Ontario Budget Fails to Live up to Election Promises
March 27, 2012, 5:00 PM EST
CAW President Ken Lewenza is voicing concern about the plan by the government to privatize the Ontario Northland Rail (ONR) service, as indicated this afternoon in the Ontario budget, in addition to other significant cuts to social programs.
"Selling off ONR will have a huge impact not only on the workers there, but on the economic development of the north," said Lewenza. "In the October election, the provincial government pledged to enhance ONR operations -selling it off will in no way accomplish this goal."
The CAW represents approximately 450 workers at ONR.
Lewenza applauded the government's decision not to further lower the corporate tax rate, as earlier proposed but expressed major concerns over the announcement to freeze social assistance rates; a move that will only deepen poverty across the province and create greater economic uncertainty for Ontario's most vulnerable.
"Ontario's poor already face the harshest conditions, brought on by years of Conservative government attacks," Lewenza said. "Making poor Ontarians pay for the bad decisions made by rich investors and corporations is absurd and fundamentally unfair."
Lewenza also voiced his frustration with the plan by government to freeze public service wages and reduce pensions. "Mandating a wage freeze is an infringement upon free and fair collective bargaining.
"Governments should be looking to find ways to enhance retirement security for all workers," said Lewenza. "If retirement becomes impossible for a growing segment of the population, there will be even fewer job opportunities for young workers.
We are already starting to see the impact of this trend."