Chet Greason, St. Marys Journal Argus
Provincial Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak was in Rannoch last Friday receiving a tour of McLean-Taylor Construction.
Accompanied by Perth-Wellington MPP Randy Pettapiece, Hudak addressed the party’s proposed Ability to Pay Act.
According to Hudak, one-third of government employees are declared essential services and can’t strike.
“They can’t get a deal, so they go to binding arbitration,” he said in front of a crowd of McLean Taylor employees and media. “Judges are giving them agreements that we can’t afford. It’s time government did their share of cuts.”
For example, Hudak cited how Stratford firefighters were recently awarded a 20 per cent raise.
“I respect the work that firefighters do, but how many workers in the St. Marys/Stratford area got a 20 per cent raise this year?”
Hudak’s plan, which will come to a vote on Oct. 4, would see the government assign arbitrators to deals, instead of the current system which sees arbitrators agreed upon by the unions and employers involved.
It would also introduce a time limit of three months to talks and require arbitrators to take into account factors such as local tax and unemployment rates so that, Hudak says, small communities won’t be held “to Toronto standards.”
Pettapiece also mentioned the rising cost of policing.
“Everyone’s hit by the cost,” he said. “It’s getting very expensive for small municipalities to pay.”
Pettapiece noted that these increases happened during a recession, when the province should have been cutting back.
McLean-Taylor president Robert Taylor said he was proud Hudak chose to recognize his company.
“Ninety-five per cent of our work is for some kind of government,” he said. “We need less red tape, and I think he has the vision to do so.”