Canadian Tories: If the Mitt Fits, Wear It
December 14, 2012
There was a
time when civic-minded individuals entered politics. Sadly,
that time appears to have passed.
happened? Where did all the nation-builders go? Where are
the big thinkers – the problem solvers? More importantly,
why do the people we elect today end up punishing the people
who elect them?
about people having to work harder and longer for less and
yes, I know some folks respond to tough love. It almost
makes me want to give back those “entitlements” I am
supposedly getting, whatever they are.
it comes to promoting hate, nobody does it like the
Conservatives. They are the party of hatred. Just look at
their vision. Their key words are: tear down, destroy,
dismantle and disentangle. And leading this crew of
self-entitled snobs is Stephen Harper.
Void of any
real ideas and unable to think on his own, Ontario PC leader
Tim Hudak is seeking inspiration from his ‘visionary”
politics of division, after all, led the Harperites to their
majority. Hate unions? Vote for us. Hate pensions? Mark your
X here. Disagree with a women’s right to make reproductive
choices – we’re your guys. Hate government? We are just the
government you’re looking for.
things these guys love: power, themselves and their
corporate backers. There is nothing like power if the
objective is to feather your own nest.
name five Tories who left politics to go into community
work, philanthropy or volunteering. Yep…..that’s what I
thought. Zero is the answer! If politics is really working
for something noble and aspirational then Conservatives are
in the wrong business.
found it very hard to understand this way of looking at
life. It’s all so strange for anyone involved in social
justice work and unions. After all, when we see people in
pain our inclination is to help.
greatest joy comes from making a difference to our world. We
see this as our roles as citizens. It is what we owe our
community, provinces and country. That desire and mission is
the foundation for our lives. That’s why we do the work we
do when we provide valued public services or take on a role
That is a
long way from the Conservative world visions. The world for
Harper and Hudak is about self-interest and greed. It’s
about an elite controlling and benefiting from a servant
underclass. It’s about them and us.
for the global future, there are more of us than there are
of them. There is a majority of people, now gaining their
voice, who care about others. These people extend a hand to
others. These people are proud to give more than they take.
has plastered the media with his white papers about the
future. His latest, entitled a “New Deal for the Public
Sector”, has the mark of the American Tea Party Movement on
it. He calls for a leaner, cheaper and more efficient civil
service that is results-based. The harder one works the more
one earns. He just doesn’t get it. His papers are filled
with trigger words and jargon designed to divide groups and
spark jealousy and hate.
He does not
recognize the reality of the public service Ontario now
enjoys. I know who OPSEU’s members are. Two-thirds are
women. Most earn modest incomes. Some are part-time and
seasonal workers who annually earn just more than the
poverty line. They contribute, through their work life and
volunteer efforts, to bettering the lives of others. The
province, their communities and their friends and family are
all better off as a result. After all, everyone needs a
strong, caring and inclusive community to prosper. OPSEU
members do their work not just for their wages but because
they believe public sector work is important. It is the
right thing to do to build Ontario.
VP/Treasurer, I see clearly the wages of our members. Mr.
Hudak, a living wage isn’t an unreasonable demand for work
that benefits community. Neither are pensions or other
reasonable workplace terms and conditions. That is why we
believe that together our members build public services one
contract at a time.
think back to your parents. Your father, as a teacher and
high school principal, had all of the “entitlement” you now
seek to destroy. You benefited from the secure foundation
your family was able to provide, in part because of their
wages and benefits. That is the way it should be for others.
To think otherwise must also mean that you would have also
wanted them to be poorer as well. Would you have ended up
with the same benefits you now enjoy if this was the case?
continue to be an example to others, as community-focused
union people. I know that OPSEU members from all walks of
life will continue in this spirit as we celebrate the 2012
festive season within our respective traditions.
is time or money, share it with others if you can. Live out
the Union ideal. What we ask for ourselves we want for all.
My friends, in my heart I know that we are in this for all
the right reasons.
Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida
First Vice-President/Treasurer, OPSEU
Live and Let
Association of Food Banks