Austerity, Competitiveness and Neoliberalism Redux: Ontario Responds to the Great Recession

  • Carlo Fanelli Carleton University
  • Mark P Thomas York University
Keywords: austerity, employment standards, neoliberalism, Open Ontario Plan

Abstract

This article examines the deepening integration of market imperatives throughout the province of Ontario. We do this by, first, examining neoliberalism’s theoretical underpinnings, second, reviewing Ontario’s historical context, and third, scrutinizing the Open Ontario Plan, with a focus on proposed changes to employment standards legislation. We argue that contrary to claims of shared restraint and the pressing need for public austerity, Premier McGuinty’s Liberal’s have re-branded and re-packaged core neoliberal policies in such a manner that costs are socialized and profits privatized, thereby intensifying class polarization along with its racialized and gendered diversities. Cet article analyse l’intégration de plus en plus profonde des impératifs du marché dans la province de l’Ontario. Nous faisons cette analyse, premièrement, en analysant les bases théoriques du néolibéralisme, deuxièmement, en décrivant le contexte historique de l’Ontario, et troisièmement, en examinant le “Open Ontario Plan”, sous l’angle particulier des propositions de changement de la législation sur le droit du travail. Nous soutenons que sous le couvert de discours prônant le partage de l’austérité et l’impérieuse nécessité de restreindre les dépenses publiques, les Libéraux du Premier McGuinty ont ré-étiqueté et reformulé les politiques néolibérales de façon que les coûts soient socialisés et les profits privatisés, aggravant ainsi la polarisation des classes ainsi que les inégalités liées à la race et au genre.

Author Biographies

Carlo Fanelli, Carleton University
Carlo Fanelli is a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology & Anthropology at Carleton University. He is Coordinating Editor of Alternate Routes: A Journal of Critical Social Research and co-editor of Capitalism & Confrontation: Critical Perspectives (forthcoming 2011, Red Quill Books).
Mark P Thomas, York University
Mark Thomas is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at York University (Toronto, Canada). His research interests are in the areas of political economy and economic sociology, with a primary research focus on the regulation of labour standards at local, national, and transnational scales. He is the author of Regulating Flexibility: The Political Economy of Employment Standards (2009, McGill-Queens), co-editor (with N. Pupo) of Interrogating the New Economy: Restructuring Work in the 21st Century (2010, University of Toronto Press) and co-editor (with D. Brock and R. Raby) of Power and Everyday Practices (forthcoming 2011, Nelson). His most recent project, titled “From Labour Rights to Human Rights: Emerging Approaches to Labour Standards in the Global Economy”, examines the economic, political and social factors that shape the regulation of transnational labour standards.
Published
2011-07-23
Section
Special Section