Finance Minister Dwight Duncan insists there will be no unpaid “Dalton Days” for Ontario civil servants, allaying fears sparked by Premier Dalton McGuinty.
One day after McGuinty refused to rule out the possibility of a return to what were known as “Rae Days” in the recessionary 1990s, it was left to Duncan to do damage control.
“We’re not doing them,” the Finance minister said yesterday. “I’m saying right now we will not be doing anything like that.”
Duncan, who will introduce a $100-billion budget within the next four weeks with a deficit of $5 billion to $10 billion, scrambled to reassure anxious public sector workers.
“That sort of component is not necessary,” he said, imploring Ontarians to await the fine print of his recession-fighting budget.
“We’ll lay out a whole plan that deals with, first of all, the short-term challenges all governments around the world are faced with, and then we’ll also talk about what we need to do in the longer term.”
McGuinty was asked repeatedly about the likelihood of “Dalton Days” during an interview with the Toronto Star on Tuesday and would not rule out the possibility.
Wayne Samuelson, president of the Ontario Federation of Labour, said he was “relieved” McGuinty is not resurrecting the controversial scheme.
“It certainly is the wrong way to go — if somehow all workers taking a little less is supposed to save the economy, when (what) we need [is] … government leadership on a whole range of issues,” said Samuelson.
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