The Ontario Liberal Party ought to be very pleased to see that the Ontario Provincial Police Association has delivered on its expected quid pro quo.
The police union yesterday launched two attack ads targeting Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak. This from representatives of a police force that receives an 8.5% pay raise this year, complements of the ruling Grits.
OPP officers got a 5% increase in 2011, and the new 8.5%increase is a catch-up for the two years Dalton McGuinty froze their wages. Furthermore, the Grits have guaranteed that the OPP will be the highest paid police service in Ontario in 2014.
One might reasonably question the largesse of a government that’s so deep in debt. Why, for example, are increases so high when the cost of living averaged less that 2% a year?
The most likely answer is that the Grits have been “paying it forward.” That is to say, give big pay increases and get big union support during election in return—the classic quid pro quo.
This isn’t surprising, though. This is the same cosy “deal” the Liberals have with teachers’ unions across the province. No official, written deal, of course, but an understanding of sorts: We Liberals keep the province’s vaults open to you; you teachers’ unions spend millions on anti-PC advertising when elections are called.
Moreover, firefighters and other public sector unions have climbed onto Wynne’s gravy train so now the unions have a headlock on the agenda of two out of three political parties in the province’s legislature.
This latest initiative by the OPP’s union my not even be legal. According to the Toronto Sun, Paul Copeland, a Toronto lawyer who was awarded the Order of Canada for human rights and social justice work, “points out that the Public Service Act prohibits civil servants from commenting on politics.” (The OPP are not governed by the Police Services Act.) A civil servant, apparently:
cannot comment publicly outside the scope of his or her duties as a public servant on matters that are directly related to those duties and that are addressed in the policies of a federal or provincial party or in the policies of a candidate in a federal or provincial election.”
One law for the police, one law for the rest of us. Not a good precedent. Surely even Kathleen Wynne must see the danger posed by an actively partisan provincial police force.
It’s an insane way to manage the province, of course, for everyone knows this unholy alliance between the Liberal party and the public sector unions can’t last forever. Sooner or later the credit rating agencies will downgrade again the credit rating on our provincial bonds. Interest on the debt will soar, sucking up valuable resources that could be better spent on health care and transportation.
That day is nigh.
Or voters can say, no, to the Liberals and wrest the government from the greedy arms of the public sector unions and bring back sanity and prudence to our fiscal policies.