TORONTO, May 2, 2014 /CNW/ - The union that represents 10,000 Toronto Transit Commission workers is stepping up its pre-election campaign against the Wynne Liberal government's plans to make all new transit lines in the GTA so-called "public private partnerships" or P3s, despite evidence from around the world that both taxpayers and transit users pay much more for P3s while corporate "partners" profit enormously.
A new round of television ads mocking the Liberal party's recent ads of Wynne jogging begin airing today in heavy rotation on virtually all Toronto TV stations.
The ad can be seen at the campaign website: TruthAboutTransit.com/win. Visitors to the site can enter a daily draw to win the cash equivalent of an adult Monthly TTC Metropass ($133.75).
In animated cartoon style, the ad depicts Wynne signing a P3 contract without reading it, while jogging past:
- The billion-dollar gas-fired generating plants;
- a lobbyist clutching a money-stuffed briefcase titled "eHealth Ontario";
- a trio of cheering supporters including Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, Ontario Conservative Leader Tim Hudak and Prime Minister Stephen Harper (all fans of P3s);
- an airborne ORNGE helicopter carrying large bags of money into the distance.
- The last image shows Wynne jogging past an overcrowded, off-the-track Eglinton Crosstown LRT train while a limo carrying money bags and a "Thanks Ontario" sign zooms past the stalled train.
"It was difficult for our creative team to exaggerate the financial and social tragedies of P3s," says Bob Kinnear, President of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113.
Kinnear says the main purpose of the campaign is to alert the public as to how their tax dollars are being wasted to make it appear that the government is keeping taxes low.
"There is still time to prevent the Eglinton Crosstown LRT from being handed over to corporations like SNC-Lavalin, which has a dismal global reputation for bribery and corruption," says Kinnear.
SNC-Lavalin heads one of the two consortia bidding on financing, building and maintaining the Crosstown. The Canadian engineering giant has been barred by the World Bank from bidding on WB-financed infrastructure projects everywhere in the world due to its numerous convictions of bribery and fraud. Recent charges linking the company to Libya's Gadaffi family have not helped its reputation. Nor has the jailing of former company executives.
"Toronto is desperate for new transit that could be financed in exactly the same transparent way that most public infrastructure is built: through long-term public debentures issued at the lowest possible interest rates, like mortgages," claims Kinnear. "Experience on every continent on the globe shows that privatized transit results in higher fares, higher public subsidies and reduced services compared to the fully public option." See recent John Barber column for details.
The ATU campaign will also include P3 explanatory ads in all TTC vehicles and community organization speaking engagements by Kinnear and others.
"The Liberal party has learned nothing from all its P3 failures," says Kinnear. "Taxpayers have the right to know how their hard-earned money is being wasted time and again on a failed model of infrastructure improvement."
SOURCE: Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 113
For further information: ATU Local 113. 416-398-5113.