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Toronto Todays throne speech shows an inept government intent on getting people to work longer for less, says Sid Ryan, president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (Ontario Division), commenting on todays Speech from the Throne. The government has just followed up on its 60 hour work week announcements with giving us the gift of working until an age 70-plus retirement.

This Throne Speech will be more famous for what it does not do, than for what it does. One major example is the way it does not demonstrate any respect for Ontarios workforce.

For example, where is the legislation which will provide for pensions that allow workers to retire early, and then enjoy the fruits of their years in the workforce?

Where is the legislation help in making pensions portable? Where is the political will and the necessary legislation to help pension plans to index pensions to the cost of living?

What an Oshawa autoworker wants is not the ability to work until the age of 70 or more. What this worker wants is to retire at an early age with dignity and a decent income.

An autoworker needs the government to protect pension surpluses for workers, and then allow the pension plans to provide retirees with a reasonable income.

The government ignored making it easier for the small business community, employers and employees, to join pension plans. Let us reward those employees and employers who work the hours and take on the challenges of the small business life.

The Throne Speech missed the real problem: little or no pension plans for too many workers.

This government is confused. Workers must be able to retire earlier, not later. Workers must be able to retire, not into poverty, but into a dignified life after years of serving the needs of Ontarios economy.

After 30 or 35 years in the work force, they should look forward to a well-earned rest, not working into their 70s.

In education, where the government keeps promising to make the system better, the Throne Speech gets its priorities mixed. Instead of giving away precious tax dollars to private schools, the government should first use taxes to look after the public education system.

Throughout the Throne Speech, the government misses one opportunity after another to serve the people of Ontario well. Instead of thinking of all citizens, this government tries to buy votes with a series of perks for special interest groups and several safe law and order initiatives. People, not polling, should be the lesson Premier Eves takes from this Throne Speech, concludes Ryan.

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For further information:

Sid Ryan, President, CUPE Ontario
Neil Walker, CUPE Communications