TorontoAt a time when the economic outlook is bleak, corporations are laying off thousands of Ontario workers and welfare rolls are again increasing, the Ontario governments economic policies of tax cuts, privatization and the elimination of public services will do nothing to help working people weather what could be a grim recession.
Thats the message Sid Ryan, the Ontario president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE, delivered today at a presentation before the Ontario Governments Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs.
Budgets reflect the priorities and values of government. And judging by its past record of tax cuts for corporations, regular working people are not a priority for them. This government is dabbling in short-sighted, foolhardy economics that will create more hardship for people, said Ryan.
Despite public opposition to the privatization of public services like health care, the Premier and key cabinet ministers continue to push for and encourage private-sector involvement in the delivery of services. Even pro-business consultants like Deloitte and Touche are predicting that government restructuring of electrical utilities, water and sewage will soon lead to privatized services, Ryan told the committee.
One of the ways this government could mitigate the impact of an economic downturn is by investing in public services. A strong public sector contributes to a strong economy. But this government has an ideological commitment to privatize public services that has little to do with economics.
This government should take a serious look at the privatization record in other parts of the world. Ultimately, services decline and the taxpayer winds up paying more, said Ryan, who also urged the government to introduce a budget that is in the best interest of a majority of citizens and not just the privileged. And to put more money into red tape, and those systemic checks and balances that protect our environment and the water we drink. Inspections and approvals are not red tape they are necessary to ensure the people of Ontario are not put at risk.
For more information please contact:
Sid Ryan, President CUPE Ontario
Stella Yeadon, CUPE Communications