TorontoThe real spending problem we have in this province is the tax cuts given by this Tory government to corporations and the rich. Now facing an economic slowdown, the Tories are scrambling to keep their business friends happy by continuing to dole out tax cuts and they are more than prepared to sacrifice the hard-earned salaries of moderate-wage workers to do it.
Subsidizing corporations and the rich through more tax cuts will do little to help an ailing economy. Whats more, this is a pig-headed, shortsighted approach that will ultimately hurt all working people in Ontario including small businesses that depend on their purchasing power, says Sid Ryan the Ontario president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).
Ryan is reacting to media reports that indicate Ontarios Minister of Finance is calling for wage controls for moderately paid public sector workers, but is still planning on forging ahead in the next provincial budget with more tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy.
If the Tories are headed down this road, they will have a fight on their hands. Public sector workers, the majority of who have only had one wage increase since 1991 are falling further and further behind economically, once inflation is factored in.
They are not going to sit idly by and tolerate more wage discrimination and disparity. They will fight back, says Ryan, who also points out that the Tories saw enough money in the pot to consider giving themselves a 42 per cent wage hike. Now thats the height of hypocrisy.
Personal income taxes worth about $2-billion and corporate tax reductions worth about $2.5-billion were promised by the Tories during the 1999 provincial election. Despite new legislation that allows hefty fines to be levelled against corporate polluters, the Tories have not aggressively enforced the law.
What this shows is a clear bias. The wealthy are treated well while the rest of us take wage freezes and shoulder the economic burden. More and more Ontarians are seeing the disparity in Mike Harris Ontario and they are not going to take it anymore, adds Ryan.
CUPE in Ontario represents 180,000 public sector workers.
For more information please contact:
Sid Ryan, President CUPE Ontario
Stella Yeadon, CUPE Communications