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TORONTO – Yesterday’s economic update by Dwight Duncan is just more, cynical, political posturing by the Liberals and hides long-term damage to workers and public services in the province, says Fred Hahn, president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario.

“The Liberals know their scandals and the chaos they caused in education have damaged them,” said Hahn. “In a cynical attempt to score political points on the eve of their convention, they’ve wrapped up their record of trampling of workers’ democratic rights and cutting billions from public services as some kind of achievement on the deficit. Ontarians won’t be fooled by the Liberals playing with the numbers to suit their own political ends.”

CUPE Ontario has repeatedly raised concerns that provincial deficit projections have been inflated to support the Liberal’s agenda of cuts to public services and attacks on workers’ rights. In 2009, the government forecast the deficit at $24.7, then in the budget it was $14.8. Yesterday   Duncan says it is $11.9 billion.

“It seems like Dwight Duncan has made a career of saying the deficit sky is falling,” said Hahn. “It’s been the Liberal’s cover for their agenda of cuts and chaos in the public services Ontarians rely on. Their own economic statement reveals they are continuing their deep cuts to public services like health care and profiteering by stripping Ontarians of their basic, democratic rights at work. “

The economic statement revealed more cuts to public services, including a further $308.6 million cut in health care funding, $214.5 million more cut from community and social services and an extra $77.4 million cut from training, colleges and universities.

“On top of all these cuts, the Liberals plan to remove another $2.5 billion a year from services through 2018. It is impossible to make cuts like that without causing real harm to public services,” said Hahn. “This economic update tells us that we will see seniors waiting longer for care, more children with developmental disabilities left without services, and more families unable to find licensed child care in their communities.”

“The Liberals had a choice,” said Hahn. “They could have chosen growth and good jobs. Instead they are choosing to subsidize their years of corporate tax cuts and scandalous election strategies by attacking the public services that Ontarians rely on and the workers who provide those services. It is the sad and lasting legacy of this Liberal government that Ontario’s workers will not soon forget.”


For more information, please contact:

Craig Saunders, CUPE Communications, 416-576-7316