OTTAWA ― The President of the Canadian Labour Congress says the federal budget lacks any vision about how to stop growing inequality and the economic slide of middle class Canadians.
Ken Georgetti was commenting on the 2014-15 budget tabled in the House of Commons on Tuesday, February 11. “Canadians wanted a budget that speaks to their real needs, but the Finance Minister is more interested in continuing with austerity and balancing the budget. If now is not the time to act, when will it be?”
Georgetti says the budget makes noises about protecting consumers and their pocketbooks, and it devotes some money to job training. “The Minister is just tinkering around the edges. We have almost three million Canadians who are either unemployed, stuck in part-time jobs, or who have given up looking for work altogether. This budget does little to deal with that great waste of talent and skill.”
The budget continues the government’s austerity measures. Program spending in 2014-15 will be $250 billion, an actual decline of $1 billion from the previous year. The Finance Minister had earlier promised action on youth unemployment but the youth internship program announced in the budget will create 4,000 internships at best. In January 2014, there were about 400,000 unemployed youth in Canada.
Georgetti says that Ottawa has chosen to slash public services in order to pay for the deep corporate tax cuts it had made over the years. “In return for tax breaks business was supposed to invest in the economy, but the evidence shows that they are instead hoarding mountains of cash and paying their CEOs fat salaries.”
He adds, “People are having trouble making ends meet and they fear especially for the future of their children and grandchildren. Good, family-supporting jobs are the key to Canada’s economic success and we cannot get there with corporate tax cuts and government austerity. Canadians want a government that is committed to fairness and that is not what they are getting in the budget. It’s time for a new vision.”
The Canadian Labour Congress, the national voice of the labour movement, represents 3.3 million Canadian workers. The CLC brings together Canada’s national and international unions along with the provincial and territorial federations of labour and 130 district labour councils.
Web site: www.canadianlabour.ca
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