Written by Mark McKinnon, President of the Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association
We’ve heard this radical political rhetoric before.
An extremist politician promises to cut public sector worker’s pay, freeze salaries and privatize public services in a misguided strategy to create more private sector jobs.
If Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak is elected on June 12 he plans to take a page out of this radical playbook and leave workers less financially secure. Hudak promises to cut 100,000 positions from Ontario’s broader public service as a part of his Million Jobs Plan.
“I have to set priorities and I have big fish to fry,” he told an audience who gathered to hear him speak recently.
Ontario fire fighters are mobilizing to “fry” his efforts to control their government and make it less stable. Hudak’s policies are anti-union, extreme and over the top. His plans will only hurt workers and their families.
If Hudak is elected, he will join his “American brothers in radical government” Governors Scott Walker-(WI), John Kasich-(OH), Rick Snyder-(MI) and Rick Scott-(FL) in being a divisive figure for whom few voters want to call their leader. After being promised a bag of goods during their campaigns, voters disapprove of the policies pushed by Walker, Kasich, Snyder and Scott. But these elected leaders are arrogant and dismissive of the citizens they serve. These governors came into power after the Tea Party movement swept the United States in 2010 and ushered in a new era of politically motivated attacks on workers and their rights. Voters in the US were blindsided by the over-reaching antics of these governors to take away collective bargaining rights from workers, make voting harder for citizens, and seeing a decrease in their pensions and wages. For four years, their approach to governing without compromise has shut out the voices of workers.
Now that the Tea Party movement is rapidly fading in the US, fire fighters see the type of damage these elected officials have done to their communities. And they don’t like what they see.
It has been proven that cutting public sector jobs in hopes of growing private sector jobs simply doesn’t work.
• Walker hasn’t been able to keep his promise to help grow Wisconsin’s economy in the four years he’s been in the governor’s office. In fact, Wisconsin ranked below the national average in private job creation in 2013. The political offenses don’t end there.
• Kasich got his hand slapped by voters for pushing SB5 a bill designed to take away collective bargaining rights of public employees, he has made public safety less safe in Ohio by cutting funding to local municipalities that has resulted in fire fighter layoffs.
• Snyder let Detroit go bankrupt. Now Snyder and his Wall Street allies will make a fortune off the pensions of fire fighters as a part of bankruptcy negotiations for years and years to come.
• Scott imposed a 3.5 percent “tax” on fire fighter pensions in Florida because he said they were unsustainable, when easily it is one of the best funded systems in the country.
Now Hudak brings this tired political scheme to the people of Canada.
Ontario must stop him now from getting into office or risk opening the door to other extremist politicians.
Hudak’s plan to remake Ontario’s government starts with attacks on working people. Weakening unions, he proposes everything from open shops, voluntary membership, secret ballots, making it more difficult for them to collect their own dues from members. Hudak wants an overhaul the Ontario Labour Relations Board which will affect all working people in the province.
Hudak has also called for a wage freeze for all government workers and advocates “better service through competition” which is “political speak” for privatization.
The citizens of Ontario aren’t on the side of Hudak. In a recent poll, more than 60 percent of voters say they strongly disagree with his plan to cut public sector jobs as a part of his efforts to streamline government. However, just like his “arrogant political brethren in the US” he continues to push policies that go against the will of the people.
And make no mistake about it Hudak’s policies are a danger to the citizens of Ontario. Cutting wages, laying off workers and privatizing services is not a sound way to run a government.
That’s why Ontario fire fighters are working nonstop to make sure “the only fish Hudak fries is catfish” because his policies are too radical for workers.