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On April 23, more than 15,000 people gathered in front of Queen’s Park to send the message to Dalton McGuinty that he had better protect pensions or prepare to face the wrath of working people. In a rally heavily attended by pensioners, powerful speeches were delivered by Andrea Horvath, Leader of the Ontario NDP, Wayne Samuelson, President of the Ontario Federation of Labour, Sid Ryan, President of CUPE Ontario, Smokey Thomas, President of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, and Ken Lewenza, President of the Canadian Auto workers. The speakers all warned Premier McGuinty that if he failed to protect pensioners in this economic downturn, he did so at his peril.
McGuinty’s provided hundreds of millions of dollars to automakers who promptly squandered the money. He also looked the other way while these same employers failed to make their contractual pension obligations. He then stated that Ontario’s pension insurance fund does not have enough money in it to cover these same pension plans should they default on their obligations. Big Money created the recession, and Big Money got bailed out. Meanwhile, retirees who worked and paid their taxes for a lifetime get told by the government that nothing can be done for them. It is not hard to see who the government of Ontario really serves.
McGuinty, although asked to speak at this rally, was notable by his absence.