Public sector workers demonstrated today against the government’s threat to create a so-called SuperCorp of Crown corporations, saying the plan does nothing more than put valuable public assets in to private sector pockets.
“McGuinty’s ‘SuperCorp’ is a super scam,” said Nancy Pridham, Toronto regional vice president for the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, which represents more than 6,000 affected LCBO workers. “The more we’re learning about SuperCorp, the less it passes the smell test.”
Several dozen workers representing OPSEU, Hydro One and Ontario Power Generation, gathered outside the main gates of York University’s Glendon College campus in Toronto where the McGuinty cabinet was meeting for its regular weekly meeting.
They were protesting the Premier’s threat to bundle several key Crown corporations and sell a 20 per cent stake in the new corporation to private interests. Along with the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, the four corporations contributed more than $4 billion in profit to the provincial treasury last year, a dividend used to pay for education, health care and other public services.
“McGuinty’s SuperCorp scheme is like using your retirement savings to pay off a monthly credit card bill,” said Scott Travers, local vice president of the Society of Energy Professionals, which represents more than 8,000 employees at Hydro One and OPG.
OPSEU president Warren (Smokey) Thomas said: “The people of Ontario haven’t forgotten how Mike Harris ripped off the province by selling Highway 407 to the private sector at a bargain basement, give-away price. And if Premier McGuinty proceeds with his plan, he’ll face the same strong opposition.”
Labour groups have predicted that the provincial Liberals risk losing seats in next year’s election by pushing through SuperCorp against public opinion that has consistently opposed the idea of privatizing profitable public assets. The Harris government quickly backed down from the idea of selling off the LCBO 10 years ago in the face of public anger.
NDP Labour critic Peter Kormos attended the rally and said: "Any sales of public assets are absolutely a bad deal for Ontarians. These are publicly-owned assets that we need to maintain over the long run. Our public assets work effectively and generate billions every year for our schools and hospitals.”