The Canadian political elite really needs to be much more consistent in their propaganda. They like to whip up antipathy towards public sector workers suggesting they are overpaid and pampered, but they may have overlooked that strategy recently in the rush to give themselves a pat on the back.
Ontario PC leader Tim Hudak uses such sentiment to advocate for public sector wage freezes and more recently has set his sights on attacking modest public sector pension plans.
Hudak is banking on a policy of reducing the modest pension incomes of seniors as a vote getter. Good luck with that, Tim.
But if things were indeed so cushy for public sector employees, you’d think public sector employers would absolutely dominate year-end best employer lists, especially given these lists are made up by the same media conglomerates that peddle this anti-public sector message.
On Monday the Globe and Mail published its top 20 list of Canada’s top family friendly firms for 2013.
In February we attended a forum hosted by the Centre for Policy Alternatives looking at the manufactured crisis the Liberals are using to bring in a far-reaching austerity agenda.
At the time, we noted that Finance Minister Dwight Duncan has a consistent history of grossly exaggerating the forecast deficit. In 2010-11 Duncan was off by 43 per cent with his forecast. Progressive economists were forecasting the actual deficit for 2011-12 would not be $16.3 billion, but come in closer to $12 billion.
They weren’t far off.
There was little attention last Thursday when Finance Minister Dwight Duncan revealed last year’s deficit was in fact $3.3 billion lower than forecast, coming in at $13 billion.
The Ontario Health Coalition heads north this week, hosting community forums in Matheson (Monday), Sault Ste. Marie (Wednesday), Thunder Bay (Thursday) and Kenora (Saturday).
The forums discuss the impact of the provincial spring budget on the future of health care delivery in Ontario.
Trish Hennessy, a director with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, joins OPSEU’s Mary Cory, ONA’s Diane Parker, CAW’s Kari Jefford and OHC Director Natalie Mehra Thursday night in Thunder Bay.
A former journalist, Hennessy is director of the CCPA’s income inequality project, which specializes in research on the growing gap between the rich and the rest of us. She has a BSW from Carleton University and a Master’s degree in Sociology from OISE/University of Toronto.
While the media have portrayed health care as one of the winners of the spring budget season, the reality is the 2.1 per cent average increase in health funding over the next three years will represent major restraint on services. Last summer the Auditor General of Ontario described the previous target of 3.6 per cent as “aggressive” in his pre-election report, suggesting it would lead to a choice between hospital deficits and cuts to services.
The situation is particularly clouded for hospitals, which not only face a zero base budget, but are contending with a new funding formula that could see them receive even less than they did last year.
The Ontario Health Coalition is holding a series of town hall forums across the province in May and June to talk about the impact of the budget on the delivery of public health care.
Confirmed speakers include economist Hugh Mackenzie (Hugh Mackenzie and Associates), Dennis Howlett (Coordinator of Canadians for Tax Fairness), Trish Hennesey (Director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Income Inequality Project) and Natalie Mehra (Director, Ontario Health Coalition).
Speakers from OPSEU so far include Sara Labelle (Chair, Health Care Divisional Council), Sandi Blancher (Vice-Chair, Hospital Professionals Division) and Marlene Rivier (President of Local 479, Royal Ottawa Health Group and Chair of the Ottawa Health Coalition.)
The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has posted on-line a one-hour video of the conversation between Stephen Lewis and Michele Landsberg recorded November 3 at the Trinity-St. Paul Centre in Toronto.