Concerns: Opposition to Privatization of Public Services —
Jack Jackson, President of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1572 in Mississauga says:
We are pushing to have public services kept in the hands of the public. In my case it is transit, in other cases it may be health care, etc. It is not just the ATU but all the unions are pushing it. There is the “We Own It campaign” by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union as well.
What we are pushing for is that politicians at all levels understand and support the keeping of public services in the hands of the public. We saw a little bit of movement with respect to Toronto recently. The Toronto City Council passed a motion which declares that transit in the municipality remains public and must continue to be operated and maintained by the Toronto Transit Commission. That is only half of a gain because at the end of the day there is the high likelihood that Metrolinx or the province may respond by saying, “You can operate it but you still have to fund it, maintain it, design it and build it” which obviously they are not in a position to do. This is a small move, but it is truly one day at the time. The Keep Transit Public campaign had an influence on City Council passing the resolution.
A while back we held a rally at Union Station in Toronto which is a big transit hub. Since we did that, we got some media attention, we started to see politicians coming around. Municipally, councillors wanted to start talking. Now the Mayor is paying attention, now the NDP. We believe it is building steam.
Does it have enough steam for the provincial election? We will find out. We are not done after that. We still have the municipal and federal elections. Our work is not directed solely towards this campaign, it is about the issue of privatization in general. We are trying to address this in a manner that is about public services. We know that governments do not stop at one spot. There is not a single example where privatization works, whether it is Highway 407 or Hydro. It is about raising awareness on the need to keep public services in the hands of the public.
(Ontario Political Forum)