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The Globe and Mail

Labour union launches province-wide campaign against Ontario budget

The Ontario Federation of Labour President Sid Ryan speaks to members of the Canadian Union for Public Employees (CUPE), representing flight attendants from Air Canada, as they protest labour disputes at the Toronto Pearson International Airport in Toronto, September 20, 2011.

REUTERS/Mark Blinch/REUTERS/Mark Blinch

The Ontario Federation of Labour is launching a campaign against the minority Liberal budget, saying proposed service and job cuts are the biggest since the era of former Tory premier Mike Harris.

The province has seen eight years of labour peace under Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty, who has prided himself on maintaining good relations with unions.

But as the cash-strapped government grapples with a massive deficit, it has come down hard on the unions, proposing — and threatening to legislate — public wage freezes.

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OFL President Sid Ryan says Mr. McGuinty's budget, which faces a crucial vote Tuesday, includes too many cuts to hospitals, schools and social assistance but does nothing to make corporations share the burden.

The province-wide campaign brings together more than 90 labour and community groups that oppose what they call unfair budget cuts that target poor and middle-class families.

The group will gather at the Ontario legislature Saturday afternoon for a rally, followed by a march through the city's high-end shopping district of Yorkville.

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