Canadian Labour Congress

Canadian Labour Congress

February 23, 2005 17:13 ET

Budget rewards wealth not hard work

Attention: Business/Financial Editor, City Editor, Media Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor OTTAWA--(CCNMatthews - Feb. 23, 2005) - The Canadian Labour Congress expected much more from today's federal budget.

"For over 20 years budgets have hit workers like the back of a shovel. And now, sitting on the largest surplus in Canadian history, all they want to give us is a few spoonfuls of relief," says Canadian Labour Congress president Ken Georgetti.

We expected this budget to mark a major shift in direction after years of cuts and sacrifice from the majority of working citizens who paid to eliminate the deficit and lay the foundation of today's record surplus with cuts to programs, higher insecurity, poverty and inequality, and the privatization of needed social services. This is why most working Canadians and their unions were calling for major social reinvestment, giving the priority to child care and early childhood education, Employment Insurance reform, worker training, job creation, environmental infrastructure, health care and international development.

We also wanted a budget that would show signs of a plan to boost our long-term productive potential as a country, while helping secure and create good jobs in an economy which faces major challenges of adjustment.

"What we have are short-term half-measures that still don't deliver the goods for the majority of Canadians. The government is just buying time with our taxes and adding to the long-term risk of doing nothing - nothing on real earnings protection and pension insurance, and nothing on a range of issues important to working people," added Georgetti.

• Taxes - This budget rewards wealth not work. Working Canadians get $16 next year while, at a time when corporate profits are at record-high, corporations will get millions in tax-cuts.

• Child care - the basic investment is fine, but there remains no clear plan, no accountability to ensure we get the kind of child care program working parents need and no rules to prevent public dollars intended for children from being taken for profit.

• Employment Insurance - the government still does not understand the real problems unemployed workers face trying to access the benefits they pay for through premiums, in particular women and recent immigrants.

• Training - useful initiatives on workplace skills and immigrant settlement but the government will not raise productivity as long as they still download most of the responsibility and the cost of training on individual workers.

• Health care - what we heard today were the echos of past announcements, but heard no plans for accountability and no explanation as to why up to 6 or 8% of the money could go to corporations who want to profit from the health needs of Canadians.

• Bankruptcies - Nothing to address the worries of workers that their pension plans will be there after they retire.

"Instead of fully addressing the long-term interest of working citizens the budget delivered a paltry tax-cut to average Canadians that will not pay for 2 tickets to the movies. A tax-cut that contrasts badly with the new huge tax giveaway that the top 1% and corporate Canada got without any guarantee of investments in jobs."

"Working people paid the bill to defeat the deficit. It's payback time and this budget has cheated them," concluded Georgetti.

The Canadian Labour Congress, the national voice of the labour movement, represents 3 million Canadian workers. The CLC brings together Canada's national and international unions along with the provincial and territorial federations of labour and 137 district labour councils. Web site: www.clc-ctc.ca
/For further information: Jeff Atkinson, 613-526-7425 or 613-863-1413/ IN: ECONOMY, FINANCE, LABOUR, MEDIA, POLITICS

Contact Information

  • Jean Wolff, Director of Communications Department, Canadian Labour Congress
    Primary Phone: 613-526-7431
    Secondary Phone: 613-878-6040
    E-mail: communications@clc-ctc.ca