“The PC Party paper represents the first acknowledgment by any Ontario party of the kinds of deep, structural changes the ailing province is going to need to turn around its fortunes.”
- Andrew Coyne, The National Post, June 27, 2012
OTTAWA – Ontario can again lead Canada in competitiveness and job creation by getting our economic fundamentals right – and a key step will be to open up economic opportunities for individual workers – not union bosses, PC Leader Tim Hudak said today.
Hudak, joined by Labour Critic Randy Hillier, made the comments during a tour of Caesar’s Plumbing in Ottawa, part of the small business community that is the backbone of Ontario’s struggling economy. The previous day, Hudak and Hillier had unveiled Paths to Prosperity: Flexible Labour Markets - the second in a series of PC discussion papers on bold new ideas for creating jobs.
“The world has changed, and our economy has changed with it,” Hudak said. “But the rules governing the workplace, and the way unions are run, have not. And judging by the initial response to our paper from some union bosses, that’s just the way they want it.”
As evidence of this resistance to positive change, Hillier referenced Ontario Public Service Employees Union President Warren (Smokey) Thomas, who said yesterday that if the Ontario PC Party pursues this approach to modernizing labour relation, “They’re out of their minds.”
“I have seen this attitude up close, Hillier said. “Union bosses should not be allowed to tell their members where to work, how to work, or what to believe. Old-fashioned perspectives like these are only standing in the way of creating jobs for the people they claim to represent.”
The paper proposes action in four key areas: giving the individual worker a choice on becoming or remaining a union member; making union leaders more accountable to unionized employees; modernizing tendering rules to open up more government work to private sector competition; and reforming Ontario’s workplace agencies for a more flexible workforce and job creation.
Caesar’s Plumbing President Jules Cote agreed with Hudak and Hillier that Ontario’s workplace rules and agencies need to be more flexible to respond to the changing needs of businesses: “We work in a fast-paced and rapidly changing environment,” Cote said. “We need to constantly adapt – union leaders and workplace laws do too.”
Hudak said it’s time to get Ontarians back to work. “But to do it we need to re-examine the realities of the marketplace – and modernize our work place rules to help us grow and create jobs. These reforms have worked in Europe, the U.S., Australia and New Zealand. They will work for Ontario too.”