QUEEN’S PARK – “Dalton McGuinty’s wage freeze has proven to be simply imaginary. It’s clear the deals the province strikes have a direct impact on municipal wage demands. Regardless of who signs the deal, it’s Ontario families who get stuck with the bill,” charges Tim Hudak, leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservatives. “While Dalton McGuinty has increased the size and cost of government by 70 percent, the Ontario PC Caucus understands that it’s Ontario families who ultimately pay the bills. While at the ROMA/OGRA conference, small and rural communities are saying that unsustainable contracts awarded to the provincial public sector workers are making life unaffordable for local families”.
Thunder Bay Mayor Keith Hobbs calls the Liberals irresponsible, saying Dalton McGuinty has driven up costs for smaller communities. Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley says, “The McGuinty government has set up a conflict throughout the province between municipalities and their bargaining units.”
The broken arbitration system does not consider fiscal realities, economic growth and uses contracts awarded in affluent cities to dictate wage settlements in small and rural communities. An Ontario PC Government would bring more transparency and accountability to the arbitration system and ensure that the public sector agreements reflect the ability of families to pay the bills.
“Local decision makers are telling me that there is no money for arbitrated wage increases, and families in their communities cannot afford to pay another tax increase. The arbitration system is badly broken and needs to be fixed,” adds Hudak.