I have one question to ask Premier Dalton
McGuinty about his job cuts – where does he propose to start? (McGuinty
Aims to Axe 1,400 public-service jobs – Feb. 21)
With the correctional officers who guard accused
murderers? With the inspectors who make sure our food is safe and our
water is drinkable? With the caseworkers who help people with
disabilities get the income they need for food and rent? With the
communications officers who save lives by dispatching ambulances? With
the service representatives who protect health cards from fraud? With
the probation and parole officers who supervise offenders in the
community? With the environmental and conservation officers, scientists
and technicians who protect our air, land and water, and sustain our
forests, fish and wildlife?
The fact is, Ontario already has a very lean
public service. The Conservative government of Mike Harris slashed it by
25 per cent or 20,000 workers in the mid-1990s. Ontario’s spending on
government services is the second lowest in Canada and 28 per cent below
the average spending of other Canadian governments.
Job cuts of the scale proposed by the Premier
mean entire programs will have to be axed. There is no fat left to cut.
Our members have been doing more with less for years now.
Make no mistake. Dalton McGuinty’s job cuts will
affect the public services that Ontarians rely on.
Finally, it is deeply offensive to our members
that the Premier is accelerating the cuts for purely political reasons.
He should watch out. His job could be next.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President, Ontario
Public Service Employees Union