• Michael Laxer

Now is the time for resistance to the Ford government, not collaboration




In an almost unbelievable -- were it not coming from the desk of Smokey Thomas -- example of class collaborationism the president of OPSEU sent out a press release April 17 calling on people to literally do just that with Ontario's rightist premier Doug Ford.


In fact the press release says outright "we need collaboration".


Thomas, seeing a side of Doug Ford that can only come from a place of shared great privilege, says:


Accusing the Premier of being uncaring, callous and more concerned with finances than health is simply dishonest.
I have come to know the Premier. I know he is distraught. I know he cares. I know he is working around the clock. The burden of leadership, whether he signed up for it or not, weighs heavy in life or death decisions. Armchair quarterbacking is far cozier.
Stop lobbing rhetorical bombs, end the name calling and hostility. Now is not the time for posturing along party lines that has been so front and centre.
We must come together now.

This is an astonishing thing for a union leader to say about a premier who made a priority among his first acts in government of cancelling the minimum wage increase to $15 an hour and the 2 days paid sick leave that the previous Liberal government had introduced.


The same Premier as well who has resisted calls for paid sick leave for frontline and essential workers all through the pandemic almost ensuring massive outbreaks like the ones that happened at an Amazon warehouse and Canada Post facility.


It is impossible to understand the moves taken by Ford over the course of the pandemic other than as sacrificing working people and blaming individual behaviours for the failings of public policy so as to provide cover to keeping the profits humming along and the economy working for the bosses and capitalist class at the expense of everyone else.


They are the very definition of uncaring and callous.


To suggest that we should "come together" with the Ford government as Thomas does is delusional and disgraceful.


Never has the need for a mass, organized labour resistance to a government that has shown itself to be utterly indifferent to the livelihoods and very lives of working people been more obvious and in order than it is right here, right now in Ontario.


And if Thomas has been around too long in his office armchair to realize this than nothing could speak more directly about a need for a change of leadership at the top in OPSEU.

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