In an inspiring display of community organizing and activism, the people of Orono have persuaded the provincial government to reopen their public LCBO store, just a month after it was closed.
“Orono may be small, but they’ve sent a big message to all of Ontario: when you come together as a community, you can win,” said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas.
“It’s worth fighting for quality public services in towns and villages like Orono because they’re the heart and soul of this province,” said Thomas. “I couldn’t be more impressed by the people here, or of our OPSEU members, for what they’ve accomplished together.”
People in Kenora packed into a We Own It town hall meeting on April 4—and hundreds more tuned in via social media—all eager to help ensure that privatization is a major issue in the upcoming provincial election.
Kenora We Own It town hall"We've got 57,000 people signed up on this campaign—that's a heck of a voting block," said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas to the crowd.
"I've been all over the province, holding these forums, and I'm telling you: we can turn this election."
People in the crowd were quick to agree.
"We Own It is a great campaign, and we have to get behind it," said Pat Brett, a local LCBO employee. "We have to make sure that it hits harder and harder as we get closer to the election. We have to make sure privatization is an issue."
People from Ottawa and surrounding communities crowded into the We Own It town hall on public services on March 28. CTV News covered the event.
And Ontario's political and community leaders are responding. Across the province, politicians are urging the government to come clean on the future of Carillion snow-plowing in Ontario. Many of them say those plowing contracts should be brought back under public management and oversight.
As the dust continues to settle on the sudden collapse of the UK privatization giant Carillion, researchers and reporters are piecing together a clearer picture of the profiteering that made so much money for shareholders while doing so much damage to employees people who depended on the services it provided.
With each passing day, there are new revelations:
- Carillion UK often acted like a real estate speculator, flipping services like they were properties.
- Carillion executives rewarded themselves with huge bonuses and dividends even as the company foundered towards collapse
- Carillion UK "wriggled out" of pension contributions, and its plans are now hundreds of millions of pounds in debt
- Suppliers owed money by Carillion UK will likely get just pennies per pound they're owed
- In the days before its collapse, Carillion UK took tens of millions from its Canadian subsidiary
- Carillion Canada is now under creditor protection, and will likely try to selling off assets
Less than a week after the financial collapse of the UK privatization multinational that plows many of Ontario's highways, thousands of citizens and politicians are calling on the provincial government to make snowplowing public again.
"My wife and I have a 17 year old son and a 20 year old son that drive alone and we are deathly afraid every time they head out to privatized roads," said an email to a local MPP from someone who identified himself as Victor. "The roads are very icy due to the absence of maintenance,” the email said.
"This is nothing short of corruption! It's all about money grabbing."
After the collapse of the worldwide privatization giant Carillion, political and public service leaders from Ontario and around the world are calling for its services to be brought back under public management and control.
"Carillion was a mess, and its sudden demise puts services, workers, and the public at needless risk," said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas in a news release. "We have to protect ourselves from privatization disasters like this by bringing these services back in-house."
We Own It supporters had a simple message for the people who braved the snow and sleet to attend a town hall meeting on privatization in Chatham on December 11: your future is in your hands.
Len Elliott speaks at Chatham We Own It town hall"You can have the kind of community you want," OPSEU Regional Vice-President Len Elliott told the crowd. "All you have to do is speak up for it."
As Ontario's college professors return to work after a contentious five-week strike over precarious working conditions, many Ontarians are left wondering how the college system got into such a state in the first place.
How is it that as more than 70 per cent of our college professors are stuck in part-time or contract positions, earning substandard wages and no job security at all?
OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas says a big part of the answer is privatization.
It was standing room only during a We Own It town hall meeting in Belleville on Tuesday, November 7. OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas encouraged the crowd of nearly 100 to make their communities stronger and safer by fighting back against privatization.