·  by Doug Macpherson, SOAR National Coordinator.

Think Carefully About Your Vote!

As we move closer to the federal election in October, it is increasingly important that we, as union retirees think critically about how we use our vote.

Over the course of the last year or so we have seen a trend in provincial elections away from centre left governments toward decidedly right wing governments, Quebec, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario. By far the majority of Canadians today are governed provincially by conservative leaning governments. In some instances these changes in governments were motivated by an attitude that change was necessary because the sitting government had been in power too long or their policies were unpopular. However, change for changes sake alone, is not always good, and certainly not a good way to use your vote!

That’s particularly true in Ontario where the liberals, after 12 years in government had become complacent, only to be replaced by the Ford Tories. The Ford government, only in power for a little over a year has caused great upheaval and uncertainty in almost every aspect of our daily lives. From health care to children’s services, funding for the arts, tree planting, transportation, municipal transfer funds, stem cell research, the size of local governments, the proposed amalgamations of cities, and boards of health, ambulance services, class size and sexual education curriculum and more. The list is endless and growing bigger each day.

All in the name of supposed fiscal efficiencies, Ford daily tells us he inherited a financial mess from the liberals and the province is a failed bankrupt state. But even his friends in the conservative business press are calling him out, the Globe and Mail on May 22 had an editorial titled “The Doug Ford government is peddling a fiscal fantasy”, calling him out on the unnecessary austerity. Each and every cut has a negative effect on services that people need and require.

None of the changes work to the advantage of working people, it does mean longer wait times for services, in some cases increased costs to you and I through downloading of costs from the provincial government to municipal government. Remember Ford’s first act as premier was to freeze and delay increases to the minimum wage, which were already adopted.

Premier Kenny in Alberta mimics Ford with reductions to student wage rates and proposed changes to labour law to make organizing unions more difficult. These changes in legislation are in fact attacks on you and I as retired union members. I’m simply making the case that the Tories are all cut from the same cloth whether they are provincial or federal.  Andrew Scheer, the conservative leader is simply a Harperite with a smile. Do not be fooled as the voters in Ontario were.

We cannot allow complacency or a desire for change to simply determine our vote. We need to think critically about the issues which are important to us as working folks, what policies are going to make our daily lives better, and our country better, for us, our families and grandkids. For me the choice is easy I believe the New Democrats have the best policies to make my daily life better, to make Canada a fairer and more equitable society and that’s what I will be voting for. Only you will really know how you voted.

Use your vote wisely; it’s the only one you get!

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