I had the privilege to speak to the great delegates here in Region Four, earlier this evening. I would like to thank you all for your kind words and your overwhelming support. The chance to speak to all of you, whether over the phone, in person or through email has been very rewarding. I look forward to seeing you all at this weekend’s conference.
Sisters and Brothers your Central Political Action Committee (CPAC) has been busier than ever this past year. The neo-liberal Austerity Agenda championed by both the Harper Regime federally and Dalton’s provincial Liberal party, and not repudiated by his successor Kathleen Wynn, presents our union indeed the entire trade union movement with its most significant challenge in a century. Our right to even exist is under attack! The Shock Doctrine has been and continues to be being applied in full to all sectors of the public services in this province.
We know that governments are about choice, and consistently the governments in place have made the choice to recklessly slash revenues, to fund irresponsible ineffective corporate tax cuts, and then to use the resulting structural deficit as an excuse to cut valuable public services.
Through CPAC’s recommendations OPSEU contributed to the upset ONDP victory in the Kitchener Waterloo by-election. We helped lead a fight back on Bill 115 the outrageous attack on public sector educational workers collective bargaining rights. We worked through our national union NUPGE to oppose the federal Transparency Act, and are continuing that fight. We are working to head off the coming attack on the most basic union right of all here in Canada, the Rand Formula, the labour law that allows us to fund our union through automatic dues collection. In the United States we are watching with alarm the destruction of the middle class through the adoption of “Right to Work Legislation”. Already we are at work here to educate our members and the public that free riders are freeloaders. The latest, Bill 26: Living within our Means Act, Bill 25:Sick Days are for Sick People Act, Bill 27:Social Assistance Programs Consolidation Act, and the Capacity to Pay Act are all but a few recent provincial private members bill examples.
It seems that rarely a week goes by without the announcement of yet another mislabeled white paper, or financial forecast that Don Drummond like seeks to demonize the Union movement in general and public service unions in particular.
This year CPAC has also launched the 4th annual OPSEU Video contest. Watch for the winning video during the Convention awards ceremony. As in years past we have also designed a new t-shirt for Convention!
We expect and are planning for an early summer or possibly early fall provincial election. With the threatened legislation and Stephen Harper occupying Parliament Hill, your CPAC committee expects a very busy and challenging year ahead. But we believe these challenges can also lead to opportunities, together we will rise to face these challenges. To do less, would be to surrender the all the gains past generations of Union activists fought so long and hard for.
Your Central Political Action Committee
Chris Cormier, Dave Lundy, Gord Longhi
On Monday, March 4th, 2013, I joined with nearly one hundred other angry citizens of Smiths Falls and surrounding area to voice our opposition to the closure of 12 more hospital beds, the elimination of the pulmonary rehab program, the slashing of outpatient physiotherapy services and the elimination of 2 days of Day Hospital from the Perth Smiths Falls Hospital.
Like several thousand likeminded citizens spread throughout Ontario, who protested that day, we are fed up with Politicians making the “hard choice” to slash the public services we all rely on to feed the insatiable greed of Bay Street. These every increasing demands for corporate tax cuts, now total $18 billion a year, have yet to be proven to have created a single job. Wait let me correct that. At least two people have high paying jobs as a result of that reckless giveaway from the public purse, former Finance Minister Dwight Duncan and former Premier Mike Harris. Harris alone made off with $780,000 for attending 18 corporate meetings last year!
The province of Ontario invests $635 per citizen less in Health Care, than the provincial average. This has resulted in an $8.6 billion dollar shortfall annually. That translates ladies and gentlemen into a cumulative bed loss, since Harris, of 18,000 hospital beds. Leaving Ontario with the same number of beds per capita as third world Mexico! Wait list grow ever longer, patients are discharged before they are ready, resulting in one in ten discharged patients needing to be readmitted, and occupancy rates of upwards of 120%! Yes you read that right! Ontario’s costs are also being driven up by the ever increasing privatization of services, and the introduction of numerous user fees. Can anyone tell me why the sickest individuals in our community need to pay the most expensive parking fees in Smiths Falls?
SOS, Save our Services Smiths Falls and Perth, will be making a presentation to Town Council shortly calling on Council to pass a resolution calling on Health Minister Deb Mathews to reverse these cuts and restore the beds and services that have been lost. Please come out and support us on Monday, March 25th, 2013, as we present to the town council, as we need them to speak out. MPP Randy Hillier is on public record calling for an end to publicly funded health care. Relying on him to represent our Heath care interests in Queens Park would be akin to leaving the fox in charge of the hen house.
324 Main Street East Merrickville
United Way donation by members of Local 449
Merrickville Family Day 2012
Bill 115 Rally Ottawa
Bill 115 Rally Ottawa
Merrickville Family day 2012: Members of Local 416
Chrissy and Rita at Liberal Leadership convention in Toronto
Your board members, your activists and your staff together at Bill 115 Rally (great tshirts)