Recently, Tim Hudak of the Ontario Progressive Conservatives has been spreading falsehoods about union saying that labour has not offered any solutions to the job creation problem in Ontario.One can only assume this is to try to deflect the very real lack of policy options being presented by Hudak and his party. The fact is, unions continue to propose not only innovative job creation strategies for the province, but provide a range of alternative economic programs from revenue generation to investment strategies to critiques of current economic policies. Unions also have a long history of being proved correct in their warnings to the government about the medium and long-term implications of their policies.
Labour has also pointed out that if the boatloads of cash corporations are hoarding were spent it would end the current economic stagnation. This cash is the product of years of tax cuts given to corporations based on the ridiculous idea that if you tax companies less they will spend more on workers instead of just pocketing the profits. Workers outline their ideas through their union’s ongoing campaigns, but also present them in written form as submissions to budget consultations.
Unions like the Canadian Union of Public Employees and the Steelworkers present submissions to the finance committee that outline projects that create jobs ans stimulate the economy such as rebuilding and greening Ontario’s crumbling municipal infrastructure, investing in public transit, keeping public utilities like rail, introducing public child care and pharmacare programs.
They have also suggested bringing together the best minds from Labour, the academy and the government to build an economic plan for the province that makes sense and does not harm our social economy over the long term.. Organized Labour’s proposals of a fairer, greener and more equitable Ontario are, however, a threat to the those that currently dominate our economy. It is these owners of the vast majority of wealth that push Hudak to shift the blame from where it belongs to the unions and workers that are the victims of the crisis. Hudak’s “whitepapers” are simply a public relations exercise to change the topic of conversation from where it belongs (the owners of capital who caused and continue to reap the benefits from the global economic crisis) to a convenient scapegoat (the unions that protect decent work and eat into private profits).
While it is true that Ontarian needs alternatives to the current government’s failed economic policies, people should not be looking to Hudak’s polemics against unions and working people for them. Instead, real leadership can be found in the unions that are presenting constructive solutions to the crisis and outlining a program of how to build a better Ontario.