“We Are Ontario”: Ninety Community and Labour Groups Plan Mass Rally Saturday to Demand Budget Fairness

Friday, April 20, 2012

(TORONTO, ON) ─ At a media conference held at Queen’s Park today, representatives of 90 community and labour groups unveiled a province-wide campaign, called “We Are Ontario,” to challenge lopsided budget priorities that promise more hardship for families while protecting the profits for big corporations. McGuinty’s cuts to jobs and services, which are the largest since Mike Harris’ first term of office, have stirred an opposition to match.

“When voters reduced McGuinty’s government to a minority, they called for compromise and fairness in the legislature. Instead, the Premier has tabled a budget that cuts funding for hospitals, schools and social assistance while refusing to heed to public demand for corporations to pay their fair share after years of paying less,” said Ontario Federation of Labour President Sid Ryan. “By putting the interests of bankers ahead of Ontario families, Premier McGuinty has awakened a deep and diverse opposition that reflects every community in the province.”

The campaign is expected to draw 97 busloads and thousands of people to a rally against McGuinty’s budget cuts at Queen’s Park at 3:00 pm on Saturday, April 21. A mass community assembly will kick-off the campaign from 3:00 to 6:00 pm on Friday, April 20 at the Church of the Holy Trinity (behind Toronto’s Eaton Centre).

“Cutting funding for Ontario Works is a disaster for so many people who are struggling to get back on their feet in a faltering economy. They are caught in a recession they didn’t cause,” said Peter Clutterbuck from the Social Planning Network of Ontario. “McGuinty can’t ignore the chronic hunger and hardship of social assistance recipients living on less than $600 a month.”

“Without new funding for child care, centres are going to close and Ontario families are going to lose spaces. It will mean the difference for some parents between staying in the workforce and falling through the cracks,” said Andrea Calver from the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care.

“It is new immigrants and racialized communities that are the hardest hit by job loss and service cuts,” Avvy Go from the Colour of Poverty. “In voicing our opposition to this budget, we are calling for budget reforms that elevate those who are living on the margins by fairly taxing the profits of bankers and CEOs. The best strategy for economic recovery is one that helps everyone.”

“We Are Ontario” represents millions of Ontarians represented by nearly 100 community groups and labour unions.

For further information:

Sid Ryan, OFL President: 416-209-0066 (cell)

Joel Duff, OFL Communications Director: 416-707-0349 (cell) or jduff@ofl.ca *ENGLISH/FRENCH*