultations in Toronto today, CUPE Ontario President Sid Ryan called for a stimulus package that would:
• Accelerate investments in social infrastructure like health, education, housing and the social safety net—to maintain services and jobs in local communities
• Increase and speed up funding of infrastructure projects such as transit, water and clean energy rather than nuclear power
• Boost construction of affordable housing and retrofitting
• Provide investment in key sectors like manufacturing and forestry
“If the federal Liberal Party can call for similar measures in their policy accord release with the NDP, then why can’t the McGuinty government do the same?” asked Ryan.
“The Premier’s advice to ‘get shopping’ hardly seems adequate in the face of tens of thousands of private sector job losses and policies that may lead to public sector layoffs,” he added. “It’s just too dangerous to let the markets decide the future for Ontarians.”
Ryan warned that the government can’t turn the economy around by cutting jobs, slashing wages, reducing pensions or cutting services, saying that “working people, people on social assistance, people living in poverty, and the working poor didn’t cause this crisis.”
Ryan also stressed that physical infrastructure projects should not be funded through public-private partnerships, which cost more than public projects and have put millions of dollars into the pockets of bankers, brokers and developers building such projects instead of services that Ontarians need.
For more information, contact:
Sid Ryan President, CUPE Ontario 416-209-0066
Valerie Dugale CUPE Communications 647-225-3685