TORONTO, ON – Life is harder for most Ontarians after 14 years of Liberal government and now they have balanced the budget by selling off shares in Hydro One that will hurt us all more in the long-run and reduce government revenue for future budgets, says CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn.
“They keep saying that Ontario is going through an economic boom. A boom for who? Outside of the Queen’s Park bubble workers’ real wages continue to decline, Ontario has the highest rate of student debt and good paying full-time jobs are disappearing while corporate executives keep lining their pockets,” says Hahn. “This is the legacy of the past fourteen years of Liberal government, and this budget does nothing to help reverse this growing trend.”
According to Statistics Canada, median wages for Ontario workers have dropped substantially in many communities since the Liberals took office in 2003. (see charts below)
“Let’s not pretend that the Premier’s spin in the Queen’s Park bubble actually reflects the real-life experience of people across the province,” says Hahn. “Thanks to her government, hydro bills are out of control, community schools are still closing, seniors in long-term care still aren’t getting the quality of care they need and waiting list for developmental services are getting worse while corporations and those at the top still get away with paying far less than their fair share of taxes.”
“Today’s budget does nothing to raise the minimum wage and makes no commitment to improve working conditions for the hundreds of thousands of people struggling to make ends meet in this, so called, booming economy,” says Hahn. “Even their child care commitments are a drop in the bucket compared to what’s needed and still leave most Ontarian paying more for child care than anywhere else in the country.”
“They like to talk about making life easier for people but their hydro relief plan is a sham,” say Hahn. “They’re making us pay even more out of our own pockets over a longer period of time, while also costing billions in tax revenue to pay for greater profits for private shareholders and providers. That is money that should be going into ensuring our aging seniors get the quality long-term care they need, bringing down the cost of child care for all families and strengthening the services we all rely on.”
“Public services in this province have been starved of the funding they need for years under this government,” says Hahn. “Now they’re trying to buy votes by using the budget to make spending promises, most of which won’t happen until after the next election, if they ever happen at all. Who exactly do they think they’re fooling at this point?”
For more information, contact: Sarah Jordison, CUPE Communications, 416-578-5638