The reins of power in Canada’s most populous province reside with whichever party holds control over Queen’s Park. There’s nothing overly controversial with that statement, most people would agree with it, I mean, it’s a fact isn’t it? The reality that political parties comprised of politicians elected by us run our affairs is one which we all consciously or sub-consciously accept and understand to be true. Now, what if that wasn’t true? What is the reality was far different?
In today’s financially drought stricken Ontario, the real rulers aren’t the governing Liberals precariously holding on to the illusion of power. Ontario’s McGuinty-Wynne band of public dollar arsonists have long since auctioned themselves off to private interest groups, mostly to satiate their addiction to power. The big bosses behind the scenes are the public sector unions, who, more so than any other group, are best equipped to rule behind the scenes.
The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario, along with the OSSTF, OPSEU, and CUPE rule the province. By reinforcing and supporting McGuinty’s rise to power these unions have helped secure a 300,000 staff boost to the size of the public sector, resulting in huge increases in member’s fees. Almost every demand for heightened public sector benefits, pay, and pensions demanded by the unions has been given by the government. The effects of this dark relationship have been significant. Ontario has suffered under three terms of OLP waste and corruption, and a period of almost surreal, unbridled prosperity for unions has occurred. Who paid for all of this? Well the Ontario taxpayer of course, at a cost of $12 billion for this year alone, and over $110 billion for the last 9 years.
The governing Liberals handed out so much money that when they eventually ran out of it, the bacon for votes relationship collapsed. The unions awoke from their complacent slumber and immediately waged war, resulting in a long end to extracurriculars, instability in the school system, strikes, and the selection of a new Premier. The Liberals under Premier Wynne are now desperately trying to appease the unions and rebuild the golden relationship which served both groups so well. Wynne says she won’t hand over any ‘new’ money, but can we really trust the same woman who played a role in the $1 billion gas plant fiasco, among so many other scandals?
The truth is that the unions have it easy from a political perspective. With both the NDP and the Liberals eager to do their bidding, they can pick and choose. If the NDP cannot be counted on to obey, support can be shifted to the Liberals. The only threat to the public sector union agenda of bigger government and higher public spending, regardless of the costs to the taxpayer, is the Progressive Conservative Party. Keeping the Tories out of office is all that it takes for the province to continue its slide towards a $30 billion deficit and eventual bankruptcy.
By funding the Working Families Coalition’s misinformed, negative, one-dimensional ads, the public sector unions can target the Tories anytime they please. The political war chests of these behemoths are truly enormous; the ETFO alone has a $150 million ‘Defense Fund.’ According to the ETFO Constitution, if this fund dips below $150 million, members’ fees are automatically raised and maintained until it is restored.
The reality is that government’s must govern for the general public, not for individual private interest groups, of which the public sector unions are by far the most powerful, most affluent, and most addicted to never ending pork. Regardless of the state of the economy or the public finances, Ontario’s public sector unions will never lose their entitlement to more benefits at the expense of everyone else. These hypocritical groups, which claim to represent working families, are in fact destroying the hopes of average people by bankrupting their government and destroying the competitiveness of their economy.
It’s time for Ontario to be run by a political party not beholden to the greedy unions; it’s time Ontario families voted for sustainable public finances and economic competitiveness.