Canadian Labour Congress

Canadian Labour Congress

March 04, 2010 17:43 ET

Georgetti Says Best Way to Eliminate Federal Deficit Is to Put 1.5 Million Unemployed Canadians Back to Work

Canada needs added stimulus spending, improved EI, tax on global finance

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 4, 2010) - The federal budget has no plan to create jobs for 1.5 million unemployed Canadians and provides no road map to a prosperous economy, says Ken Georgetti, president of the Canadian Labour Congress. 

"We have lost well over 300,000 full-time jobs since October 2008," Georgetti says. "There will be no recovery until there is a jobs recovery, but I don't see much in the budget to achieve that."

Georgetti is calling on Ottawa to add to the stimulus spending already in place. "Increased government spending has stabilized the Canadian economy. All signals are that we are not yet out of the woods and cutting back on government spending will only add to the problem. Imagine where we would be today if we had done nothing, as this government was proposing just 16 months ago."

Georgetti says that the private sector has not yet recovered and cannot, at this point, create a sufficient number of good jobs and economic growth. "Now is the time for added federal support in upgrading public infrastructure and public services as key drivers of private sector productivity for the future. This is a time for industrial development strategies and procurement policies that create family-supporting jobs for Canadians."

Georgetti acknowledges that the government should not run large deficits over the long term but he adds, "Balancing the books will require low unemployment, decent jobs, plus a solid and progressive tax base. Mr. Harper's tax cuts have undermined the fiscal capacity we need to provide good programs, while mainly benefitting the affluent."

He renewed the CLC's demand that Ottawa reform Employment Insurance. "This government has tinkered around the edges on EI, but has refused to fix a system that is broken." Georgetti says that only about half of those who are unemployed are actually receiving benefits and many of them are running out of EI because they can't find new jobs.

Georgetti is also calling on the government to reverse the tax cut that it has provided to corporations. "Let's remember that it was the financial sector that caused the meltdown and the resulting economic crisis. Bay Street and Wall Street made billions of dollars for themselves at our expense. We paid for their excesses through job losses, high unemployment, devastated communities and shattered families. To add insult to injury, we paid for their excesses twice – first with our savings and pension plans and the second time with taxpayer bailouts. We should actually be raising taxes on the financial sector to pay for the damage their greed has done to our country." 

Georgetti is joining world leaders, including French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, in calling for an international tax on financial speculation and market transactions. He says he is disappointed that Prime Minister Harper has refused to support the measure. "Asking the financial industry to pay its fair share to clean up the mess they've made is basic justice." Georgetti says the international labour movement will push for implementation of a financial tax when the leaders of G8 and G20 nations meet in Canada in June.

The Canadian Labour Congress, the national voice of the labour movement, represents 3.2 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:

Contact Information

  • CLC Communications
    Dennis Gruending
    613-878-6040 (mobile)