President's Message

Let Freedom Reign!

November 13, 2012
Mitt Romney was absolutely right. The US presidential election was all about freedom.

  • Freedom to marry the one you love.

  • Freedom to redirect precious resources from jailing pot smokers to public services and infrastructure.

  • Freedom to build coalitions of those weary of being bullied by a right wing gone mad.

  • Freedom to speak out against growing income inequality

  • Freedom to work towards greater tax fairness.

Progressive people, discouraged by the Tea Party’s rise in the United States or the election of Toronto mayor Rob Ford must take heart. The world has changed.

The Tea Party and Rob Ford are just like Tim Hudak and his top advisor Randy Hillier. They are all tear-down artists. They lead no movement. They build nothing.

Hudak, and his ill-advised white papers for Ontario’s Future (Paths to Prosperity), hit the public domain this summer sounding like Mitt Romney on steroids.

Why? Just look at the contents. Tax cuts; the destruction of labour rights; cuts to social programs; attacks on women through attacks and layoffs to public sector workers (the majority of whom are women) were all part of his plan. Hudak even sat idly by when his own group of male MPPs appeared publicly on the issue of right to life. At least Romney chastised Republican candidates who publically expressed similar views.

Instead, Tim Hudak leverages his radical statements to ride the Tea Party wave. He wants to build negativity and anger rather than bridge it. Judging by the results south of the border he will, through this choice, become yesterday’s man.

Instead of that negative vision we should look to our own Jack Layton. Jack’s views were reflected in the course chosen by President Obama. Both leaders understood that people in crisis will do the right thing, when given a clear choice. People will choose love over hate, cooperation over conflict and building over destroying.

With a spring election pending, Hudak chose the opposite by taking an attack position he thought would be embraced by the middle class. He thought the middle class, through an emotional response, would be fooled into voting against their own interests as a result. Based on the election results from the US and recent Ontario polls, people aren’t buying this nonsense anymore. So, I hope Hudak and Hillier double their attacks. The harder they go, the more they lose.

On the other hand we see the Ontario Liberal leadership contest becoming a Toronto-centric political affair. It looks like the choice will be between Kennedy and Wynne on the left versus Pupatello on the right.

So be it. This leaves the NDP in the driver’s seat. Why? Simple; the NDP has a leader who leads the polls in the key area of trust. They have a leader who has rebuilt the party by focusing less on special interests and more on the need to do something really special for the majority.

Vision, based on trust, drives us all. When that vision calls for prosperity, community and trust who can argue?

November 6, 2012 was an historical day. It marked the beginning of a new era, a time to rebuild. It is a time to refocus and redistribute the burden of making society work for all.

We got here because organizations like ours keep working. Despite rabid attacks, labour organizations have been society’s firewall against all-out right-wing assaults on democratic rights and freedoms. We should remain proud of our accomplishments.

Just this week President Obama announced he will be calling business and labour to the table to address their pending “fiscal cliff.”

The coming together of business, labour and government to solve problems is exactly what I called for in Ontario almost two years ago. If the prescription works, let’s use it. While it is not too late, time is quickly passing…

Something tells me the coming Ontario spring will make this happen. With elections in the air it is a time for renewal and change. So, let freedom reign.

In solidarity,
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President


Ontario Public Service Employees Union, 100 Lesmill Rd. Toronto, ON M3B 3P8  (416) 443-8888

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