TRUTH and CONSEQUENCES
Finding the path ahead in 2012
has been a hot summer. The provincial government that had proclaimed
itself to be a peace-maker, attacked working people and the middle
class. It seemed that Right Wing Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker had
moved to Ontario.
past months I set out the reasons for Ontario’s downward economic
spiral. I noted who is primarily to blame. With the close of summer it
is time for review.
First, Canada’s media has become the public relations department for the
rich and powerful. My experience with those that run these firms leads
me to this belief. Their mission is simple. Sell the audience the
biggest lies with the fewest words. All too often, they succeed. After
all, who has the time to test their statements with independent
research? Here is one recent example.
summer, the government attacked Ontario teachers. Soon after, they
expanded the attack to all public sector workers.
Without the threat of a strike, or unions taking the legal steps
required for these actions, McGuinty put the scare into parents with
statements that a strike was imminent. His actions, coupled with the
by-elections timed for the same period, reeked of the smell of
politics. The Liberal education legislation was called: “The Putting
Students First Act”. It should have been called: “The Get a
Majority First Act”.
media made the legislation and Liberal claims a theme of the
by-elections in Kitchener Waterloo and Vaughan. We know what the real
story should have been: Liberal corruption and mismanagement with ORNGE,
E-Health, hastily moved power plants, bankers and bonuses.
Second, my previous reports showed that corporate tax cuts were the
biggest rip off of all times. I was supported by the Bank of Canada
Governor Mark Carney and Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty when they
stated that about half a trillion tax dollars had found their way out of
the economy, into the mattresses of corporations.
were not created as funds instead turned into corporate savings. To
increase the corporate extravagances, public services and jobs were
slashed. Canada’s Old Age Security Plan was reduced for all of those
approaching retirement. Democratic institutions, and employees, were
the gold-plated pensions of MPs remained untouched. Self-interest –
of course not!
Corporations could have helped finance economic recovery. They did not.
Corporations proved their basic amoral character. They have no interest
in being good corporate citizens. They exist only for shareholder
Corporations have a limited life. They are born, thrive and die as the
last drops of profit are extracted from markets. The lives of their
workers and communities hang in the balance. In a democratic country,
that’s not good enough. People, the true shareholders of society, are
worth more than shareholder dividends. People are not expendable, to be
used up in pursuit of corporate wealth.
has been the government’s response? They have cut public sector jobs,
frozen wages, attacked benefits and capped pensions. To make matters
worse, any wage freeze is actually a reduction, given inflation
continues to make goods more costly. And so, our important middle class
Lastly, we see the evidence that greed has led to the birth of a new
social class: bankers, or as I like to call them, “bankstas”.
Scotia Bank profits are up 57% in the 3rd quarter. BMO’s is
up 37% over the same period. RBC came in with a whopping $2.2 billion in
profits. Banks earned almost $8 billion profit in one fiscal quarter.
This money was extracted from us.
Imagine if instead, corporations invested their retained dollars in
human capital, research, innovation, technology, training and
infrastructure. This would build up individuals, families and
communities. This would encourage economic growth by building rather than
Tragically, supporting communities is not part of the corporation or
government game plan. They use crisis to keep people scared and under
message is clear.
OPSEU continues to demand an end to corporate welfare and the
destructive impact of public service cuts. Impoverished workers do not make
will continue to show that current trends erode Ontario’s vital middle
class. We will continue to prove that workers and unions aren’t to blame
for where we all are today.
all about greed and the impotence of politicians. Politicians refuse to
take on corporations, bankers and the wealthy.
economic watering hole is getting smaller as it’s siphoned into a giant
corporate sponge, right on time, according to plan.
tide is turning. Like a tsunami, public opinion is shifting and moving
this way. Working people, with the labour movement, have powered this
change. We have a voice that can set out the facts. We are not going
away. We will continue the struggle. That’s our mission!
Warren (Smokey) Thomas
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President