Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)

Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)

October 21, 2008 16:46 ET

Strong Public Sector Is Key to Economic Recovery: OPSEU

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 21, 2008) - Ontario needs a strong public sector to stabilize the province's economy during the upcoming economic slowdown, the president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union says.

"With a slump in manufacturing, a drop in commodity prices, and uncertainty in the financial sector, Ontario needs a strong public sector more than ever, not just for the vital services it provides, but for the economic vitality it adds to our communities," said OPSEU president Warren (Smokey) Thomas. "Cutting back on public expenditures can only hurt us."

Thomas made the remarks in response to comments earlier today by Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty.

"I am sure there will be a lot of voices out there calling for cuts to health, to education, to environmental protection, to every service public employees provide," said Thomas. "Such cuts would be a big mistake. If your economy is not firing on all cylinders you don't pull the spark plug out of the one that is."

Thomas said the government should go into deficit rather than cut or delay spending - especially spending that could benefit the poorest Ontarians.

"Over the last 30 years we have seen income for the poorest fifth of Ontarians sink dramatically while income for the richest fifth has shot up," he said. "Let's not forget that, even though one in six Ontario children still lives in poverty, a lot of people have made a lot of money in Ontario in the last decade. We can afford to invest in public services."

Thomas also cautioned against selling off public assets and increasing contracting out as ways to cover operating costs for public services.

"A recession is the worst time to sell anything - you're guaranteed to get the lowest price," he said. "As for contracting out services, that's just a way to turn good jobs into bad jobs and increase the profits of people who are already doing just fine."

Contact Information

  • Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)
    Randy Robinson
    (416) 788-9134
    Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)
    Greg Hamara
    (647) 238-9933