TORONTO, ON – On the eve of a federal election, Ontario’s largest union is encouraging working people to get involved in politics and vote for a party that will put workers before bankers.

“Stephen Harper’s government is past its best-before date. But the provincial election taught us that it’s important to vote for positive change, not just against a terrible idea,” said Fred Hahn, President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario.

“Kathleen Wynne campaigned as a progressive. Since the election, the Liberal government has done a 180. Across the province we’re seeing hospital closures, families struggling to find affordable child care, a crisis in our schools with education workers pushed to take job action, and a government bent on selling off public assets like Hydro One, with no regard for what Ontarians want,” he said.

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau clearly intends to follow the same privatization playbook as Kathleen Wynne – a playbook that caused multi-billion dollar scandals such as the cancelled gas plants, Ornge Air Ambulance, eHealth and many others. The Hydro sell-off is a costly privatization scandal in the making, Hahn warned.

“With attacks on workers’ rights, anti-democratic laws like Bill C-51 and a string of scandals a mile long, the Harper government must go. But it’s equally clear that Liberals campaign one way, but when elected they answer to Bay Street, not Main Street,” he said. “On October 19th, working people have a real opportunity to vote for the Canada we want and deserve by using our voices and votes to elect Tom Mulcair and the NDP.”

Years of austerity by federal Conservatives and provincial Liberals lined the pockets of the super-rich, but left working people further behind.

“The federal and provincial governments have been disrespectful to working people, particularly those in low-wage and precarious employment. We’re seeing this in our schools with a government that has once again ignored education support workers,” said CUPE Ontario Secretary-Treasurer Candace Rennick. “It’s time for us all to demand a government that works for everyone. I’m volunteering my time to help elect Tom Mulcair and the NDP.”

Both Hahn and Rennick will lead CUPE members in Toronto’s annual Labour Day parade and are available for interviews.

The parade leaves Queen Street and University Avenue at 9:30 a.m. It follows Queen Street to Dufferin Street, then turns south to the CNE.

CUPE is Ontario’s community union, with more than 250,000 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