Austerity

Solidarity with locked out workers at Rideau-Carleton Raceway Slots

The Communist Party of Canada-Ontario extends its full support to the members of Local 71201 of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, who have been locked out by the Ontario Lottery Gaming Corporation (OLG) at the Rideau-Carleton Raceway Slots (RCRS) in Ottawa. OLG locked out its 124 union workers on December 14, 2015 after the union rejected the corporation’s demands for a 2-year wage freeze – extending a previous 7-year wage freeze – and language requiring the members' pension plan be stricken from any future collective agreement. Even though OLG claimed it was bound by the Liberal government's "net zero increase" for public sector workers, it gave its management employees a 2% increase. On April 14, 2016 the workers overwhelmingly rejected OLG’s latest offer of a five-year deal with a wage freeze for three of those years. OLG falsely claims their offer provides a 20% wage increase over 5 years. In reality, the offer adds up to only 6.75% over 5 years. The locked out workers have not received a wage increase since 2009, during which time the local cost of living has risen by over 10%, leaving them with significant real wage losses. (more…)

By admin, ago
Austerity

Mass action can halt Hydro privatization!

The privatization of Hydro One has begun. In the first week of November, the first public offering of Hydro stocks resulted in the sale of about 10% of the public utility, generating great excitement on the TSX where the RBC Capital Markets and ScotiaBank led the pack in scooping up the largest parts of this and future offerings. The Hydro One firesale is an out and out gift to the banks and corporations, in exchange for some quick money to fund the government’s unfunded $30 billion infrastructure program – one of two key promises that won them the June 2014 Ontario election. The government says the main objective of the sale is funding for the infrastructure program. But only $4.6 billion will be realized by the sale – less than one-sixth of what’s needed – and at a huge cost to the public. Instead, this $30 billion could be generated by reversing an estimated $15 billion in corporate tax cuts and by increasing the corporate tax rate to 22% for an additional $10.5 billion annually. That would raise the funds for the infrastructure program, and maintain Hydro One as a public utility. It would also generate a much larger, and stable revenue stream for other public projects, like public hospitals, the long promised (but never delivered) needs-based funding formula for education, or a provincial system of affordable public childcare, urban and inter-urban public transit. (more…)

By admin, ago
Austerity

Ontario Communists announce campaign against Hydro privatization

In response to the Ontario Government's plan to sell 60% of Hydro One, the Communist Party of Canada (Ontario) has announced a campaign to inform and energize the public against the privatization scheme. The Liberals intend to sell Hydro One, the distribution network of Ontario’s public electric power system, to private companies, despite growing opposition within the Ontario legislature and in the population at large. The proposal was part of the omnibus budget bill that passed the legislature on the last day before the summer recess. Part of the budget removed most of the regulatory measures which governed Hydro One as a public utility. The Government’s excuse for selling off one of the most important public assets owned by the people of Ontario was to provide capital to finance its $30 billion public infrastructure project, the key proposal in its election campaign. It did not campaign on privatizing Ontario Hydro, however. This privatization plan, the continuation of the corporate austerity campaign, has many aspects that attack the living standard and the democratic rights of the people of Ontario: (more…)

By admin, ago
Austerity

The 2014 Budget: “People’s Needs, Not Corporate Greed! Another Ontario is Possible!”

The 2014 provincial budget was clearly an election budget aimed to position the Liberals to the left of the NDP on a range of social policy issues. These include the proposed defined benefit pension plan, increases to the child benefit program and the extension of free dental services to impoverished children, cost of living increases to the minimum wage, a small increase to single recipients of Ontario Works, and small wage increases to Personal Support Workers. The 10-year, $29 billion investment in infrastructure renewal and jobs, a portion of which were to be earmarked for youth employment, would have provided significant economic stimulus and jobs, and improved urban and inter-urban public transportation. $11.4 billion was set aside for hospital construction, and another $11.1 billion for School Boards to repair aging schools and build new ones. The budget also proposed a miniscule corporate tax increase, eliminating the tax break of 7% on the first $500,000 of income (currently taxed at the small business tax rate of 4.5%). It also projected a small tax increase for the 2% of the population with incomes over $150,000. But the budget was clearly a Big Business budget, with privatization at the core of the funding proposals, the transformation of many public services into private public partnerships (AFR’s), and the promise of future deep cuts to the corporate tax rate, from the current 11.5% down to 10%. Public sector layoffs and wage cuts are built-in, implicit in a package that contains continued restraints to operating budgets in hospitals and healthcare, public and post-secondary education, and social programs. This is the Drummond Report, implemented over 10 years. (more…)

By admin, ago