Today’s Ontario budget includes several positive steps for developmental services, low-wage earners and tax fairness, but secretively delivers a nasty right hook to Ontarians.
“There are several positives in this budget, but it still takes the wrong direction. It is paving the way for the privatization of public assets and services, and deep cuts to many programs,” said Fred Hahn, president of the CUPE Ontario.
“Nobody can argue with the need for public transit infrastructure, but this budget doesn’t include money to pay for it,” said Hahn. “Because the government has not adequately addressed the revenue crisis, the Liberals are talking about privatizing and selling off public assets to the tune of $29 billion. A fire sale of revenue-generating public assets is a fool’s game.”
The budget includes $29 billion over 10 years in public infrastructure spending, new funds for developmental services and funding to begin addressing poverty wages in child care and among personal support workers. CUPE Ontario supports these initiatives, as well as a new tax on high-income earners, but the budget does not restore billions in corporate tax cuts or new revenue measures sufficient to pay for the new initiatives.
“The result is the government is taking good ideas and twisting them – paying for infrastructure by selling off assets and paying for badly needed program funding in some areas by cutting others and engaging in dangerous privatized delivery schemes,” said Hahn. “Ontario has lost billions to Liberal privatization and P3 schemes such as Ornge, eHealth and the cancelled gas plants. These aren’t isolated scandals; they are symptoms of a sick approach to public service delivery.”
The budget includes cuts of 6 per cent annually to many program areas. Combined with population growth and inflation, this will mean massive cuts to many services Ontarians rely on.
“We’ve already seen hospital beds closed and child protection agencies closing their doors,” said Hahn. “This government needs a major course correction. They need to stop funneling money to their big business friends through privatization, and start investing public money in public services that help Ontario families.”
CUPE is Ontario’s community union, with members providing quality public services we all rely on, in every part of the province, every day. CUPE Ontario members are proud to work in social services, health care, municipalities, school boards, universities and airlines.
For more information, please contact:
Craig Saunders, CUPE Communications, 416-576-7316